There’s a snap in the air, sounds of bells on the breeze, and a warm glow of candlelight softening the night. Festive times are here — holidays to cheer. No better month to celebrate classic reads then in our “Gift of a Good Book” month. 

Newsbee’s searched out grand titles just for you and for yours. Amidst all the merriment, “Page-On” and enjoy.   

Youngest Pick

Sometimes it’s best to be satisfied with the plate of cheese life dishes out to us. So it goes in “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse,” a fable by Aesop that will never grow old. This gorgeous redo with illustrations and words by Helen Ward is simply stunning.

Life is quite satisfactory for a bitty brown country mouse. He revels in the “ripe orchards of fall,” and “the sun-warmed earth in the spring.” But the rural rodent also knows the “aching hunger of a long, cold winter,” and the dangers that lurk in the woods.

Unrest seizes him when his city cousin comes to visit. Suddenly, life in a metropolis sounds pretty appetizing. With a scamper, country mouse sets off on an adventure that doesn’t quite turn out as he had planned. 

Middle Pick

Hop down a new trail with Peter Rabbit. The mischievous bunny in a blue jacket is back, thanks to author Emma Thompson, an actress with a gift for writing, as well as acting. 

“The Further Tale of Peter Rabbit” finds Peter up to his ears in trouble. Curiosity can kill a cat, and it spells double trouble for Peter when he returns to Mr. McGregor’s garden and stumbles onto a wicker basket.

Peter tumbles inside and makes short work of some picnic sandwiches — full up, he falls asleep, only to be wakened when the basket begins to “joggle.” Horrified, Peter realizes the basket been placed on a wagon bouncing down a road. 

So begins a mishap that takes Peter far from hearth and home, and a highland fling he’ll never forget. Soft pastel paintings by Eleanor Taylor, grace the pages, reminding readers of the original book about Peter and other woodland creatures written by Beatrix Potter. 

Oldest Pick      

Hold onto your hats. If you loved “Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, you’ll rejoice that Toad, Mole and Water Rat are back — along with some new friends in “Return to the Willows” by Jacqueline Kelly. 

The action begins on the river on a trip with Mole and Water Rat, sailing along as pleasantly as can be. That is until Rat springs some news on Mr. Mole. Their buddy Toad, the reckless racecar ruffian, has a new means of transportation. With that, Toad floats high above them in a yellow balloon.

Oh, bother, Toad is on another manic kick — if it isn’t one thing, it’s another. Madcap escapades abound, concluding in a swashbuckling finale. 

Gorgeous, detailed paintings by Clint Young bring the characters and settings to life and assure that this sequel will become a classic in its own right.

Reprinted with permission, Missourian Publishing Company. Copyright 2012.