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This is the greatest season of the year for giving - and what better gift to
give than books?  Some of the best books are books from the past.  I've
assembled a list, with a short description, of older books that are so good
that they've recently been reissued by the publisher.  So, here are some
favorite classics that children of all ages will love to hear read aloud.
If you read these books at bedtime, your children will beg to go to bed!

Peter Pan And Wendy, by J. M. Barrie, and published by Orchard Books
(Scholastic), is a marvelous publication celebrating the one hundredth
edition.  There is an enlightened foreword in the front of the book by the
closest living descendent that gives interesting background information to
this magical author.  The hardback binding and awe-inspiring illustrations,
by Robert Ingpen, makes this book a life-long keeper!  But for a less
expensive new reissue, Aladdin recently published Peter Pan in paperback.

While I'm listing older classics, here's another beautiful edition that will
remain in your family forever - The Wind In The Willows, by Kenneth Grahame,
has the same kind of feel as Peter Pan and Wendy.  It's large in size,
hardback and beautifully illustrated by Inga Moore.  Candlewick Press is the
publisher of this outstanding new reissue.  If you haven't read this classic
to your family, shame on you!

And while I'm writing about Kenneth Grahame and Inga Moore, there's another
new reissue, also published by Candlewick Press - The Reluctant Dragon was
originally written 10 years prior to his famous The Wind In The Willows.
This book reads like picture book with pictures on every page.  However, the
text is longer making this read-aloud a 2 or 3 day read.  Another reissue of
the same story is retold by award winning Robert D. San Souci and
wonderfully illustrated by John Segal.  The publisher of this edition is
Scholastic.

How about another wonderful classic recently reissued by HarperCollins?
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her first book, Little House in the Big Woods,
after traveling by covered wagon across the prairie.  She based her Little
House book series on her life growing up and living during the turn of last
century.  There are 9 books in all and each is colorfully illustrated by
award winning illustrator, Garth Williams.

Here's another classic that you should have on your shelf and read to your
children.  Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories.  This newest edition,
published by Candlewick Press, has some of the best illustrators
represented.  There are 8 tales that the author had originally told to his
young daughter, having lived in India when he was very young.  Some of the
outstanding illustrators include:  Peter Sis, Jeff Fisher and Jane Ray.

The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes, and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin,
is one of my favorite classics that's almost a forgotten tale.  It won the
Newberry Honor Award over 60 years ago, but the story still applies today.
It's about a poor little Polish girl who wears the same dress to school
every day and how the other children treat her.  The lesson taught is
invaluable.  This book has been reissued by Harcourt Publishers.

Tales of Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Naomi Lewis and illustrated
by Joel Stewart, is another beautiful large hardback that Candlewick Press
publishes so well.  The foreword will enlighten you as to how this prolific
writer became a fairy tale writer.

How about a wonderful classic that has been long forgotten by many - or read
by few?  Mother West Wind's Children, by Thornton W. Burgess, with
wonderfully new illustrations by Harrison Cady, has 15 adventurous tales
about the life of small furry residents in the meadow.  This book has been
reissued by Little, Brown and Company.

"B" is for Betsy, written and illustrated by Carolyn Haywood, is about
dealing with first grade.  Although it was first published back in the
1930's, this fun and interesting book gives children a look at how school
has changed over the years.  This book has been reissued by Harcourt
Publishers.

Now for some picture books:  Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle have a Brown
Bear & Friends gift set that includes Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You
See?  This set of three is perfect for little ones and published by Henry
Holt.  Another Henry Holt publication was the winner of the Caldecott Honor
back in 1964:   A Pocketful of Cricket, by Rebecca Caudill and illustrated
by Evaline Ness, is about a boy and the noisy cricket he takes to school.
Aladdin has recently reissued another of my favorite picture books, Around
the Year, by award winning author / illustrator Tasha Tudor, taking you
through the year month by illustrated month.

Here's a list of other outstanding reissued books:  Little Lord Fauntleroy
by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Will Hobbs 2 book series Bearstone and
Beardance, also The Big Wander, all published by Aladdin.  Old Yeller by
Fred Gipson, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge, Five
Children and It by E. Nesbit, all published by HarperCollins.  Harcourt
Publishing recently reissued the remaining books:  Half Magic by Edward
Eager, Theodore Taylor's Cape Hatteras 3 book trilogy, William O. Steele's 4
book series:  Winter Danger, The Buffalo Knife, Flaming Arrows and Newbery
Honor book, The Perilous Road.