We had tea time today and I let the boys pick out extra Christmas books from our shelf. Every time we do tea time I am reminded how good it is to do and how I should do it more often. A snack (today a special treat of brownies) keeps them going until dinner and the special time reading together late in the afternoon always seems to recharge us all.
There is nothing objectionable about this straightforward telling of the Christmas story but also nothing really extraordinary. I like the use of Biblical language but I’d rather read directly from the Bible. The illustrations are fine but tend more towards classic children’s book renderings of the Holy Family, including the standard blond blue-eyed Jesus as a toddler on the last page. There are so many better books out there that I’m not sure this one will stay in our rotation.
I like Eileen Spinelli a lot and I like this book of hers. It tells one by one of the animals and humans that brave a blizzard to come to Christmas Eve service at a small church. The predictable nature of the words is good for little ones and creates a gentle rhythm that carries the story along. The ending is very nice: a poor stranger arrives at the church and with that the book states “Christmas came”.
Eve Bunting is another great children’s author and this is a sweet story that both boys enjoyed. A small cricket comes inside a warm house to get away from the cold. It hides in the Christmas tree where a Dad and little girl hear it singing. The Dad tells the girl that angels sing in the voices of crickets and both the cricket and girl are amazed by this. The book ends with all three singing together.
You have to have a little silly to go along with the sweet and serious. David is a big fan of Rosemary Wells’ characters Max and Ruby. He at first insisted this was Max but I told him it was Max’s friend and he was ok with that. I would have been happy letting him think it was Max but John is at that stage where he has to always be right and I knew he wouldn’t let us get through the book using the wrong name.This is a great book about a bunny who is the youngest in the family and gets overlooked on Christmas by his older siblings. In the end he gets the last laugh and they all want to play with him and the special present he discovers under the tree. I’m sure younger siblings everywhere love this book.
More silliness, from Bernard Waber in the form of the lovable crocodile Lyle. The story here actually has very little to do with Christmas other than it’s supposed to be Christmas time but it’s cute and fun. The boys both like Lyle.