Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The State of the Stacks - It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

You probably won't be surprised by this, but I LOVE Christmas books. Last year, I posted about the books I enjoy reading for myself - this year, I am posting about books I have collected for my kids that are also fun for ME to read.

Little Tree by e.e.cummings and Chris Raschka
published 2006

Synopsis from publisher -

" Little tree/ little silent Christmas tree/ you are so little/ you are more like a flower/ who found you in the green forest/ and were you very sorry to come away? " So begins e. e. cummings` beloved tribute to the tiny evergreen tree, taken away from the cold forest to be decorated and adored by two children in their home at Christmas. Simply and sensitively told from the innocence of a child`s eyes, e. e. cummings` little tree comes to life as the children bestow upon it their heart-felt promises of comfort and love.

My thoughts -

This sweet board book is one of the first Christmas books I read to my kids, and it is such a favorite that we leave it out all year long. It's illustrations are very geometric in design, and contain lots of little surprises to keep young readers engaged. This is a great read-aloud story for young ones, but has enough depth to engage older readers as well. I will probably have to get a new copy soon - we've almost read it to pieces!

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus by Frances P. Church and Joel Spector
text originally published in 1897; this edition 2001

Synopsis from publisher -

In 1897, a young girl wrote to The New York Sun asking whether Santa Claus truly existed. The paper's response, written by reporter Francis P. Church, has become a beloved holiday literary tradition. An original approach to a children's classic, this captivating book creatively reinterprets that heartwarming letter about the truth behind Santa Claus and Christmas. It is accompanied by charming Victorian artwork. Joel Spector is an artist and illustrator known for his elegant pastel images. His work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers including Business Week, Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, and The  New York Times.

My thoughts -

This classic is probably a bit old for my kids yet - the text, while lovely, is still a little dry for their taste. They can, however, appreciate the beautiful illustrations, and it's fun to watch them sit and turn the pages, completely entranced by the artist's evocation of the Victorian era.

A Snowman Named Just Bob by Mark Kimball Moulton and Karen Hillard Crouch
published 2003

Synopsis from publisher -

Sometimes life presents us with unexpected magical moments. So it is in this tale of a snowman named just Bob: when a young child builds a snowman, he comes to life just long enough to impart a few thoughts about the importance of building and holding friendships dear. Illustrated with warmth and whimsy, this book is a classic story the whole family can share.

My thoughts -

This book has wonderful illustrations as well as a delightful story about a young boy and his snowman. Bob is the kind of snowman I always wished I could build, and he introduces kids to the magic of winter and friendship. It's a book for kids that I don't mind reading over and over again.

The Christmas Story by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
published 2009

Synopsis from publisher -

The timeless story of Christmas is beautifully retold through paintings by some of the worlds greatest artists. Borrowing from The Metropolitan Museum of Arts extensive and rich collection, The Christmas Story depicts the Nativity through visual narration with the aid of paintings by, among others, Petrus Christus, Gerard David, and Hans Memling. Gold accents on the book jacket and interior pages make for a glorious and lush book.

The artworks, sensitively coupled with excerpts from the King James Version of the Bible, create a book that will be treasured by the entire family for years to come.

My thoughts - 

What more is there to say? The King James Bible mixed with great works of art from the Met make this a true piece of art - again, my kids are too young to truly grasp it's merit, but it will be a book they will grow into through the years.

Christmas in America edited by David Cohen
published 1988

Synopsis from publisher -

A photographic panorama of our nation during the holiday season. From Thanksgiving to Epiphany, 100 of the country's top magazine and newspaper photographers scattered across the nation to document how we prepare for, celebrate, survive and clean up after Christmas. 175 photos.

My thoughts -

This is a fantastic collection, ranging from humorous to poignant. It's a book to page through, not necessarily to read from cover to cover, but each page has a treasure to discover. While not specifically designed for kids, mine absolutely love it.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore and Robert Sabuda
published 2004

Synopsis -

It's the classic Christmas story paired with incredible paper popups by artist Robert Sabuda. Breathtaking.

My thoughts -

We have 4 holiday books by Sabuda, and each is absolutely gorgeous. These are, clearly, not great for younger kids - mine still have to be reminded to be gentle each time they look. But oh, the wide-eyed wonder these books elicit in children.

These are just a few of the (ever-growing) stacks of holiday books that have found a spot on our shelves. What are your favorite holiday books to share with the youngsters?


bermudaonion said...

Great list of books! Vance loved holiday books all through the year.

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