Monday, December 1, 2014

Gift Guide: Books + Fun!

We've talked about gifts for girls.  We've talked about gifts for boys.  Now it's time to talk about books as gifts!  I especially love giving books as a gift with a "tie in" or toy associated with it.  I hope that makes sense, but if it doesn't, here is a list of some of my favorite books and a small toy or game to go with it!

Fancy Nancy
I LOVE Fancy Nancy!  I love that she's, well, fancy without out being snobby.  I love that she dresses creatively.  I love how the books teach vocabulary.  I love that when Fancy Nancy and her friend, Bree, have a disagreement or misunderstanding, it's resolved well at the end of the story.  I also like that the books have different price points.  There are hardcover books that run about $12 and paperbacks that are in the $3 range.  There are also a lot of Fancy Nancy games, and we have the card game, Positively Perfect Parfait, and Fabulous Fashionista.  The Fabulous Fashionista is by far their favorite!  My mom got them the card game, but I inexplicably found the other 2 at Menards.  

Max and Ruby
I have a few questions about Max and Ruby.  Where are their parents?  Why do they live alone?  Why is Max's vocabulary so limited?  Do they know Bugs Bunny?  Is Ruby quite possibly the bossiest bunny ever?  There are lots of Max and Ruby books.  We have Funny Bunny Tales and Snow Bunny Tales, and both of those books include 3 stories.  Wouldn't it be fun to give a kid a Max and Ruby book with Max and Ruby!?!

We also have several Max and Ruby DVDs that I've picked up at Walmart.

I impulse purchased a mini LaLaLoopsy doll as a Christmas gift for Maggie a few years ago, and she loved it!  The dolls are "sewn" out of old clothes which then determine the doll's personality.  They've since expanded their selection of dolls (they even have ones that poop charms...I mean, I can't even...), but my favorites are the mini dolls that come with a little sister.

Maggie and Gracie play with the mini dolls all of time.  I love listening to them make the dolls talk and go on adventures.  They each have bigger dolls, too, which are also super fun.  There are plenty of LaLaLoopsy doll books.  And while they are by no means going to be winning any literary awards, they are nice books with cute, predictable stories.

Houndsley and Catina
I cannot articulate to you just how much I love Houndsley and Catina. Houndsley and Catina are a dog and a cat (duh) who are different than each other but are very good friends. Each book has 3 chapters which are essentially 3 stories that have a common thread and a sweet lesson or takeaway at the end. The books have a lovely cadence to them which make for a beautiful read aloud.  We have all four books:  Houndsley and Catina, H and C and the Quiet Time, H and C and the Birthday Surprise, and H and C Plink and Plunk.  

The illustrations are incredibly sweet, too.  Now, because I am a crazy person, I hunted down beanie babies that looked like Houndsley and Catina.  Meet Bones the Dog and Flip the Cat:

Even though it doesn't look like it in the picture, the beanie babies are the same size and of equal proportion to each other.

If I was going to get all bossy with you, I would peer pressure you into getting the Houndsley and Catina books :)

High Five Magazine
Aaron's parents got Leah a gift subscription to this magazine when she was 4 and now they get it for Maggie.  

High Five is basically Highlights for littler kids and way better.  It's bright and cheerful and fun!  My favorite feature is a monthly short story about twins Tex and Indi.  There's always a search and find that's in color and easier than the one in Highlights.  The girls consistently enjoy "That's Silly" which is pretty much finding hilarious things wrong with a picture.  Plus, I don't know a child who doesn't like to get mail!

I don't have a toy to go with High Five because you don't wrap anything up :)

Bonus Ideas!
Backpack:  My girls love backpacks!  Whether it is a mini backpack or a drawstring type backpack or an old school back pack, they love them!  Pop some books in a backpack and make the kid in your life happy.
Flashlight:  Throw a flashlight in the backpack with a book and the kid will love you FOREVER!  My girls love having their very own flashlight and find all sorts of reasons to use them in fun and creative play.  Don't forget to include batteries!

What are some of your favorite books to give as gifts?

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