I know today is Christmas Eve, but if you’re still looking for some last-minute gifts for those special kiddos in your life, here are a few suggestions.
I’ve been seeing Jan Brett’s Home for Christmas on several must-have lists this season, and looking through her body of work I’m shocked and a little embarrassed that I have never read any of her books before. Home for Christmas is the story of a Rollo, a troll who runs away from home because he’s tired of doing chores. He encounters many animal families along the way, experiencing the life of owls, bears, otters and other northern animals before he realizes, as one may expect, there’s no place like home.
Brett’s artwork is nothing short of amazing, the details and flourishes are entrancing and keep you coming back for more. It’s the kind of book where you notice something new on each reading. The borders contain images of Rollo’s family back home – continuing their lives but also missing him greatly – along with additional drawings of the animals he’s visiting.
I was first introduced to the story of The Polar Express by the Tom Hanks movie, which my children happen to be watching while I’m writing this post. When I learned the movie was based on a book, which some people feel is far superior to the movie, which can be creepy and even a little scary, I knew I had to check out the book.
And the book is absolutely far superior to the movie. The basic story, for those unfamiliar with it, is of a boy who wakes during the night to find a train, the Polar Express, outside his window. The Polar Express takes children to the North Pole where they see hundreds of elves and meet Santa. Santa picks a child, our hero, to request the first gift of Christmas. He asks for a bell from Santa’s sleigh, but when he gets on the train, he finds no bell in his pocket, only a hole. Christmas morning he opens his presents and discovers one final one, the bell. He and his sister hear the bell but his parents think it’s broken – they don’t believe, so can’t hear it’s chime. It’s a beautiful and simple story, free of the roller coaster ride that is the movie.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas was the third book by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman about the lovable Bear and his woodland creature friends. It’s sweet but simple story and illustrations makes it one of my favorite Christmas books.
Bear’s friends wake him up for Christmas and though it’s winter, so all he wants to is sleep, he helps them cut down a Christmas tree, then they decorate his cave. Bear’s friends all drift off to sleep and he stays up to make them their Christmas surprises. They give him a quilt so once the celebrations are done, he snuggles under his new quilt to finally go to sleep.
Check out Dawn’s post on holiday picture books for a few more ideas for last-minute gifts.
Nancy has been enjoying reading Christmas and winter books, possibly more than her kids. She writes about her 2 boys, books and life in Colorado at Life With My Boys and Books.