The Christmas season is filled with family, traditions, giving and love. These books are mostly picture books with a Christmas theme that little ones will enjoy as they anticipate Christmas. The books are best for ages three through eight unless otherwise indicated.
An Advent Carols Countdown: Stories Behind the Most Beloved Music of Christmas, by Michael D. Young, is a smallish size book with a unique theme of leading up to Christmas with a carol for each day. Not only is a daily carol listed, but each day has a short history behind the song as well as a QR code to watch and hear a performance of the carol. Most of the carols are familiar but there are some that are not. Every one of these carols are enlightening, uplifting and rich in information. What a delightful way to celebrate the season for all ages in the family each December and perhaps begin a family tradition.
Sesame Street: Advent Calendar Storybook Collection, is an over-sized book that includes twenty-four small books to be read for each day leading to up Christmas. Each little book has one or more of the Sesame Street characters which has up to sixteen pages of colorful illustrations. What a perfect way to indulge in reading through the month with this blissful book helping count the way down to Christmas.
The Twelve Cats of Christmas, by Feather Flores and vividly rich in color using mixed media by Carrie Liao, has cats in abundance! There are cats reveling in havoc and antics that will surely bring giggles galore. The text reads like the traditional Christmas song of The Twelve Days of Christmas but with cats as the subject. On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a kitten under the tree. Here is a book meant to sing and chuckle. Be sure to check out the back pages giving some background to each kitten.
Crinkle Bells, by Jay Fleck, is a fun little board book that toddlers will enjoy. The rhyming text begs to sing along instead of reading as it’s written in the rhythm of the traditional Jingle Bells carol. Crinkle bells, crinkle bells,/ When the morning’s here,/ Everyone will celebrate/ With crinkly Christmas cheer! Each of the two bells featured has crinkle gold material making it fun to touch and explore.
Santa Mouse Bakes Christmas Cookies, by Michael Brown and illustrated with adorable Christmas scenes by Robert McPhillips, is a board book with a cute little mouse who is about to bake some special cookies for Santa and the reindeer. This small book would be a perfect stocking stuffer for toddlers.
The Magic of a Small Town Christmas, by Megan Alexander and brightly painted with watercolor and ink by Hiroe Nakata, celebrates Christmas and the traditions that come with the season. There is a loving community feeling in this wintery town as you read about all of the activities and baking that is taking place. Bright lights adorn the houses. Festive wreaths hang on the doors. And over at the skating pond..they’re passing out s’mores. The rhyming text and the full open-page illustrations are a delight making it a perfect read aloud.
Moo, Baa, Fa La La La La!, by Sandra Boynton, is a fun little board book perfect for the youngest kiddies, babies and toddlers. The artwork is Boyton’s typical illustrations with bright colors and her hilariously darling farm animals. The text goes right along with the traditional carol: Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly. Deck the halls with cows and holly while the little sheep sing baa baa, baa. As you read this light-hearted book, chances are you will be compelled to sing it all of the way through. The silliness of these farm animals and their typical barnyard sounds will become a favorite for youngsters.
Tomie dePaola’s Book of Christmas Carols is wonderful collection of thirty-two traditional Christmas songs with dePaola’s gorgeous trade-mark illustrations. These vibrant pictures fill the complete page most often on the opposite page from the written sheet music. On six of these carols, there is a foldout that opens to a full showcase of dePoala’s art. Some of these well-known carols include Away in a Manger, The First Noel and I Saw Three Ships.
How Winston Came Home for Christmas, by Alex T. Smith, is an exciting adventure with Winston, an adorable little mouse, as he travels all around the world to solve a mystery just before Christmas. This is the perfect large, illustrated book broken into twenty-four and a half sections meant to be read each day of December prior to Christmas day. It’s the perfect advent book helping children, ages eight through ten, to read on their own. But it would be even better for all members of the family to sit down and read it together each night as a countdown to Christmas. Little Winston is so fun to read about; he’ll become part of your family, and the colorful pictures sprinkled throughout are a joy. There are activities after each chapter to make, crate or bake and a ribbon connects to mark your place. Be sure to check out the first book about Winston: How Winston Delivered Christmas.