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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.

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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

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.

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