Dispatch editor Nancy Gilson again offers up some great new children's literature for us. Read on and find something for your family!
A new crop of pop-up books should deliver some 3-D fun for youngsters of all ages.
Here are a half-dozen of the best new ones:
* Amazing Pop-Up Trucks (Candlewick, 10 pages, $17.99, ages 4 to 9) by Robert Crowther
Young truck fanatics will fall in love with the bold look at five truck types: car transporters; truck trains; and concrete, monster and garbage trucks. Each double page features flaps with lots of information and a big pop-up truck. The cement mixer is particularly impressive.
* Knick-Knack Paddywhack! (Dutton, 14 pages, $20.99, ages 3 to 8), illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
The beloved rhyme is brought to clever life with levers, flaps and wheels that show the little old man playing Knick-Knack Paddywhack on a knee, door, gate and other locations -- with the dog, of course, getting his bone at every turn. At the climax, in a giggle-producing scene, they all roll down the hill together.
* The Giant Book of Giants (Sterling, 24 pages, $19.95, ages 5 to 10) by Saviour Pirotta and Mark Robertson
Six giant tales, from Jack and the Beanstalk to the Irish saga of Finn and the Buggane, are included in the multicultural compendium. The pizazz is the foldout poster, more than 4 feet tall, that features a homely but harmless-looking giant accompanied by flaps and removable items, including a pocket watch.
* Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Pop-up Book (Puffin, 20 pages, $29.99, age 5 and older), illustrated by Quentin Blake
The Roald Dahl classic reads better in the unabridged version, but you can't beat the pop-up extras based on the illustrations of the longtime Dahl illustrator. Youngsters get to unwrap the last winning ticket along with Charlie and marvel at the 3-D chocolate factory.
* Feel the Force! (Candlewick, 16 pages, $18.99, ages 7 to 11) by Tom Adams and Thomas Flintham
Concepts of physics are fun in the nicely written book, which tackles gravitational pull, simple machines, sound waves and more. The best 3-D illustration: a man demonstrating how spreading his weight over a bed of nails keeps him from getting hurt. The hard part is getting up.
* The Odyssey: A Pop-Up Book (Sterling, 16 pages, $26.95, age 9 and older) by Sam Ita
Homer's adventure-packed tale of Odysseus might be a bit hard to follow in the graphic-novel incarnation (young readers would do best to familiarize themselves with the plot first), but the pop-ups are spectacular: Odysseus pokes out the single eye of the monster Polyphemus, oarsmen guide his boat through the Sirens, Zeus sends a thunderbolt to end squabbles, and Odysseus proves who he is to his wife.
- Nancy Gilson