It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.
This is my third and final post of holiday books. In Part 1, I shared my favorite Christmas “classics” that I have loved for many years, Part 2 was looking at holiday versions of favorite or known characters and this week I will be sharing some of my more recently discovered and/or published holiday books.
My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Be careful what you wish for! is the message of this delightful book! There are many things I love about this book. The illustrations are cute, and the story very sweet, but my teacher side is always thinking about ways to use books for a lesson! The story begins with young Joe in the process of writing a letter to Santa asking him for a Penguin for Christmas. In the past, Santa has misinterpreted his letters and often brought him the wrong gift (the “flashback” examples are VERY funny!) so this year, Joe is VERY specific with what he wants. Turns out Santa delivers this year – and Joe gets a brand new penguin. But he soon discovers that having a penguin is a little different than what he expects! This is a very funny book – a perfect read-aloud – and a great anchor book for letter writing and the importance of being specific and precise with your words.
The Christmas Owl – Angela Muse
This beautifully illustrated book is filled with the wonderful message of kindness and gratitude. On Christmas eve, an owl is injured and he has to rely on other animals to help him find shelter and food until he gets better. At first, not all the animals are willing to help, especially his prey! But in the end we witness each one opening their hearts and homes to help the owl. When the owl is healed, he returns kindness to each of the animals who helped him. This book is a GEM!
A Wish to Be A Christmas Tree – Colleen Munroe
Oh, how I LOVE this book! The illustrations are amazing – I could look at them for hours! But the story itself is so beautiful! A too tall fir tree is always overlooked each year at Christmas time. He longs to be chosen by a family and taken home to be decorated and wonders why he is passed by year after year. When he becomes so discouraged, the animals from the woods begin to tell him all the things they like and appreciate about him. In the end, the fir tree starts to truly believes in himself and his self-worth. This is a tender story with a wonderful message about valuing your strengths and also about the kindness of friends.
Little Santa – Jon Agee
Have you ever wondered what Santa was like as a child? Did you know he is one of seven children? Well this book tells you all about “Little Santa” and how he grew up and became the person everyone loves. Along the way you learn the “why” behind elves, chimneys and reindeers. This is a little gem of a Christmas story – cute but not sugary. Delightful illustrations!
The Deep and Snowy Wood – Elwyn Tate
A deer, a mole and a squirrel are making their way through the deep and snowy wood. They are heading somewhere, but you don’t know where they or going or why. (I won’t spoil it for you – but a hint is that it has something to do with Christmas!) This rhyming book is aimed at a younger audience (K-1) and would be perfect for questioning or predicting. The art is lovely and rhyming text flows and never feels forced. Because we are kept guessing until the last page, it makes for a very engaging read-aloud!
Gifts of the Heart – Patricia Polacco All I can say is that Patrica Polacco did it again. She managed to write a Christmas story that is joyful and heartwarming. In Gifts of the Heart, she shares the magic of Christmas through a delightful story that celebrates the joy of homemade gifts. I made many connections to sitting around the kitchen table with my sisters making homemade gifts for relatives. (And yes, I made my own boys make peanut butter – bird seed pine cones, too!) This is a beautiful story of what truly matters at Christmas – not gifts that come from a store, but gifts that come from the heart. Classic Polacco.
The Christmas Magic – Lauren Thomas
Oh, how I adore this book! It fills my heart with such joy and captures, to me, the magic of Christmas. Santa feels the Christmas magic first with a twitch of his beard. He then begins to make preparations to spread this magic to everyone. Lauren Thomas’ text makes my heart smile and Jon Muth’s soothing watercolors are worth the price of admission. Another gem to add to my collection.
The Smallest Gift – Peter H. Reynolds
Ever since The Dot and Ish – I have been a huge Peter H. Reynolds fan. In his recent Christmas book, we meet Roland. On Christmas morning, Roland discovers a very small present under the tree. Disappointed, he wishes for something bigger and bigger and ends up flying to the moon in a rocket ship. But his journey brings him back to where he started – home – reminding him that what is under the tree is not as important as who you are with.
Santa Claus – the World’s Number One Toy Expert – Marla Frazee
Any book by the great Marla Frazee is sure to bring a smile to everyone – this book is no exception. Although it came out in 2005, I discovered it only a few weeks ago in my local library. Have you ever wondered just how Santa knows how to match the exact right toy with the exact right kid every Christmas? How? He works HARD at it! He researches for the ENTIRE YEAR, taking notes, thinking, testing, re-guessing, analyzing and compiling his research! Finally, when he has it all figured out by Christmas morning – he brings magic to everyone! This book is funny and tender with a rather surprising ending. A classroom library is not complete without a Marla Frazee book – and it will be hard not to keep this one out until June!
And there you have it – hopefully some new Christmas books for you to enjoy! Which book will you add to your collection?