All the Libraries Toronto
Daniel Rotsztain
Dundurn,
dundurn.com/books/All-Libraries-Toronto
$16.99
#allthelibrariesTO, @TheUrbanGeog
All 100 branches (plus two bookmobiles!) of the Toronto Public Library appear in this whimsical colouring book.
Within these pages you will find a love letter to the Toronto Public Library, created by urban geographer Daniel Rotsztain. Rotsztain’s quest to illustrate all the branches of North America’s most used library system took him up river valleys, through city parks, over highways and along the lakeshore. In this book, Rotsztain invites you along to explore the city’s unique neighbourhoods and architecture through its temples to books, from the vast to the humble, with nothing but your own coloured pencils and pens.
Editor’s Note: What a cool book – information about each library is included in this colouring book as well as a picture of the library itself. Unlike many today’s colouring books for adults (although this one certainly could be for both adults and children), for the most part spaces are large, perfect for colouring in marker or while listening to a movie. (The spaces in adult colouring books are too small with too many details, which makes it a very un-relaxing activity). Toronto certainly has some beautiful libraries and even the latest – Fort York – in included. I like the map included at the front, which shows where the library is located and what it looks like in miniature.

Best Day on Earth, The World’s Most Extraordinary Experiences from Dawn till After Dark
Rough Guides, Penguin Random House
$22.95
Best Day on Earth is the definitive photographic guide to the world’s most unforgettable travel experiences, from sunrise until after dark.
A unique “one day around the world” format gives a global snapshot of extraordinary moments taking place simultaneously, from climbers reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and street food vendors setting up their stalls along the Mekong River in Laos, to sumo wrestlers hunkering down in Japan and the neon lights of the Strip firing into life in Las Vegas.
More than 160 stunning images showcase the very best of Rough Guides’ extensive travel photography and are accompanied by illuminating writing from our award-winning team of travel experts. Each experience is pinpointed on a world map so that you can pack your backpack, book a ticket, and have your very own Best Day on Earth.
Editor’s Note: I know the point of the book is to make you want to experience all the places packed into one day and it does, but it also makes me very sad – I can’t imagine I will make it to half of these places and now I really want to. I want to watch the tulip bloom in Buenos Aires and the stilt fishermen at work in Sri Lanka.  I do not, however, want to throw tomatoes at the locals in Bunel, Spain, or take a leap of faith in the Costa Rican Rainforest.

Canadian Geographic Canada for Kids, 1000 Awesome Facts
Aaron Kylie
Firefly Books, http://www.fireflybooks.com/index.php/catalogue/product/11171-canadian-geographic-canada-for-kids-1000-awesome-facts
A kid’s reference featuring facts and trivia focusing on Canada’s records, achievements and gee-whiz accomplishments. In this patriotic celebration of Canada’s superlatives, complete with 300 color photographs, kids are presented with thousands of unique facts, figures and feats that make the country unique including: a trio of Canadians lay claim to the invention of the plastic garbage bag; Wood Buffalo National Park is Canada’s largest national park and among the biggest in the world; and The Hudson’s Bay Company, founded in 1670, is North America’s oldest continuously operating company.
Editor’s Note: What a fun book. There is lots of information in short bursts with photos to illustrate them. It’s always nice to learn more about Canada.

Happiness Is … a journal
Chronicle Books, chronicalbooks.com
US$8.95
Happiness is . . . a new journal ready for scribbles, doodles, thoughts and dreams! Brimming with charming illustrations, this sweet journal reminds users that there is much to be happy about every day.
Editor’s Note: I love journals. This one is pocket sized, which, for someone like me, is not that great. My hand cramps and I feel  I need a bigger page to do my writing. I like the fact there are both lined and blank pages so I can write bigger when I need to. I also love the doodles and their list of things that make them happy are often the same as mine – the smell of rain, an afternoon of reading and making memories.

How Machines Work Zoo Break
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$22.99
Complete with a unique jacket with an interactive compound machine incorporating several of the simple mechanisms featured in the book, How Machines Work: Zoo Break! uses models and illustrations to demonstrate the technology of six simple machines: levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges, and wheels.
Follow the mad antics of Sloth and his sidekick Sengi as they try to find their way out of the zoo with the help of machines. Their efforts are brought to life through novelty elements including pop-ups, pull-outs, and lift-the-flaps, allowing readers to explore in greater depth how and why machines work. Spreads highlight the use of simple machines in everyday objects, such as scissors and clocks, mixers and whisks, bikes and brakes, while the story contains clear and simple text to engage the reader.
Editor’s Note: My seven year old was putting Sloth and Sengai, the two characters, on a 3D seesaw and attempted to launch them over the fence. We laughed as Sengai tried to escape through the tunnel only to find a rather large surprise. Without prompting, my son told me it was a really cool book, and it really is. If only I could keep all this knowledge in my head.

Smithsonian Picturepedia, an encyclopedia on every page
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$33.99
Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex. The DK and Smithsonian publishing relationship brings the scholarship of Smithsonian experts out of the museum and into your home with authoritative books for both kids and adults.
Editor’s Note: I think an encyclopedia on every page is not accurate –  there seems to be more than an encyclopedia on every page. For example, in vegetables, it tells you what a vegetable is, then breaks it down to pod vegetables, leafy, root, bulbs and stems as well as types, colours and fruit. There is a photo for every vegetable mentioned. On the knots page, you can learn how to make a variety of knots and learn about others. In Imperial Japan, there are timelines, the  Samurai code as well as arts and crafts. You could spend hours flipping through this book and learn about a variety of subjects. Another fantastic book from this beautiful book publishing company.

Smithsonian Space!
The Universe as You’ve Never seen It before
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$27.99
Editor’s Note: So much information in here. I love the section on International Space Station – it baffles my brain. The section about Mars is also really neat. It’s a great resource. Beautiful pictures.

Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$22.99
DK’s Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need is crammed with weird and wonderful Star Wars trivia, strange-but-true facts and fascinating “Did you know?” Q&As via a highly engaging infographic design. Find out who cleans the floors of the Death Stars and what takes 1,000 years to digest its victims! From movie-making trivia to quirky facts you never knew, this guide will excite new and old fans alike of Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the Star Wars movies I-VI.
Editor’s Note: While I have watched the movies several times over, this book shows me I know absolutely nothing about them. The knowledge in this book amazes me.

Steam Train, Dream Train
Sherri Duskey Rinker
Chronicle Books, http://www.chroniclebooks.com
$16.99
The New York Times bestselling team behind Steam Train, Dream Train returns with the sounds of a train headed off to dreamland! Lightly abridged and revised from the original text, this playful board book includes a sound bar with 5 sounds—whistle, chugga, hiss, giggle, yawn – that bring interactive fun to the setting of the hit picture book.
Editor’s Note: What a beautiful book with beautiful illustrations. I will give this one to my nephew, but need to find the older version for my son.

Strange But True, Our Weird, Wild, Wonderful World
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$22.99
Do believe your eyes. The bizarre beats, incredible places and mind-blowing compendium are not just really weird, they’re really real.
Editor’s Note: Ugh. Why do I always have to turn to the gross page – bloated bloodsuckers complete with very closeup pictures and disgusting facts (the tardigrade is virtually indestructible. You can drop it in boiling water, freeze it and launch it into space and it will still live). This book even has the social media picture of the weasel on the woodpecker’s back. As a note, weasels can kill prey up to 10 times their weight.

The Disney Book, A Celebration of the World of Disney

Dk Books, dk.com
$34
Celebrate the world of Disney in The Disney Book, from the beautiful animations and amazing live action movies to the magical Disney parks and attractions.
Go behind-the-scenes of Disney’s famous movies and find out how they were made, follow Disney’s entire history using the timeline, and marvel at concept art and story sketches.
Perfect for Disney fans who want to know everything about the magical Disney world, The Disney Book delves into Disney’s incredible archives and lets fans explore classic Disney animated and live action movies, wonder at fascinating Disney collectibles and even see original story sketches from Disney films. Check out “Hero” pages that focus on amazing Disney props or artworks from the archives, beautifully photographed and annotated.
The ideal gift for Disney fans and animation and movie buffs, The Disney Book also includes 3 original movie frames from Disney Pixar’s Brave.
Editor’s Note: I am a huge Disney fan. Up until I had my son, I had, seen and/or owned every Disney movie I could get my hands on. I am really good at Disney trivia and Disney Scene-It (only my son wants to play with me.) But anything new, say post-2008, and I am sadly far behind. I love this book. Lots of great  information about the classics (yes, I am now a classic) as well as the new movies including Pixar. I will be reading this book cover to cover and reading it again. The Brave film strip is really cool.

Utterly Amazing Human Body
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$22.99
Professor Robert Winston unravels the mysteries of the human body through pop-ups, pull-outs, flaps, sliders and incredible facts to make learning about the human body fun and interactive.
Pop-open the mouth to reveal the teeth, tongue and senses of smell or lift-the-flap on the human body to reveal all the major organs and systems. From bulging muscles to the inside of the brain, this beautiful pop-up book brings the human body for kids to life with Professor Robert Winston to help along the way.
Editor’s Note: My son has the Utterly Amazing Science book and it is one of his favourite books. He never tires of opening flaps and seeing how things work. This book is similar with lots of small pieces of information and places to flip up and learn more. The closeup of a tongue is nasty. It’s another go-to book for my seven year old who spends many a car trip flipping through the book and reading me facts he has found within its pages. He particularly loves the section on the size of a baby inside its mommy and the development of people from babies to seniors.

Winter, The Lunar Chronicals
Marissa Meyer
Feiwel and Friends, us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
$26.99
us.macmillan.com/publishers/feiwel-and-friends
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?
The Lunar Chronicles is a young adult fantasy/sci-fi series by Marissa Meyer with each book retelling a fairytale. Book 1: Cinder (based on Cinderella), Book 2: Scarlet (based on Little Red Riding Hood); Book 3: Cress (based on Rapunzel); Novella: Fairest (based on Snow White’s evil stepmother, Queen Levana, the main antagonist in the series. Book 4: Winter (based on Snow White)
Editor’s Note: Truthfully, I knew Winter, the final book in a series I had never heard about before, but knew I would likely like (and loved the cover images of them all) was not one you should start reading, but I couldn’t help myself when I asked Raincoast Books to send me a copy. While I got through a couple of chapters, I have missed too much to really understand what is going on. But despite that. I already like the good guys and think it’s a series I could get into. And the cover is beautiful.

Other Christmas gifts
Darth Vader and Son/Vader’s Little Princess Deluxe Boxed Set
Jeffrey Brown
Chronicle Books, http://www.chroniclebooks.com
$47
Jeffrey Brown’s beloved reimagining of the Star Wars universe featuring Darth Vader as a devoted dad to young Luke and Leia has charmed and captivated fans of all ages in books that have become galactic bestsellers and classics in their own right. This deluxe gift box set reproduces the first two books in the series in a large format-perfect for sharing with young Jedi- that showcases Brown’s funny, colorful work. The slipcase edition also includes two unique, frameable art prints created just for this set as well as custom artwork for the slipcase box.

Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer’s Edition
$17.50
http://store.guinnessworldrecords.com/product_info.php?products_id=40
The bestselling videogames annual is back! Bursting with mind-blowing records and tantalizing trivia, the Guinness World Records 2016 Gamer’s Edition is a must-have for any gaming fan. Whether you’re all about the latest first-person shooter, an app aficionado, an MMO master or a die-hard retro gamer, you’ll find show-stopping records, Top 10 roundups, quick-fire facts and stats and hundreds of amazing new images from all your favorite games. New for this year’s book is a dedicated section just for Minecraft fans, with a mega-showcase of the greatest construction records, in-game tips and lots more blocky goodness. Plus, discover which tech milestones have been smashed in the last year-in both software and hardware, get all the insider secrets from industry experts, and marvel at the players who have leveled up to the very top of the leaderboards. Think you can challenge the current champions? Look inside to see how to break your very own record.

Musicals
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$46
The complete history of the musical is covered; from its earliest origins in dance halls and vaudeville, to the record-breaking West End musicals and spectacular Broadway shows of today. Discover the history, plots and stars of musical theatre and movie musicals, go backstage to find out behind-the-scenes gossip and delve into profiles of successful creators such as Disney and Andrew Lloyd Webber in this illustrated celebration. Plus fun infographics summarize plot, characters and songs making this a handy reference guide of all the best-loved musicals.

Star Wars Imperial Handbook A Commander’s Guide
Daniel Wallace
Chronicle Books, http://www.chroniclebooks.com
$26.95
The exciting next book in the bestselling Jedi/Sith/Bounty Hunter series has arrived! The Empire has taken hold of the galaxy, and high-ranking officials from each branch of the military have created an Imperial Handbook, compiling tactical guidelines and procedures as well as mission reports and classified documents for all newly ascending commanders. This comprehensive manual details secrets of Imperial battle tactics, acceptable actions for bringing swift justice to traitors and the Emperor’s long-term plan for galactic military domination. After the Battle of Endor, this copy of the Imperial Handbook fell into the hands of the Rebel Alliance. Well-known rebels provide a humorous running counter-commentary to the official Imperial propaganda in the form of handwritten annotations in the margins of the pages.

Top 10 of Everything 2016
Paul Terry
Firefly books, http://www.fireflybooks.com/
$29.95
The most dynamic reference book around is back bigger and better than ever. Packed full of amazing new lists, facts and stats, the newest Top 10 of Everything continues to amaze and inform. As always, it takes a fresh look at the universe, discovering new wondrous and jaw-dropping facts about machines, animals, sports, music, space, epic structures and more. A range of visual features provide exciting ways for readers to engage with facts, including graphs and charts that explain data clearly and easily, and snapshot lists that break down details into boxes for quick- glance reading. Every page is packed full of colorful graphics that engage and inform. By taking a comprehensive look at an incredible range of subjects, there’s certain to be something to amuse and interest any reader.

The Emperor of Any Place
Tim Wynne-Jones
Candlewick Press, candlewick.com
$16,60
When Evan’s father dies suddenly, Evan finds a hand-bound yellow book on his desk – a book his dad had been reading when he passed away. The book is the diary of a Japanese soldier stranded on a small Pacific island in the Second World War. Why was his father reading it? What is in this account that Evan’s grandfather, whom Evan has never met before, fears so much that he will do anything to prevent its being seen? And what could this possibly mean for Evan?

Wildlife of the World
DK Books, http://www.dk.com/ca/
$55
Wildlife of the World takes you on a journey through some of the most scenic and rich animal habitats – from the Amazon rainforests to the Himalayas, the Sahara to the South Pole – meeting the most important animals in each ecosystem along the way. In Wildlife of the World truly spectacular portrait-style photography brings you “face-to-face” with individual animals in up-close and engrossing profiles on how the animals interact with their environments, mate, survive, and even play. From the shaggy musk ox foraging in the Canadian high arctic to the angered Scottish wildcat prowling the Highlands to the rock-climbing gelada monkey of Ethiopia, each animal featured in Wildlife of the World plays a key role in its environment. An additional eighty-page illustrated reference section on the animal kingdom explains the animal groups and profiles additional species.

This was originally published at insidetoronto.com

 

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