The Peanuts Collection: Treasures from the World's Most Beloved Comic Strip: For those who love the comic. And those who don't. It's this fantastic collection of memorabilia, and facsimilies you can actually take out of the book, hold, examine, then return to their holders. There is a collection of frameable prints at the back. It's such a fun book and definitely worthy of a Christmas gift. My favorite is the inclusion of the letter to Schultz about the introduction of a black character and how important and what impact he could have on the racial tension if he would. And he did. This isn't just about the history of a beloved comic, it's also about it's social and political importance that most of us didn't even realize it had.
Dragonart Evolution: How To Draw Everything Dragon: I'm totally not an artist, but I'm in awe at this book. And, I tried it, and didn't do too bad. For the burgeoning artist, or the lover of fantasy, gift this fantastic book. It's beautiful and it's practical... for your little Hiccup. Lists of features let you pick the ones that you want to add to your dragon, like which eyes, which horns, wings, etc., and allow you to customize and learn how to draw your dragon.
Otherworlds: How to Imagine, Paint and Create Epic Scenes of Fantasy by Tom Kidd: I may not read much fantasy (that's Monster's territory), but I do love to see it visualized. This book not only teaches you how to create fantastical scenes, it also gives you methods for inspiring what scenes of your own to draw. If you've got a burgeoning artist on your gift list, this is definitely a great choice for them. I'm hardly what you could call artistic, but the book is engaging, and the writing bits are interesting - they don't read like an instruction manual. You can totally imagine someone teaching you in a classroom setting, with some wit and humor on the side. It's a worthwhile read, and I'd suggest it for the burgeoning artist - especially if he/she is interested in sci fi and fantasy. Buy it at Amazon, Book Depository, or Changing Hands.
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens. Give 'em a preorder. Book comes out in April, but Monster swears it will "fill the void that the conclusion of the Harry Potter series left." Inspection and review to come, but consider a preorder receipt stuffed in a stocking. I've never heard Monster rave like that about a forthcoming title before!
A Christmas Carol: A Popup Book by Charles Dickens and Chuck Fischer. Now it's my turn to rave. I love pop up books. This one? FANTASTIC. Not only are the popups wonderfully intricate and detailed, there are booklets of the tale on each page so that you can read along as those you're reading with gaze at the awesome 3-D artwork. If you know someone who loves popups, this will make the perfect gift. Also, consider gifting to families with not-so-small children - think 4+, and get it to them unwrapped on Christmas Eve so that they can enjoy it this year.
Clinton St Baking Company Cookbook. Not only are the recipes in this sucker divine, they're not super difficult either. I'm totally not discrediting the talent that the Clinton St. Baking Co has, I'm crediting their ingenuity and awesome at making simple dishes taste divine. I've tried a couple of these, and can't wait to try a couple more and share one with you! Perfect gift for your foodie who isn't afraid of calories.
Prisoners In The Palace by Michaela MacColl: This is a YA Historical Fiction about Queen Victoria and the issues and intrigue that plagued her as Princess. Not only is it intriguing and fun, it seems to be pretty historically accurate, building the story into places history left unaccounted. I rather enjoyed this read, and know you're little history buff (or the history buff in you) will too. This book is likely to remain hidden because the title is not easily recalled and the title only appears on the spine of the dust jacket. But I assure you, it's worth the memory hunt to share it with friends.