The Holiday Book Bag, December 2005

We have forty seasonal titles in our virtual book bag. This is our collection of books worthy of your holiday library. Whether you are sharing a picture book with a young pre-reader or have an independent reader looking for something a little more “grown up,” there’s something for everyone on our list.

Arctic Airlift by Richard Ross. When Robert, listening on his radio in the Midwest, learns from an Airship Captain that the Polar Ice Pack has cracked in several places, he knew that could spell trouble for Santa, and Christmas. Can Robert get help to Santa from where he sits in Middle. This is a Santa story. [ ages 7 to 10]

Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera. Sophie is very curious about the “business trip” that Auntie Claus takes. How can a business trip last three months? She decides to stow away in Auntie’s luggage and find out for herself. This is a holiday story with a simple lesson for the season: believing isn’t always about seeing! This is a Santa story. [ages 4 to 8]

The Blacksmith’s Gift by Dan T. Davis. Mr. Kloss,a carpenter, loves children. For years, he crafted beautiful wooden toys in hopes of having a child to play with them, often at the expense of earning money for his work. When the blacksmith asks him to build a dollhouse for his daughter in time for Christmas, Mr. Kloss discovers his destiny as a carpenter and father. This is a Christmas story, blending religion and secular traditions. [ages 8 to 12]

Ernest’s Special Christmasby Laura T Barnes. The barnyard animals are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. When Ernest realizes his friend Chester is missing, he goes out into the snowy night to find him. In the true spirit of Christmas, it is the love of all the animals that bring Chester home. This is an animal story, with no specific mention of Christmas beyond the date. [ages 4 to 8]

How the Pirates Saved Christmas by Jim Kaserman and Sara Jane Kaserman. It’s December 1778, and Samuel Reed has joined the crew of The American Dream, a pirate ship enlisted by the Patriots to help garner supplies and thward the British. When they come upon an abandoned ship with toys, the crew must decide whether to continue on for their safety, or offload the ship and distribute its cargo. This is a middle reader chapter book with the backdrop of the Revolutionary War. This is a secular story. [ages 6 to 14]

Little Whistle’s Christmas by Cynthia Rylant. It’s Christmas in Toytown, and the toys realize they don’t know who made them. They write a note to Santa, asking if he made them. On Christmas Eve night, a special package arrives in the store, and they have their answer. This is a Santa story. [ages 4 to 8]

Runaway Dreidel! by Leslea Newman. On the first night of Chanukah, a young boy receives a new dreidel. It spins on endlessly, engaging family, friends, and neighbors in an adventure to capture it. This is a Chanukah book. [ages 4 to 8]

Sandra Claus by Douglass Clark Hollmann. On Christmas Eve night, Santa opens his door to find a baby girl in a basket. He and Mrs. Claus name her Sandra. One year, when she was traveling with Santa, Sandra discovered that baby animals, like little children, want something for Christmas, too. This is a Christmas book that goes beyond traditional stories and incorporates themes of adoption, faith, friendship, and a love of animals. [ ages 6 and up]

The Tailor’s Gift: A Holiday Tale for Everyone by David M. Stern. When her lambs couldn’t sleep, Momma sheep tells them a story about Shimmel Cloth, the tailor on the mountain. Shimmel has a very amiable relationship with the villagers, who bought the clothes he made. One night, the North Wind blew chimney ashes onto homes. As Shimmel and his sheep watched the destruction, they knew they needed to find a way to help the town. This is a holiday picture book about giving, perseverance, and the silver lining in every cloud. The book only speaks of winter, not any faith. [ages 4 and up]

Tinker’s Christmas by Sandra Cropsey. Tinker wants desperately to be one of Santa’s chosen elves, yet his clumsiness always seems to get in the way. Tinker perseveres and thaks to his extra work and the faith shown him by the Clauses and Father Chris, Tinker found his special place. This is a Santa story that embraces the true meaning of Christmas. [ ages 5 to 9]

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?
by Jan Brett. As legend tells it, a young boy and his ice bear stopped by a hut on Christmas Eve to get warm. Kyri and her father, were, at the same time, warding against the trolls that invade their home every year and disrupt their celebration. This is a secular tale built around a Norwegian legend. [ages 5 to 8]

A Wish for Wings that Work by Berkeley Breathed. Remember Opus and Bill The Cat? Opus, the Penguin, wants nothing more for Christmas than to be able to fly. Instead, his ability to fly through water helps save Santa and Christmas. This is a Santa story. [ages 4 to 8]

HAPPY HOLIDAYS and we’ll chat again in the new year!