Tag Archives: Christmas

2016 Christmas Picture Books

17 Dec

I spent a magical morning reading more than a dozen new Christmas picture books. Three were religious in nature the rest secular, and one was a Christmas/Hanukkah combo story.  All were published this year.

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Although this is not a comprehensive list of the new Christmas titles, these are the ones I was able to get from my local library. In this collection, I found a few new favorites. They are listed alphabetically by the author’s last name.

*****

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A Night of Great Joy

written and illustrated by Mary Englebreit

Zonderkidz, 2016

Sweet rendition of the biblical Christmas story. The children set the stage and put on the play of the first Christmas. Cute pictures showing how young children might put on a simple production of the Christmas story.

*****

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The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold

written by Mareen Fergus and illustrated by Cale Atkinson

Tundra Books, 2016

Love this new twist on the old ‘I don’t believe in Santa anymore’ syndrome. This time it’s Santa who doesn’t believe… in Harold. He’s discovered that it’s Harold’s mom who writes the letters and Harold’s dad who puts out the milk and cookies. And at Harold’s house, Harold has a few doubts of his own. On Christmas Eve, they both decide to wait up and see if the other is really real. Funny. Sweet. And definitely believable!

*****

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Santa’s Underwear

written by Marty Rhodes Figley and illustrated by Marty Kelley

Sleeping Bear Press, 2016

Is there anything funnier than underwear? Santa can’t find his special Christmas long johns. He can’t get dressed until he does. Kids will love watching Santa try on all his other pair of underwear. But none of them will do. Finally, Santa finds a special gift from the reindeer… a new pair of long johns as bright as Rudloph’s nose!

*****

28686978The Christmas Fox

written and illustrated by Anik McGary

Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016

Lovely story and artwork. All the other animals invite Little Fox to go meet the new baby but Little Fox is too busy playing in the snow. The other animals have gifts to bring the baby and Little Fox doesn’t believe he has a gift. But when he decides to go he brings the his joy and the baby smiles!

*****

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The Biggest Smallest Christmas Present

written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2016

Tiny story that packs a big punch! Clementine is small, very small. She doesn’t think Santa knows how tiny she is because he brings her gifts that are too big. So she sets about to let him know her actual size. Then one year he brings her the biggest gift of all… a giant dollhouse… just perfect for Clementine!

*****

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Maple & Willow’s Christmas Tree

written and illustrated by Lori Nichols

Nancy Paulsen Books, 2016

Sisters Maple and Willow spend the day choosing just the right Christmas tree. It’s the best tree in the world, but Maple is allergic. The tree ends up outside and both girls are disappointed. Then in the middle of the night, Willow gets a great idea. She gets up and decorates a most unusual ‘tree’ in their living room.

*****

1762447The Christmas Boot

written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Michael Glean Monroe

Mitten Press, 2016

Beautiful book! Artwork and story work together to tell a wonderful tale of Christmas magic. A lonely old woman finds a single boot in the snow. The one boot becomes two and soon she has everything she needs and more, until the owner of the boot returns. He takes his boot but gives her exactly what she needs.

*****

Run out to your bookstore or library and find a few new favorites of your own.

Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Newest Christmas Picture Books of the Year

17 Dec

The library and bookstore shelves have been looking very festive for quite a while now.   Many are filled with classics we still adore… A Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Polar Express, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and T’was the Night Before Christmas, to name a few. But right up front you’ll find the pick of the season… the brand-new releases. Browse the titles. Drink in the artwork. Taste the flavor of the text. I bet you’ll go home with one or two new favorites this year.

Happy Reading!

Below are six new picture books I summarized for you, along with a few fun activities you can do with your little readers for each story. Be sure you click on the title of each one for the link to that page.

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The Christmas Quiet Book 

by Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska

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Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein

by Amanda Peet, Andrea Troyer, and Christine Davenier

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How to Catch Santa 

by Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish

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The Knights Before Christmas

by Joan Holub and Scott Magoon

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Over the River & Through the Wood

by Linda Ashman and Kim Smith

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Waiting for Santa

by Steve Metzger and Alison Edgon

20691400When Santa Was a Baby

by Linda Bailey and Genevieve Godbout

Batteries Not Included

8 Dec

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What might be in this small package, you say? The answer: 2 packages of AAA batteries and 1 package of 9V batteries. They should have been included in the gift I dropped off at the church last Sunday, but I forgot them. Now, I have to rummage through the pile of gifts to find the box of battling boxing robots for a dear little 7 year old boy who asked Santa for a robot for Christmas. And who wants two robots with remote controls and no batteries? No one, that’s who! I should have opened the box and put them in the controllers before they were wrapped. Ah, well, I’m pretty sure a 7 year old can handle that part himself. And when he gets tired of playing with his robots, he’s also got a Star Wars Mad Libs and a Jedi Academy interactive journal to keep him happily occupied.

Merry Christmas, Little Buddy! (sorry about the batteries)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

23 Dec

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer written by Robert L. May and illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo (2014)

Take another look at Rudolph. His story remains the same, written in 1939 by Robert L. May. Each generation has its own favorite edition. This is the newest, and one of the most beautiful I’ve seen. Illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo, this book immediately draws in the reader with its paintings. The richness of the scenery and the child-like qualities of the characters play opposite each other to create a beautiful and yet whimsical place in time.

As the story goes, Rudolph is excluded from the rest of the herd because of his shiny red nose. But he was always good and kind, and went to bed on Christmas Eve hopeful that Santa would visit and leave him candy and toys.

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While up at the North Pole, Santa is worried about the foggy night ahead. 81GNNuz3-7L

The illustration of Santa leaving the North Pole, flying over the polar bears, seals, and norwhal, is gorgeous.

81h4PSs5i0LThe fog is so bad, Santa barely missed a speeding plane. And when he lands, he can hardly see the street signs and house numbers. Santa finally makes his way to Rudolph’s house and climbs down his chimney.

santa-2And, as they say the rest is history! Santa sees the glow from Rudolph’s red nose and asks Rudolph to guide his sleigh. All the presents got delivered in time and the next morning, Rudolph returns home, the envy of all the other reindeer. He proudly lands Santa sleigh in the field and everyone watches on as Santa appoints Rudolph Commander-in-chief. From that year on, whenever the weather is bad, it’s Rudolph Santa calls to guide his sleigh.

A Cookie for Santa

20 Dec

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A Cookie for Santa written by Stephanie Shaw and illustrated by Bruno Robert (2014)

A gingerbread cookie worried all evening about his fate as Santa’s midnight snack. While he worried about whether or not he would be brave when the time came, two puppies entered the room romping and destroying the decorations. The Gingerbread cookie knew he had to do something, so he made himself a puppy distraction. The puppies stopped what they were doing to watch the gingerbread cookie. Just then, they heard the sound of jingle bells and the puppies hid under the table. Santa saw the huge mess and asked the gingerbread cookie for help cleaning it up. When they were finished, the gingerbread cookie made one last wish. Santa looked down at him and instead of eating him, Santa asked him to be a special helper at the North Pole. For the puppies, Santa left a gift certificate for obedience school.

Stephanie Shaw’s story is written in rhyme. Little ones will enjoy the rhythm and the  story of the brave gingerbread cookie who helped Santa on Christmas Eve.

Bruno Robert’s illustrations are clean and fresh. The faces of the puppies are adorable, and the gingerbread cookie is so childlike I’m sure kids will identify with him right away.

I like this new twist to the ordinary gingerbread cookie. And I like that the gingerbread cookie earns a reward from Santa for his help. It makes a good read aloud and easy reader for young children.

Santa Claus and the Three Bears

17 Dec

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Santa Claus and the Three Bears written by Maria Modugno and illustrated by Jane and Brooke Dyer (2013)

The three Polar Bears were getting their home ready for Christmas. They decorated the tree, hung the stockings, and cooked a huge Christmas pudding. But when they sat down to eat, they found the pudding was too hot, so the three bears decided to go for a walk while it cooled down. While they were gone, Santa had just landed on the roof the the three bears’ house. Santa saw the beautiful decorations and smelled the wonderful pudding on the table. Thinking the pudding had been left for him, he began to eat… Papa Bear’s pudding was too hot, Mama Bear’s pudding was too cold, but Baby Bear’s pudding was just right, so he ate it all up. Then Santa proceeded to sit in the bears’ chairs… one too hard, one too soft, one just right. But like the story goes, Santa bounced a little too much in Baby Bear’s chair and it broke, landing Santa on the floor. So of course, Santa moves into the Bears’ bedroom and tries out all the beds… too high, too low, just right. And Santa falls asleep in Baby Bear’s bed. When the bears returned home, they grumbled and growled, ‘Somebody has been eating my pudding!’ ‘Somebody has been sitting in my chair!’ and finally ‘Somebody has been sleeping in my bed!’.  All the commotion woke Santa up. He made the bears promise that they wouldn’t tell anyone they had seen him and gave them each a bright red present to open in the morning, and he jumped in his sleigh and took off.

Maria Modugno did a nice job of retelling a favorite fairy tale with a little Christmas twist. And the illustrations are splendid. Jane and Brooke Dyer gave just enough detail in their artwork to resemble the traditional three bears story with a fun little twist at the end, when Papa Bear gets the little wee present, Mama Bear gets the medium sized present, and Baby Bear gets the great big present.

This was a fun story to read. And, whether or not children are familiar with the traditional tale, this is one I’m sure they will enjoy reading and hearing over and over.

Here Comes Santa Cat

1 Dec

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Here Comes Santa Cat written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueba (2014)

Cat dresses up as Santa Claus so that he can give himself a present. As his pie chart indicates, Cat has been very, very naughty. As a matter of fact, it shows that he was only about 4% nice. He still needs to practice coming down the chimney and how to use a jet pack to fly without getting hurt. But worse yet, he finds out that Santa gives presents to other people, not himself. So Cat does what he can to redeem himself at the last possible moment, Christmas Eve. Christmas caroling doesn’t go so well, neither does gift giving (it seems children don’t especially like fish for presents), and decorating the tree in the town square is disastrous. Poor Cat, things aren’t looking too good for him. Then he receives two cans of tuna tied up with pretty green bows. Just then, a crying kitten shows up. Reluctantly, Cat gives the kitten one of his cans of tuna. And because Cat did something nice, Santa brings him an official Santa’s Helper suit. Donning his new outfit, Cat finds a gift to give Santa and ends up riding in the back of Santa’s sleigh.

Deborah Underwood uses her own unique way of asking questions and talking directly to the main character to tell Cat’s story.

Claudia Rueba tells the reader everything that Cat cannot say for himself. Cat communicates with his signs. His every thought is captured in his expressions.

I loved Easter Cat published earlier this year and couldn’t wait to get a copy of Here Comes Santa Cat … I was not disappointed! This book is just as charming as its predecessor. Cat is  an open-hearted character who, despite his flaws, is lovable and honest.  And I love the question and answer format of the storytelling. It’s fun to read and leaves opportunity for the readers to discuss as they go along.

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