Once the calendar flips to December in our house, our evening story time selections come from our collection of holiday and winter-themed books. This year, three new picture books have made their way into our collection. With a new version of an old classic, and two funny perspectives on the goings-on up at the North Pole, these books will likely be pulled off the shelf year after year.
A few years back, Santa’s reindeer were a bit displeased with their working conditions, and when Santa wouldn’t listen to their concerns, they opted to strike, causing Santa to search for a new crew to pull his sleigh in The Great Reindeer Rebellion. This time, it’s the elves’ turn in Kim Norman’s The Great Christmas Crisis, but Santa learned his lesson well from the reindeer’s actions. So now when he becomes aware of the level of distress among the elves as they rush to get everything in order before Christmas Eve, he goes into problem-solving mode. In the vein of a current “reality show,” Santa disguises himself to go undercover among his valuable workers. What he finds is too much stress and worry and too little actual Christmas spirit. With an ingenious idea from Mrs. Claus, Santa is able to give the elves a little time to enjoy the season and still get their all important work completed. This follow-up features similar embossed illustrations and a silly rhyming scheme that my own kids giggled through.
In Tad Carpenter’s Sad Santa, the day after Christmas brings about some melancholy for Santa, for all the work and fun of the holiday has passed. The elves and the reindeer alike tried to cheer him up, but he still couldn’t shake the sadness. Even Mrs. Claus’ vacation suggestion couldn’t do the trick. But when a letter arrives, filled with nothing but Christmas wishes for his family members from a sweet little boy, Santa is reminded of the importance of the Christmas spirit– giving and caring for others. With his spirit rejuvenated, he’s ready to get a head start on next year’s Christmas work!
Get ready to sing along to one of the most popular carols when you open the pages of Dan Andreasen’s new version of The Twelve Days of Christmas. All of the traditional verses are here, but what makes this presentation unique are the adorable and engaging animal illustrations. Beyond the first sets of birds given as gifts, the milking maids are apron-clad cats with warm smiles around their whiskers, and what creature could better portray the lords a-leaping than some bouncy frogs? (Oh, and for the record, I guffawed upon seeing the berets perched upon the french hens’ heads!) The pictures are warmly rendered in muted colors, and will be especially appealing to young children.
Grab one of these holiday-themed books for a snuggly read by the light of the Christmas tree with your kids this year. Happy holidays!
Dawn hopes that holiday picture books continue to be a part of her family’s traditions even as the kids get older. She blogs at my thoughts exactly.