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In my experience, many children love these search and find type books.  And since I grew up with Waldo it's fun to look at these titles that bring back memories of those times I spent looking at these books.  This Waldo book offers a bit of a difference challenge.  Going beyond just finding Waldo and his friends, the book includes a 'spotlight searcher' that is inserted behind a plastic darkened screen on each spread.  The searcher lights up as the reader moves it around.  The fun thing about it is that the 'wand' allows the reader to focus on small parts of the page which makes it a bit easier to find the items.  For young readers who love the challenge of looking for specific items in the pictures this book can provide hours of fun, as long as the wand doesn't get lost.

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Two young children document how twenty different kinds of trucks help their town prepare for Christmas.  Starting with a donut truck and carrying forward with snowplows and sanders, the town works to decorate for the holiday.  A semi truck brings in the Christmas tree, a digger and crane place the tree while other trucks bring the decorations for the tree.  Some trucks provide support while the workers decorate the tree.  But what can a truck do when the star for the top of the tree crashes to the ground?  While this is a fun story about getting ready for Christmas, young truck lovers are the ones who are likely to enjoy this book the most.  Each truck is beautifully illustrated such that I enjoyed the book a good deal, even though I am not a truck lover.



This beautiful book offers powerful themes of friendship and gratitude for what one has as well as carrying forward after loss, but it also has some heart-wrenching moments. It's beautifully designed and presented and while the writing is good, it's the illustrations that make the book stunning.  The original tale was written by Hans Christian Anderson who had a way of writing heart-wrenching tales with hopeful endings.  This story revolves around the friendship between a young fir tree and a robin.  The fir tree dreams of going places and seeing the marvels of the world.  Since the fir tree can't move, the robin does her best to share what she sees with the tree by bringing gifts such as roses from a greenhouse and a ribbon from a local fair.  When the fir tree finally gets his chance to leave the forest, he becomes a Christmas tree in the local village where he is used and abused before being dumped in a shed to be destroyed. Before the tree gets burned, he passes on a pine cone for the bird to take back to the forest.  The robin returns to the forest with the cone which she plants in the soil near the stump of her friend.  When the new tree reaches an appropriate size it becomes home to   a star, used to decorate its predecessor and a nest of robins.  The nature of this story makes it one that should be used carefully with children.  Some children will be able to handle what happens to the first tree but it might be shocking for other children. I recommend that the book be read carefully before being shared.


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