Each month, the staff at the Columbus Metropolitan Library reviews kids' books...

Each month, the staff at the Columbus Metropolitan Library reviews kids' books for us. For the holidays, we asked them to recommend titles for everyone in the family. Melissa Boyd from the main branch's Center for Discovery, offered up these suggestions: If this year's economic uncertainty has made selecting a gift a bit challenging, why not let a book serve as the stand-in for a more luxurious stocking stuffer? After all, you may not be able to give them a trip to Paris, but nothing's stopping them from reading about it…. "Journeys of a Lifetime" from National Geographic: Perhaps it's a stroll through the Headhunter's Trail of Malaysia you fancy or a tour of Thailand's cuisine. This book gives you a taste of the exotic without ever leaving the couch. Vicarious photographic thrills abound in this impressive coffee-table book, making it easy to get lost in its pages. "Wild Animal Atlas: Earth's Astonishing Animals and Where They Live," also from National Geographic, is intended for ages 5-8. This glossy page turner is filled with surprising facts about little-known animals from spots including the Amazon Rainforest, the Alps and the Great Barrier Reef.

The New York Review Children's Collection features classic titles that are beautifully illustrated, hard-bound and perfect for gifting: Among these are Margery Sharp's "The Rescuers," which features mice with personalities richer than those in most contemporary adult fiction, and illustrations from Garth Williams; Frank Tashlin's "The Bear That Wasn't," a fable written in 1946 but more relevant now than ever - it's all about a bear who wakes up from a long sleep to find that a factory has been built over the entrance to his cave, and instead of apologizing for their misstep, the factory owners accuse the bear of laziness and admonish him to get back to work (and shave); and James Thurber's classic "The 13 Clocks" is best for savvy readers, ages 9 and up, and has retro illustrations to lend a tongue-in-cheek sophistication.

"Parisian Chic: A Style Guide" by Ines de la Fressange. Next destination: Paris! Replete with whimsical illustrations, the uber-chic author shares what to wear (and not wear) when dressing Parisian, and a special section details all the best spots to hit when finally making the trip to the City of Light.

Some books are best given as part of a suite of gifts, like Roy Blount Jr.'s "Alphabet Juice" and its follow-up, "Alpha Better Juice." Perfect for the consummate word lover, these reference-style books are an A to Z of hilarious snippets by the prolific author. One gets the sense in reading each entry that great care and love was afforded every last sentence.

Finally, anyone would enjoy writing in one of Revolver Bound Books' beautifully innovative 2-in-1 journal. Thanks to a clever binding technique, these 64-page journals flip outside and inside so that you can have two projects, topics or to-do lists running at the same time. They come in two different page sizes and are available at revolverboundbooks.com or from vat19.com.