2012 Picks of the Year: All Ages


Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version

By Pullman, Philip
Viking Books ($27.95)

Fairy tales are the bones of literature.  These fifty tales, beautifully and clearly retold, give readers the underpinnings of European literature and so much that springs from it. Although fairy tales are often free of character development and elaborate description, Pullman has managed to retell them in words that make them fresh again, ready to fire the imagination and illuminate the world.


Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year
By Priceman, Marjorie

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers ($19.99)

Nobody should be a slave to convention, but everyone enjoys having a few rituals.  This collection, drawn from many poets and composers, and charmingly illustrated in bright watercolors, will add quality and resonance to the seasonal cycles of any family.


The Big Book of Hacks: 264 Amazing DIY Tech Projects 
By Cantor, Doug
Weldon Owen ($25.00)

The cover declares it’s serious with metal-reinforced corners, and the subtitle “264 Amazing DIY Tech Projects: Geek Toys, Home Improvements, Gadget Upgrades, Things That Go.” Try something  simple and practical such as #188, “Make a Laptop Stand from a Binder”; or something fun such as #99, “Set Up a DIY Drive-In Movie” (which includes applicable warnings about FCC regulations and use of public spaces); or go all out with #66, “The Electric Giraffe.”  By far the greatest proportion are practical, inexpensive, and just tech enough to let the geeks show off a little bit.

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