Inspiring laughter, conversation, and yummy treats

Look Who's Talking! At the Zoo
By Danny Tepper
Illustrated by Valeria Petrone
Random House – $7.99 – Ages 0-3

This engaging, interactive book teaches toddlers about wild animals. Lift the flaps of the book and read through the die-cut hole, turning yourself into funny, talking animals. A crowd pleaser for any playgroup!

Dinosaur on Hanukkah
Diane Levin Rauchwerger
Illustrated by Jason Wolff
Kar-Ben Publishing – $6.95 – Ages 9-12

When a dinosaur knocks on your door, asking to share in the Hanukkah festivities, hide the latkes! Cat-in-the-Hat-style antics are in store. This fun - almost singable - rhyming tale takes kids from gelt to dreidls and nun to shin, hitting the highlights of the Festival of Light. Kar-Ben publishes a number of other fine books on Jewish holidays and traditions, including My First Jewish Word Book.

Batter Up Kids: Sensational Snacks
Barbara Beery
Gibbs Smiths, Publisher – $19.95 – Ages 4-8

Children often want to help with the holiday baking festivities. This cook-book, which comes with a real child-size chef's apron, features a delightful array of good-for-you, fun snacks kids and parents can make together. Colorful photography shows both the finished product and the steps in each recipe. The book also includes guidelines for cooking safely.

Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember
Senator John McCain with Mark Slater
Random House – $23.95 – 5 and up

A U.S. Senator and veteran, Senator John McCain is also the father of seven children. As a parent, McCain wanted to publish a book that would empower parents and children alike to become the best people they can by learning about the core traits that build character. These 34 stories tell of historical figures who exemplify humility, humor, honesty, cooperation, and other traits. The short, simply written stories can open the door for meaningful conversations for both parents and children.

Ellie, The Perfect Dress for Me
C.M. Rubin
Illustrated by Christopher Fowler
School Specialty Publishing -$15.95 – Ages 4-8

Parents are often challenged to enhance their young daughters' self-esteem and self-confidence. A sequel to the best-selling picture book, Eleanor, Ellatony, Ellencake, and Me, this newest picture book by C.M. Rubin celebrates children's sense of self. As Ellie struggles to find the perfect dress for a very special occasion, her family members continually offer advice on the &#8220proper” attire. Ellie, a determined young lady, wants to wear something that truly reflects who she is. In the end, Ellie makes her own decision and the result is a charming outfit that pleases everyone - especially Ellie.