Earlier this month I blogged about some new Christmassy books we got hold of this year to share with the boys. So to go along with what’s new for us, here are a few of our favourites.
It’s always nice when you can share with your children something you remember fondly from your own childhood. Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas was (like all of his books) a favourite of mine when I was little, and it’s just as good to read it now. The concept of Father Christmas as an irascible and put upon working man is genius:
This, along with its even more grumpy sequel Father Christmas Goes On Holiday, has been a real mainstay of the season for the past few years. All it took this evening was Danny catching a glimpse of these pictures for him to demand them immediately…
A more recent title is Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present, by one of our favourite picture book authors, John Burningham. Mentioned by George in a comment the other week, it’s a lovely simple story of the journey to deliver one last, forgotten present to a little boy. Quite a hair-raising adventure:
John Burningham’s books are an absolute joy to look at – the page which shows all the methods of transport Father Christmas uses to get home again is brilliant.
The next two are also recent books which we’ve had for two or three years now and they are also really lovely to look at. The first is Wenceslas by Geraldine McCaughren and Christian Birmingham:
Whether it’s the inhospitable snowy world outside, or the warm opulent scenes in the king’s palace, the pictures in this one are done really beautifully. The story itself is a nice, simple and affecting retelling of the story of the carol we all learnt at school.
There are lots of books which tell the story of the Nativity, many of which try to tell the story from a different point of view. Brian Wildsmith’s A Christmas Story is a gorgeous-looking book which tells the story of a little girl who tries to catch up with Mary & Joseph:
This one really grabbed our boys’ imaginations last year.
Another character who tries to catch up with the Christmas story is Babushka, who was too busy cleaning her house to make the journey to Bethlehem. At the bottom of it, this story is pretty dark for poor old Babushka, condemned to wander the world in search of something she never finds, but it works out all right for the children:
The lovely illustrations by Nicolas Sidjakov, mostly in black and white but with effective use of bold colour, really suit this story.
Finally, our favourite from last year, when we blogged a whole load of Richard Scarry Christmas books. Richard Scarry’s Best Christmas Book Ever! is an annual-like compilation of stories, songs and a simple board game and the title pretty much sums it up.
One of our favourite stories from it is the cautionary tale of the terrible twins Abe & Babe:
Danny & Tommy loved this and just needed a mention of ‘Abe and Babe…’ to send them into fits of giggles last winter. Maybe it’s time to start talking about giving them lots of coal in their stockings… It seems as if this book has been repackaged this year into three board books, but we prefer our nice big hardback copy. Which they have just run off with exclaiming “Abe and Babe!” and “The bad twins!”
We’ve missed loads off this post, otherwise it’d take all night – we’d love to hear about your favourites that get an outing each year!