On the Bookshelf

By Jane Muller

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: 50th Anniversary Edition

By Eric Carle

Most of us are introduced to this superb picture book through our young children. If you haven’t experienced this classic then this 50th anniversary edition is your gateway to the wonderful world of Eric Carle. The fact that “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has been crawling its way into kids’ hearts for 50 years is definitely something to celebrate. Bonus content features an appreciation by children’s literacy advocate Dolly Parton, as well as an essay on the history and significance of the Caterpillar, including rare images of the original sketches and historic photos. Ages 2 to 5 – Publisher, Penguin Random House – $29.99

Classic Folk Sing-Along Songs

Performed by Sin and Swoon, illustrator Sophie Casson

Savvy performers of music geared to young children know that their offerings must also appeal to an adult audience. The renditions of familiar folk songs in this collection from The Secret Mountain are beautifully rendered with a modern folk vibe. The vocals and instrumentation create a harmonious transition across generations. The accompanying books – “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”, “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” feature striking illustrations and deliver an original interpretation of three classic children’s folk songs. Hear them for free on The Secret Mountain website and on most music streaming platforms. Ages 3 to 5 – Publisher, The Secret Mountain – $9.95

Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins

By Sue Fliess, illustrator Mark Chambers

What would happen if Santa Claus came down with a cold and couldn’t manage his deliveries? This story has Mrs. Claus taking over his duties when Santa wakes up under the weather on Christmas Eve morning. Delivering gifts all over the world without Santa’s magic isn’t easy, but Mrs. Claus proves she has some holiday sparkle of her own. The lively rhyming text moves her adventure along and the artwork is as merry and bright as the Christmas spirit. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Two Lions – $17.99 US hardcover

The Snowflake Mistake

By Lou Treleaven and Maddie Frost

Striving for perfection can restrict creativity, according to this modern fairy tale. The Snow Queen’s creative, fun-loving daughter is left in charge of her mom’s magical machine that churns out masses of perfectly identical snowflakes. When the machine breaks down, Princess Ellie proves her resourcefulness as she creates handmade snowflakes, each one unique. Her beautiful creations illustrate that there is value in being different. This lovely story floats along effortlessly just like a snowflake floating down from the sky. Ages 0 to 7 – Publisher, Maverick Arts Publishing – $19.99

Houndsley and Catina Through the Seasons

By James Howe, illustrator Mari-Louise Gay

These two friends get out and explore their world whether it’s canoeing, playing in the snow, entering a cooking contest or watching fireflies. The best buds are featured in a four-in-one collection of adventure stories that will have new independent readers turning the pages. The stories cover all four seasons proving it’s always a good time to catch up with the stars of this award-winning series. Ages 5 to 9 – Publisher, Candlewick Press – $10.99 paperback

Bigfoot Fun Book

By D. L. Miller

There’s no arguing that Bigfoot does exist in this fun-filled kid’s activity book. It’s all about Bigfoot, the elusive, furry humanoid in this amazing array of entertaining activities, from whimsical mazes and riddles to search and find puzzles, word games, colouring pages and more. Fun facts help young readers learn more about the world and a bonus eight-page section includes more than 80 additional animal stickers. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher, Happy Fox Books – $11.99 paperback

The Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond

By Max Brallier and Douglas Holgate

The newest instalment in this New York Times bestselling series brings back Jack and his buddies for post Monster Apocalypse adventure. Complete with new monsters, new bad guys and lots to laugh about, fans of the series won’t be disappointed and newbies won’t be lost. There’s a villain on their tail and they need to foil a dark plan that threatens the world and beyond. A fun and enticing read for reluctant readers. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher, Penguin Random House – $13.99 hardcover

Father Christmas and Me

By Matt Haig, illustrator Chris Mould

Just in time for Christmas comes the third instalment of the seasonal series following “A Boy Called Christmas” and “The Girl Who Saved Christmas”. It’s a gift to have a Christmas book to read over the holidays and this one is sure to please the readers on your list. Amelia Wishart, rescued from a life of misery by Father Christmas is growing up as a human in Elfhelm. She sometimes wonders if there is more to life than eating gingerbread and decorating Christmas trees. When a very jealous Easter Bunny and his Rabbit Army launch an attack to stop Christmas, Amelia starts to realize the value of everything in Elfhelm, and joins the fight to keep Christmas alive. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher, Harper Collins – $16.50 hardcover

Puffin Plated: A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens

This “book-to-table reading experience” includes a deluxe, full-colour edition of the perennial Christmas classic spiced up with a selection of story-appropriate recipes from Martha Stewart and others. A literary and gastronomic feast, this edition will help you to plan a Christmas menu that features holiday favourites like succulent baked ham to smashed root vegetables topped off with fruitcake cookies and pecan pie. The unabridged text of “A Christmas Carol” is interspersed with the recipes, food photography and special food artwork. It’s a wonderful seasonal read-aloud that can be served up over the holiday season in more ways that one. Ages 10 and up – Publisher, Penguin Random House – $34 hardcover