Christmas so invites spending time together, lingering a little longer over stories at bedtime, not to mention capturing a little magic with beautiful illustrations. So often in our quest to lose the commercial strings that are so tightly tied to Christmas that we forget to hang onto the things that count… the things that make Christmas fun and memorable. We have certain traditions that just can’t be missed… Christmas cookies, Carol singing, and Christmas books of course… Stories really can set the scene.
A Couple of Christmas Reads for Kids
- The Nutcracker illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat:
- Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault:
- Christmas Stories: A Collection of Festive Tales:
- William at Christmas by Richmal Crompton:
- The Christmas Star: A Festive Story Collection by eva Ibbotson:
Honestly, The Nutcracker conjures up all sorts of Christmas memories… Chocolates in shiny gift wrapped boxes and long frilly socks for trips to the ballet with my grandmother. Tradition and memories and Christmas… all wrapped up in beautiful music. This book is the most lovely presentation of the story of the Nutcracker, it is a beautifully crafted work of art. The illustrations are full of wonderful details… and amongst the bright colourful layout the main players appear in stark contrast in black, imagine shadow puppets. And then on the final page… as you turn it, it is a beautifully detailed pop-up of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Ball. I am saving this book for Christmas Eve, there is something magical about it. Not to mention we have two copies of this book to give away… scroll down to the bottom of this post for details…
This isn’t really a Christmas book, but it is cold and wintry and feels beautifully Christmassy… It is really a poem, a lullaby and beautiful. The story of a small boy snuggled in bed… and the narrator, perhaps the northern night, creates a picture of winter… each page gathers up a new aspect… from one snowflake, to all sorts of wildlife, including a great grey owl and small mouse… and finally as the child wakes the painting is complete and filled with all the details that you have heard about throughout the book. This is whimsical and beautiful and the sort of book little people will want to read again and again to find all the details in the snow… that build up to the great illustration.
A number of authors contribute to this story collection and the stories range from dreamy pirate ships by Adele Geras, to the childhood memories of Rumer Godden in India. Other authors include: Calorie Blackman, Richmal Compton, Julia Donaldson, Robert Westall, Anna Wilson, Karen McCombie, Shirley Climo and Philip Ardagh. This is a great collection of short chapter stories that my kids have been listening to at the breakfast table… a great way to talk about all things Christmassy and get into the spirit of Christmas without all the commercial hype. The stories are easy enough for an emerging chapter reader to enjoy and engaging for younger listeners… all in all a great book.
Well in the spirit of “Just William,” of course there is a Christmas collection… We recently reviewed the William books that have been relaunched with fabulous new author covers and forwards by some lovely contemporary authors. The forward in this book is by Julia Donaldson and she describes how she loved the William books as a child. William is an eleven year old boy, including all the associated antics and mischief, and remains eleven throughout the entire series. I have to say I have a sense of slight foreboding as William’s many many well intentioned plans don’t go according to plan… ever. sometimes with hilarious consequences, well funny for the onlooker or long after the moment. These stories are plain good fun, and make an excellent seasonal read for a quick chapter before bed.
Well… if you know a grinch then these stories will be the perfect gift. The book looks like a sweet collection of stories and we have loved Eva Ibbotson books, but there is a certain truth in her stories that somewhat peals back one’s rose-tinted vision of Christmas. Three short stories… and they all have a moral. The stories are set in Vienna, just before World War One, the streets are covered in snow and the children all dressed up in their winter jammies. It all looks very magical and cosy. In the first story, the truth about Father Christmas is revealed and a somewhat dreaded and eccentric aunt is discovered to be the true decorator of all things Christmas… the disappointment in our young protagonist is palpable as she comes of age, and then does the right thing in her tentative steps into adulthood. There is something ethereal and there is a strong sense of fable in each of the three stories. As you can see these three stories are for a much more grownup reader than the cover might suggest.
Hooray, Hooray, it’s a GiveAway
So we have two copies of The Nutcracker illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat: to GiveAway to a lucky reader. This GiveAway works in the usual way, leave a comment before the end of play on Sunday, 13 December 2015. We will draw and publish the winners in the Fabulous Fun Post after that. I won’t respond to your comments as I do on our other posts because I don’t want to be included in our own giveaway. Our GiveAways are open to everyone: If you have won a GiveAway before never fear – enter away. If you live on the far side of the world – enter away. Postage takes forever from here but eventually it should get to you! Good luck and happy commenting!!!
This post is part of a series we are writing on the latest and greatest reads, previously:
We would really like to thank PanMacMillan Books South Africa for providing us with the books to review for this post. We would like to declare that this is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to do these reviews, just provided with books. All the opinions are as usual, entirely our own!!!