Yeah! The holidays are here. Once those first few damp/cold November days have settled us into the season, I’m always ready to get the holidays started. The smells, the giggles, the magic, the traditions.
One of our family traditions – started Catherine’s first Christmas (6 weeks) – is that Daddy reads Clement C. Moore’s A Visit from St. Nick, which most of us know as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.
This weekend, after the turkeys and pumpkins are put away, we’ll pull out the library of holiday stories to enjoy for the next few weeks. For each of the last 6 years, we’ve been adding a new book (okay, maybe two three) to the Christmas library. In fact, every year, Catherine wakes up on the Sunday before Christmas to discover that her special elf leaves new pajamas, Santa’s magic key, a Christmas book (or two), and a letter or poem under the tree.
Last week, the elf was very busy trying to narrow down some of her choices. She was tempted by some of the great ideas she saw in the kidlitosphere …
- The Christmas Clock by Kat Martin, reviewed by Lesa at Lesa’s Book Critiques;
- The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson, Il. John Muth, which, after Shelly Burns’ review at Write for a Reader, seemed to pop up everywhere; and
- Floyd and the Irresistible Cookie by Kristine Daniel, – reviewed by Bianca Schulze at The Children’s Book Review.
She told me that when she went into the book workshop, there were lots of great choices. Nostalgia struck, and she selected three books because she was utterly stuck and could not decide which one to put under the tree. Here they are.
First, the aforementioned The Christmas Magic. The illustrations are just exquisite, and the book’s “tall” dimensions really help it stand apart. The last lines of the book struck me as perfect for the child who has learned Santa’s secret: “The Christmas magic is here at last. It has come at last, it always has, and always will.”
Next is Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by BagramIbatoulline. The elf not only loves Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, she is also an unabashed Kate DiCamillo fan. The illustrations are fascinating … very Norman Rockwell-ish. Quite exquisite.
Then last but not least is Susan Jeffers’ The Nutcracker. This brightly illustrated book tells Alexander Dumas’ version of the E.T.A. Huffman’s story. The scenes are depicted in a style that reminds us of the ballet, with cast members as part of the scenery. What the elf also likes is that it is written at a level that it can be read or enjoyed as a wordless book.