Martin Waddell is one of my favorite children’s book writers for younger preschool kids. His books have a real sweetness missing in much of today’s children’s literature. This book manages to tell the Christmas story from the perspective of the animals in the stable in a sweet and simple way but without ever talking down to the kids. Difficult to do, but when done well like here, worth reading year after year.
This wonderful book by Cynthia Rylant is most notable in our house for making me cry every year. In fact, I cry just when I try and tell people the story. It’s not sad or sappy, but it just gets me every time.
This is my favorite version of the Nutcracker. I love the way Susan Jeffers tells the story in a way that incorporates the ballet since for me (like many people I would guess) the ballet is what I think of when I think of this story. I think you can tell a book about ballet is a winner when a 7 year old boy cries out “Oh,good! This is a great one” when opening it.
David is still a big fan of Rosemary Wells’ books. I really love this one which tells the story of Morris, the youngest in a family of four bunny siblings. The other bunnies are ignoring him on Christmas morning as he is too little to play with their presents. Then he discovers the most exciting present of all, a disappearing bag. What I love about this book is that it captures the feelings of a youngest child and the complicated relationship between siblings so well. Also, that it isn’t clear if the disappearing bag is real or if it is an imaginary way that Morris’ family helps him feel more included. It doesn’t really matter and I like that.
A beautiful book by Debi Gliori using the last stanza of the In the Bleak Midwinter by Christian Rossetti:
What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would give a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I’d do my part,
Yet what can I give him,
Give my heart.
This is especially nice to read with John as it’s the poem we memorized last Advent season.
What to say? It’s a classic for the same reason all classics are: a good book that withstands the test of time. It’s not really Christmas without reading it, at least for me.