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Christmas will soon be here and what better way to celebrate nighttime reading than with books about this wonderful holiday? The following books are all picture books and are good for ages four through eight, unless otherwise indicated. The first two books are board books geared for ages three to six.
Teeny Tiny Santa, by Rachel Matson, and brightly illustrated by Joey Chou, is a tiny sized book about this jolly fellow. The rhyming story reflects the traditional story about the Teeny Tiny Woman. The story begins with a teeny tiny village and a teeny tiny fox dreaming about Christmas night. This tale is teeny and tiny and – also most delightful!
‘‘Twas the Night Before Christmas!, by Sandra Magsamen, is a rendition of the classic poem. Ms. Magsamen creates wonderful board books for young children. This is the latest in her tall board book series. The illustrations are adorable, and youngsters will love seeing the cute animals, such as the tiny mouse with a red and white stripped hat and scarf featured throughout.
I Spy Christmas (A Book of Picture Riddles), with photographs by Walter Wick, and riddles by Jean Marzollo, is a delight for all. The photos are reminiscent of Christmases past which includes store windows displaying an assortment of toys and old-fashioned ornaments. The items that are hidden amongst similar items are fun to locate due to the double-page photos. This is the perfect book to travel with when your family goes over the river and through the woods for Christmas.
Long Ago, on a Silent Night, by Julie Berry, and colorfully painted by Annie Won, is a beautiful story paralleling Christ’s birth with the birth of a child. The double-page illustrations are filled with color that seem to jump off the page. Christ’s birth is our gift as a mother’s gift is her child. Long ago, in a dusty barn / Another took a child in her arms / There’s no sweeter gift than a life so new. / My best gift, little one, is you. Be sure to check out the beautiful end pages.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt Christmas Activity Book, published by Candlewick, is a delightful book packed with fun activities, interesting facts, and stickers all dealing with Christmas and winter. The hundred plus stickers, found at the back of the book, include stickers that can be designed and colored. You can make a snowflake paper chain, Christmas cake for birds and an advent calendar. This book will keep all happily involved.
The Shortest Day, by Susan Cooper, and painted with gouache by Carson Ellis, celebrates the shortest day of the year which comes four days prior to Christmas. This beautiful book has the elegance of text and picture that go together. The illustrations fill the open-page book and reflect a winter’s celebration. All the long echoes sing the same delight / This shortest day / As promised wakes in the sleeping land.
If I Could Give You Christmas, by Lynn Plourde, and with gorgeous open-book illustrations by Jennifer L. Meyer, is the perfect celebration of Christmas. It doesn’t take much to show love and make memories that can last forever. Each full-page painting showcases different pairs of adoring animals enjoying each other in the Christmas season. Spiced smells of gingerbread and cocoa surround a snowy white mama otter snuggling with her small child. Sounds of chirping carolers show pairs of birds singing with music in hand, (or wing in hand). But what do you think is the best you can give during this time of year? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.
There’s an Elf in your Book, by Tom Fletcher, and vibrantly illustrated by Greg Abbott, is a hilarious story that begs to be read out loud. But warning – kids will continue to smile and laugh out loud all the way through the story. There are questions posed by the elf throughout to find out if you have been good enough to be put on the “nice list”. The funny part is when the elf tries to trick you. I’m betting you’ll pass the test.
Santa and the Goodnight Train, by June Sobel, and perfectly illustrated using acrylic paints with fabric and paper collage by Laura Huliska-Beith, tells the story of heading to the North Pole on Christmas Eve. This adorable rhyming tale has the children snuggled asleep in their compartment as the train rumbles on. This special train is decorated with festive lights and a Christmas wreath in front. And all along the way, they pass tasty gingerbread houses where candy canes line the streets. The cheerfulness of the storyline and onomatopoeia found throughout will bring much anticipation of the big night ahead.