One-Minute Book Reviews

November 28, 2007

2007 A-to-Z Holiday Gift List Coming Soon – Here Are Three of My Favorite Books From the 2006 List That You Can Still Find Easily


… the second annual One-Minute Book Reviews A-to-Z Holiday Gift List with books for everyone from an attorney to a Zen Buddhist. A few of my favorites from last year’s list:

What to give to …

A FOOTBALL FAN After a decade out of print, Jerry Kramer’s Instant Replay: The Green Bay Diary of Jerry Kramer (Doubleday, $21.95) returned last year in an edition with a foreword by Jonathan Yardley, the Pulitzer Prize–winning book critic. Give this one to football fans young enough to have missed it when it first came out in 1968 (and maybe also to baby boomers who’ve always regretted giving that first edition to Goodwill). Kramer, a former All-Pro Green Bay guard, wrote this modern classic with the late Dick Schaap, one of the best sportswriters of the 20th century.

A JANEITE Devout Jane Austen fans call themselves “Janeites.” But you don’t have to fall into that group to enjoy Josephine Ross’s Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades & Horrible Blunders (Bloomsbury, $14.95), with charming watercolor illustrations by Henrietta Webb. Ross doesn’t try to extrapolate a set of 21st-century rules from the behavior of Elizabeth Bennet and others. Instead she offers a literary companion, masquerading as a Regency-era etiquette book, that explains the complex codes of behavior followed by Austen’s characters.

A KINDERGARTENER Mother Goose characters write letters to each other in Allan and Janet Ahlberg’s The Jolly Postman: Or Other People’s Letters (Little, Brown, $19.99, ages 4-8), which has a real letter tucked into in an envelope on every other page. This British import has been delighting children for two decades and has come out in a 20th anniversary edition. The books in “Jolly Postman” series are great gifts partly because children often can’t get them at libraries, which have trouble keeping them on shelves — the letters keep disappearing from their pockets. A sequel, The Jolly Christmas Postman (Little,Brown, $17.99, ages 4-8), is shown at right.

Many other books on last year’s list still make good gifts. Click here to read the full list

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. My son (now 21) loved the Jolly Postman books! The Christmas one is still in great shape because it spends most of the year in a box, only out between Thanksgiving and Epiphany. And you are correct – books like these are hard to keep intact on library shelves. I don’t buy children’s books with pieces or pop-ups for my curriculum collection; they just don’t hold up. Great gifts though.

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — November 28, 2007 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  2. My thoughts exactly about pop-ups. I often recommend high-quality pop-ups as holiday gifts when I give speeches or do presentations on that topic, partly for the reason you mentioned. So many librarians have told me that they buy few or no pop-ups for their collections because these books get damaged too easily.

    I haven’t looked into the 2007 pop-ups yet and don’t know if I’ll have time. But Maurice Sendak did a pop-up last year (which I haven’t read) that got a lot of attention. If I were looking for a good pop-up gift this season, I might start by looking at that one.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — November 28, 2007 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  3. Yes, I think you are referring to “Mommy?”:

    Comment by speedytexaslibrarian — November 28, 2007 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

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