Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Picture Books!

A customer shared a Christmas tradition with me the other day and I thought it was just lovely. She has 3 young children, and it seems that every year on Christmas Eve, they have a tradition of sharing a family story and then, of course, it's time for bed before Santa comes. As each child goes to bed, it seems that Santa must have made a quick stop already, for on each child's bed, he has left a wonderful Christmas book for them to look at and ponder over as they drift off to sleep. MAGIC! It makes me wish my children were small all over again.
With that in mind, I began to think about which books I'd ask Santa to leave. Here are a few suggestions:
1) The first has to be 'The Night Before Christmas'. There are so many wonderful versions of this classic Christmas tale from which to choose, whether you lean more towards the traditional and delight in the Walker Books edition illustrated beautifully in black and white by Matt Tavares, or prefer the new edition out this year illustrated by Eric Puybaret, you can't go wrong.
2) 'Maisy's Christmas Eve' by Lucy Cousins is bound to be a hit with even the smallest of children.
3) Not strictly a Christmas book, by any means, but a wonderful winter's tale,  'One Snowy Night' by Nick Butterfield was the first of the Percy the Park Keeper stories, and is still the best. A severe winter storm brings all the animals to Percy's door seeking shelter.
4) 'The Santa Trap' by Jonathan Emmett is brilliant! Bradley Bartleby is very, very bad... and rich... and spoilt. One year, he gets fed up with only receiving socks from Santa and concocts a plan that will see him receiving ALL the toys for Christmas... or will it?
5) Classic, eloquent, and an absolute must.... 'The Snowman' by Raymond Briggs. I recommend the original (the one without the text added). You'll understand how a book can say so much with no words at all. (Another can't miss book by Briggs is, of course, 'Father Christmas'.)
6) 'Christmas Time' by Alison Jay, published by Templar Publishing. Beautiful folk-art style illustrations guide us through the festive season. So beautiful.
7)'How The Grinch Stole Christmas' by Dr. Suess. What more can I say?
8) 'The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey' by Susan Wojciechowski and illustrated by P.J. Lynch  This is one for older children to read, and to be shared with the whole family. A beautiful story with magnificent illustrations!
9) 'Santasaurus' by Niamh Sharkey   I just love this book. It's such a delight!
10) Again, not a "Christmas story" at all, really, but I have to add 'The Snowy Day' by Ezra Jack Keats. This uniquely illustrated story of a small boy's adventures in the snow is one to be enjoyed over and over and over... and is one every child can relate to.
11) And another not strictly "Christmas book" that I have to add is 'The Tale of Jack Frost' by David Melling.
Melling's illustrations and quirky sense of humour shine through to make this a firm favourite.


I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Tell me, please, what picture books would you add to the list?

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