Top picks: Daffy Duck toon classics, Maine's culinary delights, music for Haiti, and more

Classic Daffy Duck toons out on DVD, mouthwatering 'Fresh From Maine' cook book, 'Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti' CD, and more top picks.

Go north, foodies

Maine may have only 125 growing days a year, but its best chefs manage to stay local and organic year-round, pulling ingredients from the land and sea. "Fresh From Maine" (Table Arts Media), by author Michael Sanders and photographer Russell French, sits down with 20 of the state's most creative cooks, who share their philosophies and back stories. Chock-full of portraits of the chefs and their signature dishes, plus recipes, the book opens a window on the largely hidden foodie delights of the northern state. For restaurant info and recipes, go to tableartsmedia.com.

Royal flush

Recommended: Could you pass a US citizenship test?

British royal history comes alive in "Monarchy: The Complete Series" (Athena), a five-disc DVD set debuting Aug. 3. Noted author and authority on the British crown David Starkey presents the epic history of the monarchy, which has survived brutality, betrayal, and bloodshed for more than a thousand years and is the longest-lived political institution in Europe. Put on the popcorn and watch the great characters of history, such as Anglo-Saxon King Offa, more mobster than king; Henry VIII, who courted fame like a rock star; and Victoria, who made middle-class morality the stuff of royal life.

Music to lighten the load

"Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti" (Spare the Rock), a benefit compilation of charming music from some top names such as Pete Seeger, Dan Zanes, and Recess Monkey comes out on Aug. 10. The CD benefits the Haitian People's Support Project. "Quite Early Morning," "Shadow Dance," "Here We Go, Zudio," and "Arabella Angelique" are a few of the songs that range from rock to hip-hop to folk and bluegrass. A host of concerts around the US will celebrate the release. Check sparetherock.com for dates and times.

Picture this

If you search Amazon.com for children's picture books, you will be inundated with choices, but what's good? Onepotato.net aims to do the sifting for you, tracking down little classics – new and old. Jay Bushara, the father of two who launched the site, writes a blog with a new book recommendation each week, and says what catches his eye is humor, lyric flair, and good looks, of course.

Not for the average traveler

Tablethotels.com offers more than 1,800 handpicked hotels worldwide for people bored with the big chains. The site also provides a reservation service and access to private sales once you book.

The dethpicable duck is back

Generations-old Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny return in two new Warner Bros. releases, "Looney Tunes Super Stars: Daffy Duck, Frustrated Fowl" and "Looney Tunes Super Stars: Bugs Bunny, Hare Extraordinaire." These celebrate the Looney Tunes film career of Chuck Jones, the genius behind the endearing hand animation that brought these favorites to life. This revamped edition focuses on the 15 most popular cartoons of each star, as seen in movie theaters prior to the main attraction. In stores Aug. 10.

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