I have already told you about the new book "No Room", illustrated by a friend of mine. It is a lovely story, told in rhyme, with a message of caring and compassion. You can read more about it here. If you cannot find it locally, there is still time to order it from Amazon... I may be a bit biased, but I think this is a wonderful book, and suitable for any child over the age of 4 or so...
Here are a few other favourites: of course The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is an awesome book, and one most everyone is familiar with these days. The animated movie with the many voices of Tom Hanks is one of my favourites at this time of year - the animations are so amazing I must say I now find the book rather pale by comparison, but the story (and message of believing) is still wonderful.
I have to admit, what really attracts me to a children's book every time is the illustrations. I've long been a fan of Jan Brett, and her story The Wild Christmas Reindeer is one of her best, in my opinion. The illustrations are exceptional - the detail is amazing, and there is an "added bonus" on the side of each page with a "countdown" to Christmas Day by Santa's elves. It's a charming story about Teeka, the young girl who looks after Santa's reindeer. Her job is to bring the reindeer back in from the tundra where they have been since last January and get them back into training for their Christmas Eve journey.My other favourite for younger children is Rocking Horse Christmas by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Ned Bittinger. This is a lovely (nostalgic) story of a boy and his beloved rocking horse. Time passes and the boy grows up, but his horse never gives up hope that he might be ridden again one day.
The House of Wooden Santas written by Kevin Major of St. John's Newfoundland, won Mr. Christie's Book Award for Best Canadian Children's Book. The illustrations are actual photographs of wooden Santas, hand carved by Imelda George of Arichat, Cape Breton. There are 24 chapters in the book, making it the perfect "countdown" bedtime story. I can remember reading it to my two - it was an immediate hit. It is more suitable for "older" children - maybe ages 10 and up or thereabouts. It's the story of nine year old Jesse and his Mom, a single mother. She decided life might be easier if they left the city and moved to a small seaside town, where living costs would be less and she could support them with her wood carving. Jesse misses his friends and hockey. He doesn't like his new school, and Christmas is coming, but if his mother can't sell enough carvings to pay the rent, they might not even have a Christmas. It's a wonderful story about belief in oneself and others, and belief in the spirit of the season. I would highly recommend this book if you have children or grandchildren the age of 9 or 10 and up.
Although my kids are older now, I still put these books out, in the livingroom, and I'll no doubt find them sneeking a peek through some of these favourites over the holidays....
What storybooks are on your shelf this Christmas?
"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents". ~ Emilie Buchwald