This gave us many evenings before Christmas to savor the new story, pull out favorites from past winters, and share some quiet time anticipating the holiday excitement that was coming.
This year is a good year for new Christmas books; it was hard to choose which ones to write about. There are lots more wonderful holiday books at Dragonwings, and we would love to help you find one that is perfect for your family. Here is a sampling:
The Little Fir Tree by Margaret Wise Brown illustrated by Jim LaMarche
Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff illustrated by Felicia Bond
This sweet counting book begins as “Mouse puts one star on the Christmas tree.” Pre-schoolers will have fun finding and counting the ornaments on each page as Mouse decorates his tree with two angels, three snowflakes and lots more, because Mouse is just beginning a very, big project. Board book for ages 1-4.
Holly Claus, The Christmas Princess by Brittney Ryan illustrated by Laurel Long with Jeffrey Bedrick
This lovely, holiday fairy tale has page after page of Long’s trademark illustrations, which are romantically lush and filled with nostalgic detail. Children will pour over these scenes and marvel at the tiny wonders in the background. The cover is gorgeous and sparkles with glittering jewels, snowflakes and stars. The story of Santa’s daughter has an old-fashioned appeal. Put this book out on your mantle or coffeetable over the holidays. Ages 4 and up.
A Family Christmas selected and introduced by Caroline Kennedy Hyperion $26.95
We will be adding this Christmas treasury to our family collection this year. It is one of the finest compendiums of holiday essays, stories, poems and carols that I’ve seen. I found a hilarious letter of seasonal complaints from Groucho Marx, my favorite Christmas story by Pearl S. Buck, essays by E.B. White, David Sedaris, Mark Twain and Garrison Keillor, a letter regarding Santa’s safety written by John F. Kennedy, and a detailed description of NORAD’s North Pole tracking system. There are 325 pages of unexpected delights to read out loud or peruse alone sipping from a mug of hot cider. Guaranteed to kindle your Christmas spirits. All ages.
Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck illustrated by Mark Buehner
Originally written in 1955, this sentimental story always goes straight to my heart. This is the first time it has been published as a picture book, and Buehner’s illustrations are warm, thoughtful and comforting. He was inspired to illustrate this story after his own children heard it at church and decided to give a similar middle of the night gift to their parents. It was a Christmas gift that he and his wife will never forget, and in return he has given this lovely story to a new generation of families. All Ages.
Russell’s Christmas Magic by Rob Scotton
More inspired silliness from Russell the Sheep, who is lighting lanterns in Frogsbottom Field on Christmas Eve, when Santa’s sleigh crashes nearby in Firefly Wood. Luckily, Russell knows where a rusty, old jalopy is buried under a mound of snow, and in a great Cinderella moment, he rushes around banging and welding and transforms the sagging rust bucket into a flashy, new sleigh. Then Russell accompanies Santa on a whirlwind tour of the world ending back in his home field. The story may be familiar, but the illustrations are priceless. Ages 3 and up.
Christmas Magic by Sue Stainton illustrated by Eva Melhuish
“Little Santa looks after the forest. He knows all the animals and trees by name. Once a year he plans a special treat for his friends. Little Santa is full of surprises.” In this charming Christmas tale, Little Santa is a tomtem-like character – a bit mischievous, a bit mysterious. He hides the reindeer’s bells and then slips into the forest to watch the animals go on an evening treasure hunt to find them. Children can search for the bells and look for a tiny glimpse of Little Santa on each page.
The Christmas Song: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire by Mel Torme and Robert Wells illustrated by Doris Barrette
A festive gathering of aunts, uncles and cousins illustrates the lyrics of this popular Christmas tune. The families are cheerfully skipping, dancing and singing their way through the day’s familiar events. Their smiles are infectious and most readers will find themselves singing along. Ages 3-7.