Harry Potter Boxed Set
by J.K. Rowling
Published by Raincoast Books
220 pages, 1999
ISBN: 1551922738

What could be a better holiday gift than a Harry Potter book? How 'bout three? By now, the young Mr. Potter requires no introduction, however this particular edition might. This Raincoast publication of the current Harry Potter trilogy includes text and titles as they appeared in the original U.K. editions. Thus, it includes Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and not the unfathomable Sorcerer's Stone as well as other Americanizations that the US publisher deemed necessary but that Raincoast has not. In whatever translation you choose, Harry Potter is a delightful companion for the youngster on your list.

 

The Three Musketeers
by Alexandre Dumas
Published by Everyman's Library Children's Classics Knopf
710 pages, 1999
ISBN: 0375406573

While the adventures of Monsieur d'Artagnan and his pals will be heavy going for all but the most precocious of children, it's lovely to see this classic dressed for company once again. Here it's bound in a lovely blue cloth cover with inlaid gold-colored cover lines, it's a bookly gift worth treasuring. I would have liked to have seen notes from the translator, William Barrow, as is usual with a translation. A word from the publisher would have been a positive addition as well. Why now? Why in this form? Why for kids? The Three Musketeers was originally published in 1844 and it should be noted that this translation was first published by Everyman's Library in 1906.

 

How Can a Brilliant Detective Shine in the Dark?
by Linda Bailey
Published by Kids Can Press
200 pages, 1999
ISBN: 155074750

The sixth novel in the Stevie Diamond mystery series builds suspense for the 13-and-under set. It's not hard to see why the Stevie Diamond mysteries have gained such a following. Author Linda Bailey's characters are believable and engaging, the mysteries she writes about are convincingly told with equal amounts of fun and tension and Stevie herself is an enjoyable hero. This time Stevie and her sidekick Jesse want to find out why Uncle Archie disappeared over 45 years before. The mystery in this latest installment is around some missing gold, a hidden cave and an unsolved murder.

 

Lefty Carmichael Has a Fit
by Don Trembath
Published by Orca Books
215 pages, 1999
ISBN: 1551431661

Lefty Carmichael Has a Fit is one of those issues books that are too often filled with enough pathos to choke a pony. Author Don Trembath manages to bring the story off beautifully, however. And, despite all that pathos, the book is tightly-written, interesting and fresh. In Lefty Carmichael Has a Fit, 15-year-old Lefty's world is drastically altered when he finds out he has epilepsy. His mom is shaken and overly-protective, his friends don't know how to handle it and the girl he's been coveting is suddenly afraid to be alone in the same room with him. Trembath's clear voice and true understanding of the age group he's writing about keeps the story from becoming trite and moralistic.