Christmas time is a wonderful time to give others something that shows your love for them as illustrated throughout our Savior’s life. Books are such a perfect gift that demonstrates all you wish to show to your loved ones. And books can be read over and over so the gift keeps giving! I’ve assembled a compilation of books about Christmas, book sets, classics and pop-up books.
The first three are picture books good for ages 3 to 6. C is for Christmas, by Tonya Skousen Arenaz with an assembly of gorgeous paintings by different illustrators, is a beautiful rhyming book that takes a youngster through the alphabet one letter at a time. Each letter represents an event or symbol that represents Christmas (many of which include the First Christmas).
The Birds of Bethlehem, by Tomie dePaola, uses birds as they look upon this greatest event in history. These colorful birds reflect upon the glorious event that took place the day and night before. And so the birth of Christ is told from their viewpoint. DePaola uses his tremendous trademark of bright vivid colors that completely fill every page.
The Missing Christmas Treasure, by Gale Sears, and illustrated by Meredith Johnson, is a rhyming tale that takes place while young siblings are decorating their house for Christmas. But the older brother is frustrated as he searches for the most special decoration of all. When he finally locates his treasure, a stable, the search ends with the true meaning of Christmas. The paintings of these children and their expansive expressions are adorable!
Mary The Mother of Jesus, by Camille Fronk Olson, is a smallish size book that looks into the life of this amazing woman. Mary’s life in this eloquently written book includes the prophecies written about her, the childhood and marriage customs of Jewish girls during that time-period, the birth of Christ and mothering Jesus as a child. The beautiful pictures, illustrated also by different painters, are sprinkled throughout.
The Life of Our Lord, by Charles Dickens, written for his children during the years 1846 to 1849 and stunningly illustrated by Simon Dewey, is a book that was never published during Dickens’ lifetime. But he specifically wrote it for his children because of his desire that “…you should know something about the history of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know Him. No one ever lived who was so good, so kind, so gentle.” This is a beautifully limited edition with the gorgeous paintings sprinkled throughout.
The 13th Day of Christmas, by Jason F. Wright, is a novel that’s packed with life-lessons. This page-turner takes you through a family as they struggle with the trials of life. But when they interact with an aging widow, the message comes through strong and clear. All families should read this tremendous book out-loud!
If you’re looking for a book with several stories inside, here are some books that would be perfect. Clifford Collection: The Original 6 Stories, by Norman Bridwell, includes “Clifford the Big Red Dog” and “Clifford’s Good Deeds”. Treasury for all Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year, selected by Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, with brilliant paintings by Margorie Priceman, takes you through the year beginning with Winter with a short prequel of what makes a year. Disney’s Winnie the Pooh Storybook Collection contains fifteen stories that include all the familiar characters kids love. All three collections are good for ages 3 to 7.
Here are some great boxed-sets. Baby Animals: Zoo on the Move, published by Kingfisher, compiles ten smallish books that include “Pets”, “In the Snow” and “In the Sea” and is good for ages 2 to 5. The next two sets are good for ages 3 to 7. The Folk Tale Classics Keepsake Collection contains four picture books: “The Three Bears”, “Three Little Kittens”, “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse” and “The Little Red Hen”. The Folk Tale Classics Heirloom Library contains “The Three Little Pigs”, “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”, “Little Red Riding Hood” and “The Gingerbread Boy”. The next two sets are good for ages 9 and up. Both sets are beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Honor winner Paul Galdone. A Newbery Honor Collection features four of my favorite winners: “The Black Pearl”, “On My Honor”, “Catherine, Called Birdy” and “The Wednesday Wars”. The Guardians, by William Joyce, contains books 1 through 3 and involves three courageous guardians who are going to rid the evil nightmare king as he attempts to spread bad dreams everywhere.
Watership Down, by Richard Adams, has recently been reissued with gorgeous new illustrations sprinkled throughout by Aldo Galli. This book showcases a band of amazing rabbits that demonstrate courage and survival. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, and with new wonderful illustrations by N. C. Wyeth, is a must for all families to read out-loud! Both books are part of the outstanding Scribner Illustrated Classic series.
Disney has two extraordinary oversized books that fans of this genre will love! A Disney Sketchbook is full of pencil sketches of many of the most famous Disney characters. I’d be willing to bet that even the least artistic will be motivated to attempt drawing some of these amazingly simple sketches. Poster Art of the Disney Parks, by Danny Handke and Vanessa Hunt, will take you through the history of these famous parks by showcasing posters of rides from the beginning of the parks up to now. Many of these posters are full page and all are in brilliant colors. Both books are good for all ages.
The Land of Neverbelieve, by Norman Messenger, is a picture book full of creativity and imagination. I fell in love with Mr. Messenger’s “Imagine” and “Annabel’s House”. And this book doesn’t disappoint either! Come along with him as he explores a most unusual island and open flaps to discover even more unbelievable animals and plants – one you’ve never imagined possible!
The last book I’m reviewing is one of the most amazing, spectacular pop-up books ever published! Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure, by my favorite paper engineer, Matthew Reinhart, is full of his trade-mark explosions of pop-up pages. Each page has one full-page pop-up of a Star Wars character. But there are also several smaller pop-ups (some on top of each other) that feature more galaxy creatures. The last page is beyond extraordinary! Open that page in a darkened room! This book is perfect for all ages!