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Gift Books for Kids

Chip Kidd’s Go, Animation Studio, Nina’s Book of Little Things and The Goods by McSweeney’s

Mathematics was always notoriously a young person’s game, where the great theorists had completed their life’s work in their 20s, if not their teens. Among the upside-downs of the Internet-obsessed world today is that anything high-tech, forward-looking and billionaire-making also seems to be a young person’s game. If the result is the professionalization of childhood, it’s also a chance for kids to be treated to an adult’s view of the world in interesting and comprehensible fashion.

Chip Kidd’s Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design

By Chip Kidd (Workman, $17.95, 10+)

The famous designer’s take on his profession documents the history of graphic highlights using everything from the Declaration of Independence and the American flag to the Coca-Cola logo. There’s plenty for everyone to learn in these highly illustrated, well-documented, illuminating pages.


Animation Studio

By Helen Piercy (Candlewick, $19.99, 8+)

A direct pitch to this millennium’s Spielberg or Disney, this package provides the basic tools of the animator’s trade — a box, a book, a set of props, an example storyboard and suggested monster characters — then lays out the process step by step. Young amateurs are turned into budding pros as they choose a genre and draw frames before filming or photographing the action with a smartphone and uploading it all to the computer.


Nina’s Book of Little Things

By Keith Haring (Big Picture Press, $19.99, 6+)

Haring, whose youthful art graced the subway stations of New York in the 1980s, shows in these pages the creativity of a crayon and an imagination. The well-known clownish figures and outline print on display in this book, published well after the artist’s untimely death in the age of AIDS mortality, originated as a doodled seventh-birthday present for young Nina Clemente. Drawing and writing on the edge of the page, Haring encourages Nina (and now any reader) to fill in the blanks with “little things that fit inside this circle” or “things I would like to put inside a big blue purse (if I had a big blue purse).”


The Goods by McSweeney’s

(Big Picture Press, $22.99, all ages)

If the previous books could be mistaken for holiday subterfuge to keep kids occupied and the TV turned off, The Goods engages all revelers with its games, challenges and oddball facts. McSweeney’s is the publisher founded by prolific and sometimes profound author Dave Eggers, whose latest novel, The Circle, is a 1984 for the privacy-relinquishing world we live in now. These books hearken back to a less-invasive time with activities made possible with more than a little modern creativity.

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