From Puffin Classics come two boxed sets ($21, four paperbacks) parents will recognize from their own childhoods.
The Puffin Adventure Gift Set includes "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "King Arthur," "The Call of the Wild" and "Treasure Island."
The Puffin Classic Gift Set includes "Black Beauty," "Jane Eyre," "The Secret Garden" and "The Wizard of Oz."
Each book has the complete original text and new illustrations. The boxes are sturdy and the books are well-bound. All are suitable for children 10 or older.
"Madeline Loves Animals" (Viking, $8.99) is a board book for beginning readers. The illustrations by John Bemelmans Marciano follow the famous character as she meets birds, a tiger and an elephant.
A must-have for 3-year-olds is the newest version of "The Little Engine That Could" (Philomel, $17.99). Loren Long's illustrations bring to life the idyllic world of 20th-century rural America.
From Brian Jacques come three titles for Redwall fans. "Loamhedge," the tale of an ancient abbey that hides a cure for a wheelchair-bound Martha Braebuck, is now in paperback (Firebird Fantasy, $8.99).
"High Rhulain" (Philomel, $23.95) follows Tiria Wildlough to the Green Isle. "The Redwall Cookbook" (Philomel, $24.99) incorporates all the recipes mentioned in the
The beautiful illustrations by Christopher Denise make it an essential book for anyone who has followed the residents of Mossflower Wood.
Grosset and Dunlap have issued the old Dick and Jane series as readers. "Rainy Day Fun" and "Firehouse Field Trip" ($3.99) include flash cards for teaching new words and pictures that make it easy to remember the words.
Two celebrities have authored works that may become classics for beginning readers.
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's "Chico" (Dutton, $16.99) is the story of her childhood in Arizona and her horse Chico. Dan Andreasen's illustrations capture the Southwest in soft hues.
Paul McCartney's "High in the Clouds" (Penguin, $19.99) is a modern environmental fable. Wirral the Squirrel is driven from home by developers and goes in search of Animalia, a place where all animals live without fear. He is joined by other animals in a wild journey reminiscent of "Wind in the Willows."
More for parents than children, "The Art of Reading" (Dutton, $19.99) contains illustrations and comments by 40 famous children's book illustrators to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Reading Is Fundamental, the national nonprofit children's literacy organization.
Another genre of children's books is best purchased only for mature young adults. These books contain serious topics, open sexual scenes, frank discussions of alcohol and drugs and the raw emotions of young adulthood.
These titles include "What Mr. Mattero Did" by Priscilla Cummings (Dutton, $16.99), which follows what happens when three schoolgirls falsely accuse a favorite teacher of sexual misconduct. "Teach Me," by R.A. Nelson (Razor Bill $16.99) is written from the perspective of a high school senior having an affair with her English teacher. In "Names Will Never Hurt Me," (Speak, $9.99) Jamie Adoff takes on racism and the brutality of teenage teasing and stereotyping from the perspectives of four radically different teens. "The Song of an Innocent Bystander" by Ian Bone (Speak, $6.99) follows Freda, who was held hostage at age 9 in a restaurant siege, through the traumas that followed for 10 years.
For those looking for lighter fare, abundant titles are about young girls and their crushes and confidences. These include the "Camp Confidential" series (Grosset and Dunlap, $4.99) which follow the friendships of girls who spend their summers at Camp Lakeview; "The Royal Ballet School Diaries" (Grosset and Dunlap, $4.99), each focusing on a different girl at the school and "Raisin Rodriguez & the Big-Time Smooch" by Judy Goldschmidt (Razorbill, $12.99), a long discussion of kissing bordering on young adult fare.
Young mystery readers will enjoy the two latest works from Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler.
"The Ghost in the Tokaido Inn" and "The Demon in the Teahouse" (Sleuth, $5.99). Set in Japan, the books incorporate history and culture with thrilling suspense.
Also of interest are two of the "Tales of Otori" series by Lian Hearn (FirebirdBooks, $6.50); "Lord Fujiwara's Treasures" and "The Way Through the Snow" are adventure stories set in Japan.
Finally are four titles of random interest.
Marlene Carvell's "Sweetgrass Basket" (Dutton, $16.99) tells the story of two Mohawk sisters sent to an off-reservation school to prepare for life as domestics. How they, and countless other American Indians, retained their cultural identity is the theme.
"Making It Home: Real Life Stories from Children Forced to Flee" (Puffin, $6.99) brings alive the voice of displaced children from places as far-ranging as Bosnia to the Congo to Iraq. The book will bring politics home to children as young as second grade.
The young entrepreneur might appreciate "Beyond the Lemonade Stand." (Razorbill, $12.99), written by Bill Rancic of "The Apprentice" fame. His major message is that success comes through hard work. He suggests ways young people can start and succeed in their own businesses.