Sunday, December 4, 2011
More great Christmas books for toddlers
I think it's time for the second installment of great Christmas books for toddlers (original list here). Here are some more of this year's favorites:
Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Barbara Cooney.
Ok, it might be exaggerating to call this our favorite, as I haven't given it to Lucy yet (it's going "in" her shoes from Sinterklaas). But it's gorgeous, and I love it, so I'm including it here. Lucy and I were just talking tonight about how Jesus is depicted differently in many different stories by many different people, reflecting their experience. So this version which seems to be set in New England in more modern times makes perfect sense to me. With the same rhythm as Big Red Barn, it's familiar and new all at once; soothing and peaceful.
Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood. Do you know Little Mouse from The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear? (If not, and you have a toddler, you might want to run out and get it right now. They'll love it.) He's back here, barricading his huge heap of gifts so the big hungry bear won't get them. But that bear is lonely, and never gets any gifts. Little Mouse's decision is a lovely message about the true spirit of Christmas.
Lucy and Tom's Christmas by Shirley Hughes. Looks like this one's out of print, but if you come across it used (or for that matter, any Lucy and Tom books, or Alfie books, or heck, anything by Shirley Hughes), grab it up. It took me a while before I picked up her books--they looked too-long and not my style. But once I got started reading them with kids, I couldn't stop. They are so perfectly kids' daily experience. My Lucy loves reading about this Lucy and Tom preparing for Christmas, celebrating with their family, and even becoming grumpy from all the excitement (and being helped back to calm by a walk with grandpa).
The Christmas Book by Dick Bruna. While you're looking for out-of-print books, look for this one. Dick Bruna's illustrations are amazing in their simplicity (and are straight out of my childhood), and the story is told simply and at a perfect level for young children. Apparently, there are some versions of this book with a pop-out-and-use nativity scene included; I'd love to get my hands on that one! Meanwhile, I'll read this one again and again and again.
And the one I want to buy next is
Christmas is Here by Lauren Castillo. I've seen it on several blogs, but finally got to hold it in my hands yesterday. It's gorgeous. I love its simplicity, the fact that it uses the text straight from the Bible, and the way she combines a modern family's walk by a nativity scene with the story of the first Christmas. The close-up picture of the modern child peering into the manger at Jesus grabbed me immediately.
(There are more. I may have to do a third list soon!)