With the clock quickly ticking away before holiday celebrations, this week and for several weeks thereafter I will eliminate my editorial to make way for one extra book review to give you more selections for holiday gift-giving/sharing.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Books to Borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"The Chanukah Guest" by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated in color by Giora Carmi, Holiday House, 32 pages

Read aloud: age 2 - 3 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8.

Bubba Brayne was 97 years old. She lived in a little house on the edge of the forest, and every year at Chanukah all her friends would make their way to her house to eat her delicious latkes. This year she made twice as many latkes as usual, for this year the rabbi was coming.

While Bubba Brayne cooked, the delicious smells of her latkes wafted through the forest. Old Bear, in the midst of his winter sleep, was awakened by the smells and followed the wonderful aroma right to Bubba Brayne's house. Bubba Brayne didn't see or hear very well at her age, and thinking the knock at her door was the rabbi, welcomed Old Bear into her home.

After lighting the menorah and a game of dreidel, the two feasted on latkes until they were all gone. Old Bear left, and Bubba Brayne began washing the dishes when she heard another knock at the door. It was the rabbi - the real rabbi - along with everyone from the village!

A wonderfully entertaining story with delightful illustrations, this book is a great choice for Chanukah, the holidays or anytime.

Librarian's Choice

Library: Carroll County Public Library, 136 Court St., Carrollton

Library Director: Hillary Arney

Youth Services Librarian: Leslie Sutherland

Choices this week: "Bark, George" by Jules Feiffer; "The Magic Rabbit" by Richard Jesse Watson; "The Great Dragon Rescue" by M.P. Robertson

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"Gifts of the Heart" written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, Putnam, 2013, 40 pages, $17.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 6 - 8.

Read yourself: age 8 and older.

It was a hard time in the days leading up to Christmas that year. Gramma had passed away, and Trisha, Richie and their mom lived with Grampa on his farm and they all missed Gramma very much. This was to be the last Christmas there, for Grampa was selling the farm in the spring.

When the new housekeeper, Kay Lamity shows up, Richie is upset, thinking she is trying to replace Gramma. But Kay is a bundle of love and goodness, and quickly sets the record straight with Richie and Trisha about Santa Claus and the most important kinds of gifts - the ones that come from the heart. Kay's influence and guidance ultimately yield a Christmas morning none of them would ever forget.

Patricia Polacco has once again provided her readers with not just a memorable, thought-provoking story, but a genuine gift from her heart to ours.

"Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift" written and illustrated by Dara Goldman, Sleeping Bear Press, 2013, 32 pages, $15.99 hardcover

Read aloud: age 4 - 5 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8.

Stella wants to give Boris a very special gift for Hanukkah, and Boris wants to give Stella a very special gift for Christmas. Privately they each realize they don't have enough money to by a gift. Best friends and like-minded, Stella and Boris independently decide to do the same thing - sell their most precious possession to give the other a perfect gift.

Reminiscent of the "The Gift of the Magi," this tender, loving story excels.

"The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Emma Thompson, illustrated by Eleanor Taylor, Frederick Warne/Penguin, 2013, 69 pages with CD recording by author, $20.00 hardcover

Read aloud: age 3 and older.

Read yourself: age 7 - 8.

It is almost Christmas, and Peter Rabbit is very excited. His exuberance causes problems for Peter, and his mother sends him on an errand before he causes another accident. Along the way, Peter meets his cousin, Benjamin Bunny, and soon thereafter, the two meet their friend, William - a very large and proud turkey.

William boasts to his friends that Mr. and Mrs. McGregor cherish him so much they've said they are going to have William for Christmas Day dinner. Peter and Benjamin immediately know what that really means, and set about to convince William of his fate and hide him before it's too late.

Full of good fun and smiles, this original Christmas story (and the bonus CD recording by the author) is bound to be a hit this holiday season.

Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's literature. She can be reached at her website: www.greatestbooksforkids.com.