I’m starting to panic.
I always do this, every single year, so you’d think I would have learned and changed my ways by now, but nope. Sigh.
I’m talking about Christmas shopping, and how late I leave it. I’ve bought a grand total of ZERO gifts so far. Crazy of me, since I now have the kids home on holidays and can’t go shopping unless I rustle up a sitter. And double crazy because I have fourteen kids to buy for - my three, plus five nephews and nieces and six friends’ offspring. Gah! Lucky all the adults in my family agreed to nix the gift buying for each other a long while back, or I would be sooo dead (not to mention broke!)
So I sat down last night and began to plan my attack. I locked and loaded my mum to do baby-sitting duty all day today (what a saint!), then racked my brains for gifts - and finally decided I’m going to do my bit for the industry and buy them books. I've scanned through a few catalogues and on-line book stores and worked up a bit of a list - it just might give you some ideas if you’re looking for kids’ books yourself. And please, any suggestions for me will be greatly appreciated!
So, to The List ...
Firstly, for my brood:
GAMERS QUEST by George Ivanoff, and GONE by Michael Grant, sound like they'll do the trick for Child #1. He's eleven but reads at a 13-14 year old level, and while he reads anything, he really loves sci-fi/fantasy, so I’m thinking these will be a hit. GONE sounds especially good – all the adults in the world vanish, leaving only teens, tweens and toddlers. Then the teens start to disappear when they hit fifteen, and no one knows why …. mwhahaha. He’ll love it.
Child # 2 is nine and isn’t all that much into fiction. He’s a facts man, loves poring over books about the galaxy, or volcanoes, or bugs … so I might get him the current GUINESS BOOK OF RECORDS, and Sir David Attenborough’s latest offering, LIFE IN COLD BLOOD, all about reptiles. A lot of the language is above his reading level, for sure, but I know he will spend hours with these books.
Child #3 is five, and easy – anything about OLIVIA the pig is right up her alley. Oh, and anything with a prince in it. * rolls eyes* (She’s on a Snow White kick at the moment – someone bought her the DVD of the Disney original and boy, does Snow White’s shrill trilling of "some day my prince will come" make my hair stand on end! Grrr.)
The other kids I’m buying for range from thirteen years down to five. I’ve seen some gorgeous Christmas picture books that’d be great for the littler ones - THE SECRET LIFE OF SANTA CLAUS, by L. Frank Baum, and JINGLE BELLS, HOMEWORK SMELLS by Diane de Groat. THE TWELVE DOGS OF CHRISTMAS by Emma Kragen also caught my eye; and of course, with the movie out now, it is the perfect time to introduce a whole new bunch of little readers to Maurice Sendak's WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE.
For the bigger kids – Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS STORY is a good classic, and the Aussie school-angst classic, HATING ALISON ASHLEY will be perfect for my eleven year old niece and a couple of my friends’ daughters. And for the boys (though the girls would enjoy them too) … THE THIRTY NINE CLUES series is fabulous. It’s the adventures of a brother and sister, Amy and Dan Cahill, which start when their grandmother dies. A huge number of previously unknown relatives turn up for the funeral – and a bigger surprise is in store when their grandmother’s will is read and they discover that in order to claim their inheritance (and discover the secret of their family’s power) they must find thirty-nine clues scattered across the world. Child # 1 has read all the books in the series so far (interestingly, each book is written by a different author) and he loves that there's an interactive The Thirty Nine Clues website, plus card collecting and on-line gaming - boy heaven! And the ZAC POWER series, about a boy-spy and his espionage loving family, is always a winner with the lads.
There is one adult I’ll be buying for – my DH, can’t forget him. The trouble is, he’s into sci-fi, and I hate buying it. So does he, actually, because he finds a lot of sci-fi, while conceptually good, is often poorly written (not much different to general fiction, I guess.) Last year I bought him Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, which he loved, so I’m thinking I might buy another McCarthy; BLOOD MERIDIAN, maybe. It is quite possibly the goriest book I’ve ever read, but it was un-put-downable.
And moi? I’ve already told my DH what book I want Father Christmas to bring me– Stephen King’s UNDER THE DOME. I’ve heard it’s a REALLY big book, and a “disturbingly delightful read” – sounds just perfect!
So, any other suggestions for me? And if you’re buying books this Christmas (and I hope you are) which ones have you chosen?
And, most importantly, what book would you love to find under the tree, just for you?