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Bundles of holiday learning gifts

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By Claire Green, Parents' Choice President

Bundles with cars

Bundling a book about cars or trucks with a toy or a game extends the fun — and the learning. These products will fuel imaginations without feeling any pain at the pump.

Roy Makes a Car
Ages: 4 to 8
Author: Mary Lyons (with stories by Zora Neale Hurston)
Illustrator: Terry Widener
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Athenuem
Price: $16.95

This is a book for kids who love cars and good stories. Roy is one of those men who can fix anything and becomes bored with an auto mechanic's ordinary repair work. So, he decides to make a car safe enough for the dangerous hairpin turns in his county. Inspector Gadget's car has nothing on the car Roy goes on to build. Diverse characters and good use of vernacular (writin' like folks talk) make this a book many will love. Drego Little © Parents' Choice

Here Lies the Librarian
Ages: 9 to 11
Author: Richard Peck
Publisher: Dial
Price: $16.99

Fourteen-year-old Peewee, with her brother Jake, run a struggling garage out "in the weeds" in Indiana. The two are fearless in getting and keeping Jake's newly built racing car moving, while the female student librarians do everything possible to keep the library open and running. Author Richard Peck tells a fast-moving gem of a story filled with speed, color, flash and fun. Stock cars and characters are timelessly alive. Peck is a continuing master who here gives us one of the best books of the year. Diana Huss Green © Parents' Choice

Car Design Workshop
Ages: 9 and up
Publisher: Hearthsong Catalog Exclusive
Price: $19.95

Young car designers won't spin their wheels here. The blue design portfolio has a 10-page showroom of traceable car and truck bodies; a two-page "parts department" with tires, mirrors, steering wheels and roof racks; a custom paint shop with stickers of numbers, racing stripes, and other detailing; colored pencils, an eraser, heavy vellum paper and helpful instructions. © Parents' Choice

Top Speed
Ages: 8 and up
Publisher: Gamewright
Price: $5.99

This fast-paced game will have minds revving as players race to rid their hand of cards. Players must call on swift and precise visual discrimination and hand-eye coordination skills to keep from matching any car parts or colors in a row. Sound easy? Start your engines and see how quickly and proficiently you can race to the finish line. © Parents' Choice

Uncover a Race Car
Ages: 8 and up
Author: Paul Beck
Illustrator:Dave Dunford and Stephan Kuhn
Publisher: Advantage Publisher's Group/Silver Dolphin Books
Price: $18.95

Don't judge this book by its cover! With the turn of a page, readers will uncover, layer by layer, not only what goes into building a race car engine, but also how the engine works: internal combustion, the fuel system, horsepower and more are explained. Readers learn about the suspension, safety features and a fact that borders on the paradoxical: Race cars don't have speedometers.© Parents' Choice

Comments from readers

"Amazing treasure of information and finds!!! Thank you for taking the time to put it together. "