by guest blogger, Sarah Sawler
In Halifax the holiday season doesn’t really begin until we’ve begun our community celebrations. Depending on where you live, many families have their own traditional holiday kick-off, whether it’s the Parade of Lights, Christmas in the Bay, The Light Up Bedford Parade or the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting. After some very successful turnouts for all of these events, it’s official—the holidays have begun. This month’s reviews are written in the spirit of the season.
Merry Christmas, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond
Merry Christmas, Mouse is a festive board book by the team that gave us If You Give a Pig a Pancake. Parents will recognize the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as he decorates his Christmas tree with a star, angels, snowflakes, reindeer, snowmen, toy soldiers, elves, mittens, robots and rockets. As he decorates, he counts the ornaments, but things get a little out of control when he realizes he still has 100 more go…
The Night Before Christmas: The Classic Edition by Clement C Moore, illustrated by Charles Santore
Ages: 2 and up
This beautifully illustrated edition brings new life to the Clement C Moore’s classic poem. The book charmingly depicts the version of St Nick that so many of us have imagined since we were young children. The book begins with the “long winter’s nap” that we’re all so familiar with, accentuated by illustrations of a still, stocking-laden mantle and sleeping, peaceful children. The peace is disturbed when their father hears a ruckus outside and leaps out of bed to investigate. From here, we have the traditional images of Santa Clause: the twinkling eyes, the sack of toys, and the white-whiskered chin. With a time-tested poem that speaks to young and old and the classic, detailed illustrations, this is the perfect book to read aloud on Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas, Splat written & illustrated by Rob Scotton
The story begins when Splat writes a letter to Santa, asking for a “really big present”. He assumes that he’s been good that year, until his little sister comes by to tell him otherwise. With the seed of doubt planted, Splat sets out to become a better cat by “helping” his mom do the dishes, clear the snow on the path and decorate the Christmas tree. Exhausted from being good, he heads to bed and lies awake all night…and waits. Children will delight in Splat’s antics as he tries to help, creating chaos as he goes, and they’ll sympathize with him as he huddles in his bed, wondering when Santa will come. Scotton’s illustrations are delightful, telling the story in a way that he wouldn’t be able to do with words alone.
Make a new Christmas story part of your family tradition this year. With so many to choose from, you’re sure to find one that will delight everyone in the house.
Other great holiday titles:
– This is the Stable Author: Cynthia Cotton Illustrator: Delana Bettoli
– K is for Kwanzaa Author: Juwanda Ford Illustrator: Ken Wilson-Max
– Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book Author: Joan Holub Illustrator: Lynn Avril Cravath
– The Polar Express Author and Illustrator: Chris Van Allsburg
– Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins Author: Eric A Kimmel Illustrator: Trina Schart Hyman
– How the Grinch Stole Christmas Author and Illustrator: Dr. Seuss
– My First Kwanzaa Book Author: Deborah Newton Chocolate Illustrator: Cal Massey
– A Charlie Brown Christmas Author and Illustrator Charles M Schultz
Sarah Sawler lives in St Margarets Bay, N.S., with her partner and her two boys. A love of reading has inspired her career in magazine and web writing, as well as her new website and blog www.booksbetweenthelines.ca