Christmas Book Advent 2016 | 24 Awesome Christmas Books

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Being book lovers, it is only fitting that we do a book advent for Christmas. Our advent is of the more secular variety, in that we start on December 1st and go to Christmas Eve. We've had some questions about how we do our advent, so without further ado here are the details.

. . .

We store our Christmas books with our Christmas decorations and only get them out during this time of year. Each year we wrap up our old favorites, and several new additions (which we are on the look out for all year long). We also love the idea of using library books to change up our offerings, but have not as yet implemented this practice because of our tendency to return books late.

Being somewhat frugal gals, we are fans of basic brown paper which we pick up at the dollar store; we then adorn our brown paper packages with festive yarn in lieu of string, although string would be quite lovely as well. The final step is finding a way to number your book packages, if you so choose. This year we did craft tags with number stickers purchased at our local craft store. I also saw some great sticker numbers in the Target dollar bins and have printed off number tags before as well, breaking out a marker and drawing on your packages is another method we've employed in past years. You can be as fancy or basic as you want.

The real fun is seeing our kids enjoy the books we've been reading to them for years, hearing their exclamations when we unwrap an old favorite and watching their eyes light up with the discovery of new additions.

Now for the really good stuff, these are the 24 favorites we're including in our advent this year:

1. The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis
This is a brilliant Christmas story by an uber talented author/illustrator team. The story of a pair of twins, one very nice and one very naughty, who are a little nervous about what will be waiting for them on Christmas morning. But Santa makes a mistake and it's up to one of the twins to set things right. Gifts are given, hearts are changed, and Christmas morning is just as it should be.

2. Plum Pudding for Christmas by Virginia Kahl
This childhood favorite is, sadly, no longer in print but an essential part of my Christmas collection. Virginia Kahl has written several books based around the Duchess and her many daughters but this is my favorite, and Christmas just doesn't seem like Christmas until I've read it. The Duke is away and the Duchess and her daughters invite the King over for Christmas dinner to cheer themselves up. The King accepts but only on the condition that plum pudding is served, filled with "plums that are bumpy, plums in a clump, so that each bumpy lump is a plum that is plump." This is an especially good story to read aloud.

3. Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Another classic, Mr Willowby's Christmas tree provides holiday cheer for everyone from the upstairs maid to the forest fox to the house mouse. First published in 1963, this story has been a favorite for generations and it's one that I love reading with my children. The illustrations are fun and cheerful, earlier versions are done in ink with green washes but more recent versions are updated in color. Both are wonderful.

4. The Christmas Grump by Joseph Low
Written in 1977, this is a classic and simple Christmas tale about a mouse who feels left out of the Christmas celebrations and tries to spoil the festivities. But when Santa remembers Sam, his little act of kindness goes a long way and the Christmas Grump is transformed.

5. Christmas Eve at the Mellops by Tomi Ungerer
In true Ungerer form, this Christmas book is charming and just slightly offbeat. This is part of a larger series of stories about the Mellops, a loving pig family with four sons. On this adventure, the Mellops end up with too many Christmas trees and go around trying to find places to spread Christmas cheer, ultimately finding the homes that need it the very most.

6. Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
Auntie Claus is a woman who loves Christmas and consequently finds a way to spread holiday cheer each and every day of the year. She lives in apartment 25C, serves Christmas cookies every day, and takes a mysterious business trip right around the holidays each year. The story is told from the perspective of her spoiled great niece, Sophie Kringle, who has much to learn about the true meaning of Christmas. A fun addition to anyone's collection.

7. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston
It's hard not to love anything illustrated by Barbara Cooney and she captures this heart warming story as brilliantly as you would expect. This is a sweet story of a young girl and her mother who must provide their Appalachian town with the perfect Christmas tree while they await their father's return from the war. The story is really centered around family and gratitude and is a great way to remind my children about the most meaningful traditions and parts of Christmas.

8. The Sweet Smell of Christmas by Patricia Scarry
This book is another childhood favorite, the story of a little bear who knows that Christmas is getting closer because he can smell it all around him. From the pine tree to the Christmas orange, the scratch and sniff illustration are an engaging way to further lure young readers into the story.

9. The 12 Days of Christmas by Britta Teckentrup
There are so many beautifully illustrated versions of this song that it's hard to single out just one. I've been a fan of Teckentrup's fun mixed media illustrations since stumbling across her 2014 book, The Odd One Out. She's written and illustrated more than 70 children's books and her latest, The 12 Days of Christmas, is a wonderful, interactive reading of the traditional song. Bright, cheerful, colorful with more to see on every page.

10. The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus
This is one that we've added to our collection this year. It's a fun and humorous spin on childhood questions about the reality of Santa. While Santa is questioning whether Harold is a ruse made up to help him enjoy the holidays more, Harold is asking the same questions about the man himself. A clever twist on a classic question brought to life by Cale Atkinson's illustrations.

11. The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett
Bradley is a beastly, spoiled young man whose parents give him everything he wants, but Santa will give him nothing but socks. Bradley spends a year developing the perfect trap to catch Santa so he can take more than he clearly deserves and the boy reaps the fruit of his labors. This is a little unusual as far as Christmas tales go and that's probably why I like it.

12. The Mitten by Jan Brett
There are too many great versions of this story to really narrow it down but no list of Christmas picture books seems complete without at least one by the incredibly talented Jan Brett. Full of color and fantastic detail, this is a wonderful version of the classic story.

13. The Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Snitcher by Robert Kraus
This story has been around for ages, but is new to us, and only somewhat recently back in print. All the children in this book are excited for a special day to bake and decorate Christmas cookies, but the sprinkle snatcher has struck and left the entire town without sprinkles. The story is fun, and my children tend to love any story that revolves around sweets, but I think it's the illustrations that really captivated them. They are silly and colorful and full of fun details.

14. Walk this World at Christmas Time by Big Picture Press
This isn't quite a Christmas picture book, it's more of a journey through the world during Christmastime. With lots of flaps for children to look through, this gorgeously illustrated book is a wonderful way to start a conversation with your children about how the holidays are celebrated around the globe.

15. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg
If you're a fan of the original Jolly Postman, you will not be able to resist The Jolly Christmas Postman. We all know that mail gets more exciting during the holidays and the items our fairy tale friends receive are no exception. Serious fun and delightful for all.

16. The Christmas Quiet Book by Renata Liwska
Soft and magical, this book relishes in the quiet moments of Christmas like "searching for presents quiet," or "hoping for a snow day quiet." Renata Liwska has a way with her illustrations; they envelope the reader like a gentle warm hug.

17. The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers
There are so many wonderful versions of The Nutcracker, but Caldecott Honoree, Susan Jeffers' version is one of our favorites. The illustrations are sublime, with magnificent detail for children to pore over. The text is just long enough to be a wonderful retelling without losing the attention of the intended audience. This has been one of my daughter's favorites since she was little.

18. The Christmas Alphabet  & The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda
Paper Engineer, Robert Sabuda's, work is truly breathtaking. The artistry involved with his pop up books is so dazzling that we had to include two of them.

The Christmas Alphabet features doors with each letter of the alphabet that you open to reveal the surprises hidden behind them. Some of our favorites are a candle that moves, a gift box you can open, and birds that seemingly flutter off the pages.

The Christmas Story is new this year and tells the story of the birth of Jesus. The pop up scenes are magnificent, and done in all white with touches of gold foil. Such a beautiful and visually stunning way to teach children about the true meaning of Christmas.

19. Babar and Father Christmas by Jean de Brunhoff
This is another quirky Christmas read, originally published in 1940. When Babar's children discover that there is someone called Father Christmas in Man Country, who brings toys to the children there, they want Babar to bring him to Elephant Country. Babar writes to Father Christmas but does not receive a reply, so he sets off to find him in person.

20. The Birds of Bethlehem by Tomie dePaola
This book tells the Nativity story from the perspective of birds, specifically what they see on the day of Jesus' birth. We love the motion and the sense of travel imparted by this telling; dePaola's illustrations are lovely and warm, such a fitting back drop to showcase the origins of Christmas.

21. The Story of Holly & Ivy by Rummer Godden
Holly is a Christmas doll longing to be purchased on Christmas Eve, Ivy is an orphan longing for a family, or at the very least a doll to fill the empty void in her heart. This is a story of wishes and the power of wishes during the Christmas season. Our version is illustrated by Barbara Cooney, whom we adore. This is a wonderful read aloud as it is more text heavy than a typical picture book, but don't let that intimidate you as it is definitely worth your time.

22. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
There is an abundance of this Christmas classic out there but our favorites feature vintage illustrations. We are partial to Roger Duvoisin and Leondard Weisgard's. This Holly Hobbie version is also on our list of favs.  For all you Texans out there, this version is a must! We told you it was hard to narrow this down.

23. Santa Calls by William Joyce
William Joyce can always be counted on to include an adventure within the pages of his books, this one is no exception. Siblings Art & Esther, along with their friend Spaulding go North at the behest of the big man himself. Their encounters in Toyland feature some unexpected characters and ultimately create a stronger bond between the siblings.

24. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Christmas ABC by Caroline Wells
This is a wonderfully done Christmas themed alphabet book. The illustrations feature turn of the century lithographs from Austria's Wiener Werkstatte collections at The Met. The text is done in rhyme and is one of those ABC books that are a delight for both parent and child.


Post a Comment


© Tee & Penguin All rights reserved . Design by Blog Milk Powered by Blogger