What Makes a Good Graduation Gift?
Since you know you can count on somebody else to purchase Oh, the Places You'll cheap earrings! and Chicken Soup for the Soul for the new graduate, the Horn Book staff and reviewers thought we might offer some alternative suggestions, based on personal experience - both what we've given and what we've received - and on what life has taught us about which words we might have needed or heeded back in the day.
Because the gift of a book can be as much imposition as benefaction, I would go with something short, and undemanding in the nicest possible sense. Meaning, you will not be tested on this book by me or anyone ehe. Also compact, to make it that much more possible for the graduate to take along to wherever he or she is headed next. Any picture book by William Steig has all these qualities, in addition to being wise, generously spirited, and respectful of readers old and young. But which one? I think I'll go with Brave Irene, because it's about loving your mom so much you will leave home on her behalf, facing down the elements on your own and getting the job done, earning respect and cake in the end. roger sut ton Freshman year of college, I had a great roommate. Not only did we think alike, we looked alike - people called us the Madonna twins. We were Frog and Toad with blonde bobs and miniskirts instead of webbed feet and earth-toned jackets. Still, cheap jewelry friends once I left the high school womb didn't always happen so easily for me. Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's hilarious picture book Cowboy and Octopus would have reminded me to look beyond superficialities. Because sometimes the kid with the eight arms and bad taste in hats and the wrangler with a thing for baked beans end up a perfect match. How do they discover their compatibility? As Scieszka and Smith show, they just have to start talking. Christine m. heppermann
The book I'd give almost any graduate, from preschool to high school, is Maria Frazee's picture book Walk On!: A Guide for Babies of All Ages. Dedicated to Frazee's college-bound son, the book truly is for beginners of any age, though its protagonist is one of the author- illustrator s trademark babies, a shiny faced, bald-headed tot, listening attentively to the narrator, who begins: "Is sitting there on your bottom getting boring? Has lying around all the time become entirely unacceptable? It is time to learn how to walk!" The book is full of good advice ("Remember to breathe"; "Go ahead and cry if it helps") that, coupled with Frazee's pictures of the determined toddler, wearing a diaper twice the size of his or her head, will get laughs from both kindergartners and teenagers. From getting started ("The first thing you've got to do is stand on your own two feet. It sounds easier than it is") to first step ("Don't look down at your feet. Look toward where you want to go. Imagine yourself as already cheap key rings"), readers will find gentle guidance ("You will need support... Be careful of things that are wobbly") and cool insights ("See how different everything looks from here?") - reminders that taking baby steps is a natural way to begin almost anything. JENNIFER M. BRABANDER