Little Bookclub: Christmas books for toddlersPosted: 13/12/2013
Hmm, what to make the theme for our December Little Bookclub? I did have to give it quite a lot of thought before eventually deciding on… you’ve guessed it… Christmas! Alright, I deliberated on it for, oh, maybe ten seconds. It was a pretty obvious choice, really.
I know, I know, it’s horribly clichéd to focus on Christmas-themed books in December (although it would also be a little weird to look at them in June…) but I just don’t care! I love Christmas, so ToddlerGirl and I have been immersed in all sorts of festive activities this month, including reading a number of suitably Christmassy books.
The difficulty with this month’s selection was in the sheer number of options out there. I’ve found some that focus on the joy of Christmas, while others provide an introduction to the nativity story. I think they all bring something of the magic of the season…
Christmas With You
Julia Hubery and Victoria Ball
This is a lovely book celebrating the pleasures of Christmas: the anticipation of the day to come and the sharing of this with family and friends. The illustrations of the mouse family are wonderfully warm and cosy, perfect for snuggling up with, while the text is very poetic and flows beautifully, meaning I have been really enjoying reading it out loud to ToddlerGirl. That being said, I think this book is probably better suited to a slightly older audience; she will cuddle up and read this with me, but it doesn’t always keep her attention. It is a paper book rather than board book, so that probably gives a clue as to intended age range. At the moment, it is probably more a favourite of mine than hers! But I shall definitely be remembering this one for future Christmases.
Pocket’s Christmas Wish
Ann Bonwill & Russell Julian
Another very sweet book focusing on what the spirit of Christmas is really all about. This time we are with Pocket the rabbit who is following a trail of footsteps that he believes will lead him to the true meaning of Christmas. It cleverly weaves in the gifts of the season with items Pocket finds along the way reminding him of love, joy, comfort, and finishes with Pocket discovering the gift of giving. It has a lovely, heartwarming message without being too saccharine and ToddlerGirl has been enjoying reading this with me.
Room for a Little One
Martin Waddell & Jason Cockcroft
This might be my personal favourite of our selection. It tells the story of the nativity through the eyes of the Kind Ox who shares his warm stable with a host of animals who have nowhere else to go. This culminates with Tired Donkey, who is carrying a pregnant Mary. It’s a clever angle to take, with the focus on the animals giving it immediate toddler appeal while still introducing the basic concept of the nativity story. The text is simple and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. There is one spread with the Stray Cat looking at the Small Mouse which I find particularly striking; the detail in the cats face and eyes is just gorgeous. So I love it, clearly! What about ToddlerGirl? It didn’t start off as a favourite but she’s been selecting it from the book basket and requesting it for her bedtime read, so she is definitely enjoying it. It is a very calming read for her, so a particularly good one when she is cuddly and in a quieter mood.
Little Owl and the Star: A Christmas Story
Another take on the nativity using animals to introduce the story to little ones. In this version, it is Little Owl who we are following as he is led by the bright star to a stable in Bethlehem. On the way, he sees the shepherds and wise men and hears the angels singing but he is drawn onwards by the star. He reaches the baby Jesus and is struck by the happiness he is radiating; when he reports this back to the star, it shines even more brightly and fills the whole world with light. It is a very simple yet lovely retelling – and it has an owl in it, so ToddlerGirl was hooked from the first reading!
Merry Christmas Little Cheeps!
Julie Stiegemeyer & Carol Baicker-McKee
This is a really cute little book taking us through a few of the many joys of the festive period, from singing, to decorating, to cuddles to the excitement of waking up on Christmas Day. The rhyming text is simple but sweet and the images are interesting as they have been modelled out of what looks like towelling (for the chicks) and playdough for the rest of the scenes, which creates a completely different effect to an illustration of course. It’s not our most read book out of our selection but it does a nice job of encapsulating some festive family fun.
Topsy and Tim Meet Father Christmas
Jean and Gareth Adamson
This is without a doubt ToddlerGirl’s absolute favourite book this month! We have read it many, many, many times already. The appeal I suspect lies in the focus on a little boy and girl not that much older than ToddlerGirl and the every day story of the lead up to Christmas. The family head to the garden centre to pick out their tree and some new decorations, visit Father Christmas in his grotto, and then head home to make a snowman and decorate the tree. This is clearly all fascinating stuff when you are only two years old! We are planning on taking ToddlerGirl to a grotto before Christmas so this story will hopefully help her to understand a bit more about what is going on when we do!
That’s our selection of Christmas books, all of which (with the exception of Topsy and Tim) I’ve found at our library. We also have ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, of course, which I think is virtually obligatory at this time of year! I only have a very small copy picked up when ToddlerGirl was a baby and would love to find a gorgeously illustrated version as I’m sure we’ll be reading it for years to come – any recommendations for that or other lovely Christmas reads are very welcome!