Last weekend I went on an errand for the big guy in the red suit who lives at the North Pole--trying to get a jump on things. It was a book errand, the best kind.
If you are a book person, especially if you are a parent of young book lovers, here is a tip. The tip is mainly to help you keep from making yourself nuts as the big gift-giving event gets closer.
Three books are already looking to be in the lead for titles that kids will be asking for this Christmas. I learned this last weekend, with nearly ten weeks to go. I mention all of this as a public service to parents. All three of these titles are now showing as "back-ordered". This is a book industry term that essentially means that the book's publishers are having a really tough time meeting demand for the books...and in this case, the demand hasn't really heated up yet. You can still find them right now.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2007). I want to thank my daughter's third grade teacher for recommending this one to me. The book won the 2008 Caldecott Medal. Also, come Thanksgiving, Martin Scorsese's film adaptation (I 've watched the trailer five times already) hits the big screen. Don't think that the book will be easy to find after that. I started reading this book while waiting to have a leaky tire checked out at the car shop. When the guy told me that the tire was okay, I asked him to go back and check the other three. There was nothing wrong with them, I was just really into the story and wanted to keep reading for a bit longer.
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick--14 Amazing Authors Tell the Tells by Chris Van Allsburg. Allsburg is also a Caldecott winner, and author of Jumanji, Zathura, and The Polar Express, among others. The book has an introduction by Lemony Snicket, and includes stories by authors such as Sherman Alexie, Stephen King and Lois Lowry. The book just came out in September. It will go fast. I know for a fact that, as of last weekend, Avid Bookstore in Athens, Georgia had a big stack. Avid is on Prince Avenue, just a block down from The Grit Restaurant. Make an afternoon of it.
Finally, The Legos Idea Book, from DK. It just came out in September. If you or your kids are Lego fanatics, you know what I mean. I know for an absolute fact, that two Christmases ago, I purchased the very last available copy of The Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary to be found in North Georgia. Come Christmas morning, though, it was worth every mile I drove to find it. And how many toys, books, etc. does a six-year-old use continuosly for two years? And still looks at it regularly.
Enjoy your holidays this year. Don't make yourself crazy. Go get them now. You can read them before the kids. Also, please, no spoilers.