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.
Last week, I shared some of my old favorites from my Christmas collection. This week, I’m excited to share some “holiday versions” of some of my favorite characters and stories.
It’s Christmas, David! – David Shannon. David Shannon wrote a book when he was five using the only two words he knew how to spell: “no” and “David”. When his mother passed along his keepsake box when he was an adult, he discovered the book… and the rest, as they say, is history! In this holiday version of the popular “David” series, we follow David as he snitches Christmas cookies and peeks in closets, and as usual, has trouble staying out of trouble! A delightful, funny read-aloud with lots of possibilities for “making connections”.
Christmas Cookies – Bite Size Holiday Lessons – Amy Krouse Rosenthal I adore anything that Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes. I loved her original Cookies: Bite Sized Lessons so was thrilled when this book came out in time for the holidays a few years ago. In these books, Rosenthal cleverly uses the analogy of making and eating cookies to define and illustrate important concepts such as respect, trustworthiness, patience, politeness, loyalty, etc. The book reads a little like a dictionary – each page sharing a new word and example. In the Christmas Cookies version, she includes holiday-related words like joy, patience, believe, celebrate, peace and tradition. One of the things I love about Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s books is how simple they are – and this one is a perfect example – she incorporates larger words that indirectly teaches children the meaning through the text. This book is a perfect Christmas read-aloud in a classroom and would also make a wonderful holiday gift! Adorable illustrations!
The Christmas Quiet Book – Deborah Underwood How many different kinds of quiet leading up to Christmas are there? How about – “Searching for presents quiet,” “Getting caught quiet”, “Hoping for a snow day quiet” and the “shattered ornament quiet“. I made connections to every page! I loved the original The Loud Book and The Quiet Book so again, was excited to see the Christmas version. The illustrations in this book are adorable – soft, gentle and quiet. LOVE this book!
Snowmen at Night – Carolyn and Mark Buehner In this delightful follow-up to Snowmen at Night, we follow snowman on a Christmas adventure while the rest of the world is sleeping. The illustrations are magical – every time I read the book I see something new! A wonderful, fun read that would lead to great art and writing activities
Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Christmas – Melanie Watt Christmas would not be complete without Scaredy Squirrel! My students have grown to love his insecurities, his worries, his cheesy grin and all his fears. This holiday safety guide is filled with practical tips and step by step instructions to help readers prepare for a perfect Christmas, Scaredy style! From making Christmas crafts to dressing “holiday style” to choosing the perfect tree – this witty, laugh out loud book will delight Scaredy fans everywhere! I love using these books to teach students about text features – labels, maps, fact boxes! Have your students create a “Scaredy Squirrel” version of instructions for their favorite holiday activity!
Carl’s Christmas – Alexander Day The “Carl” books were, for me, my first real experience with the wordless picture book genre. The original Good Dog, Carl book was published in 1996. The premise of the books is a Rottweiler named Carl who is left in charge of the baby while the parents go out. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but somehow, it works. Day’s illustrations require no words – they tell the story seamlessly. In this book, Carl and baby prepare for Christmas, go shopping, do some Christmas baking and have a reindeer encounter! My boys LOVED Carl books when they were younger. If you have never read a Carl book – you are missing something special!
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas – James Dean and Eric Litwin Pete the Cat is cool! He’s groovy! He’s charming! And in this book, he is saving Christmas by helping Santa, who has a bad cold and needs help delivering presents. I love Pete – he is a character on the opposite end of the worry scale from Scaredy Squirrel and serves as a great role model for younger kids. This book is a parody of Twas’ the Night Before Christmas and includes the classic free song download. (the song isn’t my favorite but my students always want to sing along with Pete!) This book is an uplifting message of “giving it your all” that is an important one to share with children.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas – Karen Wilson. Bear’s friends wake him up from his hibernation to include him in the Christmas preparations. Bear does and when his friends all fall asleep – he stays up to give his friends a special Christmas surprise. I am not a huge fan of rhyming texts as I often feel that they are forced. Karen Wilson manages to create rhyme in such a natural way that you don’t even notice it rhymes! The story flows in a lovely, lyrical tempo that makes it such an enjoyable read-aloud. I enjoyed many of her previous books featuring Bear – and this one includes the giving spirit of Christmas as well as friendship.
Well… there you have it! Some favorite stories and characters “dressed in holiday style”! What are your favorite “holiday versions” of familiar stories?