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10 great books for kids

Looking for something for the kids to read?

There’s plenty to choose from this year.

• From MacMillan, on the 150th anniversary of the Lewis Carroll classic, comes “The Complete Alice” ($40), a gorgeous keepsake volume containing “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There” with the original illustrations by Sir John Tenniel reproduced from original color art in the publisher’s archive. The book includes a foreword by Philip Pullman.

• Artist Jim Kay’s thrilling painting of Hogwarts silhouetted against a threatening sky, marvelous portraits of Harry and Hermione, Snape and Albus Dumbledore, a gorgeous page of dragon eggs are among the treasures in a new edition of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone,” the first installment of new illustrated editions of the series (Arthur A. Levine, Scholastic, $39.99, 246 pages).

• Rick Riordan is at his irreverent best in “Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes” (Disney/Hyperion, $24.99, 381 pages, illustrated by John Rocco), a hilarious and handsome volume with such chapter headings as “Perseus Wants a Hug” “Atalanta vs. Three Pieces of Fruit: The Ultimate Death Match” and “Hercules Does 12 Stupid Things.”

• From paper engineering masters Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart comes “Encyclopedia Prehistorica Dinosaurs” (Candlewick Press, $26.99), a stunning book packed with elaborate dinosaur pop-ups including one of the newly discovered King of the Carnivores, the carcharodontosaurus which weighed about a ton more than a T-Rex.

• The one and only Neil Gaiman continues his surprising reinterpretations of fairy tales with “The Sleeper and the Spindle” (Harper, illustrated by Chris Riddell, $19.99), a Snow White-Sleeping Beauty hybrid with a surprising kiss and a vivid, creepy portrait of the overgrown castle and its zombie-esque, not-dead-but-sleeping inhabitants.

• Wildlife photographer Nancy Rose snapped candid photos of squirrels investigating the miniature settings and props (including a squirrel-size snowblower) on the deck of her home in Canada, with hilarious results in “Merry Christmas, Squirrels!” (Little Brown, $17) in which Mr. Peanuts packs up his favorite Christmas sweaters for a visit to Cousin Squirrel and Cousin Squirrel serves him a hazelnut latte (“It was delicious.”).

• Susanna Reich tells the fascinating story of the four lads growing up amid the devastation of post-war Britain who discovered a love of music and became the Beatles in the illuminating picture book biography “Fab Four Friends” (illustrated by Adam Gustavson, Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Books, $17.99).

• Ursula Vernon, author-illustrator of the hit “Dragonbreath” series, offers a riotously funny take on the Sleeping Beauty story in “Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible” (Dial Books, $12.99, ages 7 to 10) in which a feisty heroine upsets every fairy tale gender convention as she rides about the kingdom on a quail and among other hazards, encounters an Ogre-cat-turned vegetarian (“they do a pretty good person-flavored tofu”).

• Dave Eggers and Tucker Nichols combine their considerable talents to tell the fascinating story of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the debate over what color it should be painted in the fabulous picture book, “This Bridge Will Not be Gray” (McSweeney’s Publishing, $19.95) which is both history lesson and salute to the power of the imagination; the cover opens into a poster of the bridge.

•Tor Seidler, a National Book Award finalist for 1997 novel “Mean Margaret,” offers a thrilling adventure of life amid a wolf pack struggling to survive in the modern-day West, through the unlikely friendship between a magpie (who narrates the story) and a noble wolf named Blue Boy in “Firstborn” (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 227 pages, $16.99, ages 9 to 14), destined to become a classic in the tradition of the great animal stories for kids.