Critical Mass has this post on best books of the year, including this article on suggested gift books. The last book on that list: "Finally a stocking stuffer from the incomparable paper engineer Robert Sabuda, "Christmas" (Scholastic, $12.99), with delightful pop-up figurines for each letter of the title, the last one featuring a resplendent Santa opening a card, accordion-like, with the words "Merry Christmas." "
Robert Sabuda is one author/illustrator whose name pops up (aargh!) on most gift lists for children's books. Take a look at his web site to get a feel for his wonderful work. His books would be perfect for a child old enough to treat the book gently, but not too old to think it childish.