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Chronogram Picks: Holiday Gift Books for 2010 

Beauty & the Beast: A pop-up book of the classic fairy tale
Robert Sabuda
little simon, 2010, $29.99
New Paltz paper engineer extraordinaire Sabuda adds new dimension to the tale that enchanted Jean Cocteau and Disney. The Beast’s castle looms right off the page, and Beauty’s father traverses mirrored hallways in cleverly designed side-pops. The Beast bristles with horns and a serpentine tail, turning into a prince before readers’ eyes when Beauty learns to see beyond appearances.

Cuba: My Revolution
Inverna Lockpex & Dean Haspiel, with Jose Villarrubia
Vertigo, 2010, $24.99
This blood-spattered red-white-and-black graphic novel may not be typical holiday fare, but it displays an abundance of gifts. Greene County artist Invernez’s wrenching tale of an idealistic young woman’s coming of age in revolutionary Cuba recalls Maus and Persepolis in its potent blend of personal and political history with striking artwork.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young readers, 2010, $16.66
The Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist duo spins a Christmas-break romance for literate teens. When grinchy Dash finds a red notebook full of treasure-hunty clues in the Strand bookstore, he can’t resist leaving a few of his own. Will the “snarly hipster wannabe” bond with ebullient Lily in person as well as on paper? Hello!

New Paltz Revisited
Carol A. Johnson
Arcadia Publishing, 2010, $21.99
Ever since 12 Huguenot patentees bought real estate from the Esopus Sachems, New Paltz has been a place apart. This vibrant entry in the “Images of America” series presents over 120 pages of informatively captioned historical photos, hopscotching through the centuries to wind up (where else?) at the Elting Memorial Library.

One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking
Molly O’Neill
Simon & Schuster, 2010, $50
Former New York Times columnist O’Neill crisscrossed the country in search of real American cuisine, as practiced in bayous and trailer parks, Southwestern pueblos, and New England clambakes. She brought back 600 mouthwatering recipes and plenty of lore. Booksigning and cookie swap at Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, 12/4 at 7:30pm.

Showtime: A History of the Broadway Musical Theater
Larry Stempel
W.W. Norton & Co., 2010, $39.95
At 832 pages, this exhaustively researched labor of love is no stocking stuffer. Serious scholars of Broadway will revel in Mount Vernon resident Stempel’s detailed and well-documented overview of the great American musical, spanning 150 tuneful years from operettas and minstrel shows to Rodgers & Hammerstein, Sondheim, and “Rent.”

Sometimes the Spoon Runs Away With Another Spoon
Jacinta Bunnell, pictures by Nathaniel Kusinitz
PM Press Reach & Teach, 2010, $10
Tea, trains, and tiaras for everyone! Children, says Rosendaler Bunnell, have an “all out cross-dressing, binary-smashing disregard for gender norms.” The author of the Girls Are Not Chicks Coloring Book shares her exuberant, over-the-rainbow aesthetic with other Crayola revisionists, urging adults as well as children to color outside the lines.

The Night Before Christmas
Clement C. Moore, paintings by Eric Puybaret,
CD by Peter, Paul, and Mary
Imagine Publishing, 2010, $19.95
Peter Yarrow’s picture book imprint continues its inspired combination of classic songs (“Puff, the Magic Dragon,” “Over the Rainbow”) and verse with Puybaret’s lyrical, jewel-toned paintings, plus CDs by musicians with parent appeal. Moore’s well-roasted holiday chestnut is served with what was, sadly, Mary Travers’s final recording.

Totally Tubular ‘80s Toys
Mark Bellomo
Krause Publications, 2010, $30
Dude! Somebody on your gift list craves this ultimate guide to Cabbage Patch dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, She-Ra: Princess of Power, Atari, and Mr. T action figures. SUNY New Paltz grad and collector’s collector Bellomo packs a gnarly decade of pop culture into a book that hot-tub time travels from Rubik’s Cube to Baywatch.

Tuxedo Park: Lives, Legacies, Legends
Chiu Yin Hempel, foreword by Francis Morrone
TFPD Publishing, 2010, $80
Even by Gilded Age standards, Tuxedo Park glittered. Brainchild of tobacco baron Pierre Lorilard IV and architect Bruce Price, this fabled Rockland County enclave lured residents with names like Vanderbilt, Astor, and Price’s celebrity daughter, Emily Post. Sales from this lavishly illustrated volume support the Tuxedo Park Library and Fire Department. The book is available through the Tuxedo Park Library’s website here:

Universe at Your Door
The Slabsides Poets
Post Traumatic Press, 2010, $8.95
For two years, local poets Frank Boyer, Dave Holden, Bobbi Katz, Alison Koffler, Will Nixon, Richard Parisio, Kathryn Paulsen, Jo Pitkin, Gretchen Primack, Bertha Rogers, Annajon Russ, Victoria Sullivan, and Dayl Wise met at John Burroughs’s fabled “rustic house” to read and write together in every season. The resulting book hums with life.

When Do They Serve the Wine?
The Folly, Flexibility, and Fun of Being a Woman
Liza Donnelly, introduction by Roz Chast
Chronicle Books, 2010, $19.95
Like the inverted yoga wannabe in the cover cartoon, women are often flummoxed by what to do next. Rhinebecker and longtime New Yorker cartoonist Donnelly limns the female experience in fluid, funny lines, moving through the decades from pink/blue nursery segregation to Rebellious Body Parts and (gasp!) self-acceptance.

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