Thursday, November 29, 2012

Picture Book Round-up: Christmas Edition

We have checked out at least 30 Christmas-themed books from the library over the past few weeks, and we have a small collection we have been gifted over the years.  These are currently our favourites:
A Small Miracle, Peter Collington
I think this book is best enjoyed if you simply open it from its start -- without looking through it or reading anything about it -- and let the story take you on a journey.  For me and Esky, it felt magical to share and talk about the detailed, well-thought illustrations together, not knowing where the story would go.  We're not the only ones that thought so, as it was dubbed "the most origial Christmas book of the year" by The Horn Book, and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award. A pragmatic Haki found it less magical.  The theme and message are beautiful, and while there is undeniably Christian content, I believe the tender tale would read sweetly in an agnostic or other home -- it is more about the spirit of Christmas and integrity than preaching, if you steer clear of the latter.
Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas, Jane O'Connor
We're Fancy Nancy fans, and we think this Christmas offering from Jane O'Connor is one of her best.  The vocabulary-building, humour, message, story and illustrations are original and splendiferous.  This one would work splendidly in secular and religious homes, alike.
The Night Before the Night Before Christmas, Richard Scarry
Oh, Richard Scarry.  Esky is crazy about this book, and asks us to read it to her often, and so it has made the list for that reason.  I'm not crazy about it, but she is.   You can tell from Santa Bear's sleigh that this is a secular one.
I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture Riddles, Walter Wick
I Spy with sumptuous Christmas paraphernelia that brings families together?  Yes please.
Can You See What I See? The Night Before Christmas, Walter Wick
See above.  This one is winging its way to us from The Book Depository as I type.  /small-giddy-claps
The Christmas Garland, Lisa Flinn
I always get a little squeamish when little trills are added to the Christmas nativity.  In fact, I'm already squirming when certain base details are delivered as they often are (don't get me started on the "three kings"). There are a number of books out there that insert a child into the stable -- with varying elaborate explanations.  I get it; putting a child in the story helps other children imagine themselves there.  But I would rather not complicate things.  The Christmas Garland was a real hit, with Esky, however, and because we have talked about how a shepherd child could have been there, and these things might have happened this way, and this book is is an exception in a group of otherwise unappealing Christmas-nativity-fable-books.
What the Little Fir Tree Wore to the Christmas Party, Satomi Ichikawa
Nice, different and celebrating nature and natural beauty, even of the small.  Secular-friendly.
Wombat Divine, Mem Fox
This little book is about a wombat who can't seem to find a role that fits in a nativity play.  It's funny and cute.
Room for a Little One, Martin Waddell
While the animals might be bogus, the simple text and stunning illustrations win me over with this one.  Oh wait, and Mary laying in the manger with the baby -- also scores big with me (I choose to imagine a large, long manger for feeding livestock, so that when the babe is described to be found "laying in manger," He is not a way off from His mother, so fresh and new.  Plus, I think Joseph would've sought comfort for his wife.  Anywhoooo....) Martin Waddell wrote Owl Babies, if you know it. 
A Star So Bright: A Christmas Tale, M Christina Butler
Again, all sorts of animals can see the star in this one (could they though? haha), nice verse, warm illustrations, and a twinkling star at the back (with lights).  I like lights.  /wide-possum-eyes.

There you have it!  Place some holds at your library.  Go on.  It is such an easy way to bring Christmas into your home without expense or fanfare. 

P.S.  We found the Madeline Christmas book a little weird, and the Kipper, Wibbly Pig and Mercer Mayer Christmas books pretty mediocre -- to name some of the big hitters.  We own the last of that bunch, ha.

Ooooooo....sweet Stella is sharing some of their favourite Christmas books over at her lovely space tonight too, you should check it out!  Because Stella's sweet. And it's a second opinion.  She's doing lots of other darling advent stuff right now too, so you might just find more there than books to swoon over.

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