My children have been opening one Christmas book each day during the month of December. It is definitely a huge hit with them and a tradition we will continue! They are good about taking turns opening each of the books, too. Thank you, Amy and Carrie for the awesome idea!!
With Christmas almost here, I wanted to highlight our favorite Christmas titles. We have a lot of Christmas books that we've collected over the years, and I am thankful for each one. With that said, there are still some that stand out above the rest!
Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Jane Chapman and Karma Wilson is a sweet story about a mouse named Mortimer that wants to live in the manger a family set out by their Christmas tree. Mortimer lugs and tugs the "statues" out of the manger to make room for himself. This continues until he overhears the family telling the story of Jesus' birth. We love everything about this book.
The Very Snowy Christmas by Diana Hendry and illustrated by Jane Chapman is another sweet mouse Christmas story. (HUH! I just noticed the books have the same illustrator, though in Mortimer, the book does not distinguish author/illustrator and gives equal credit to both. That's really cool! Even if you just look at the covers, you will notice a resemblance in these adorable mice. ) This book is a Christmas story, but it is also just a fun, sweet book! Little Mouse goes out to look for holly for the Christmas tree. Soft white flakes begin to fall, and Little Mouse hurries home to explain to Big Mouse that the sky is coming undone. Along the way Little Mouse meets some frightening creatures (like his reflection in the water). Big Mouse eventually helps Little Mouse understand that there is nothing to be afraid of, and then they warm up by the fire. (I actually won this book, and others, from the publisher Tiger Tales! You might want to check out their blog so you can win some day, too! Thank you, Tiger Tales!)
The Little Drummer Boy was my favorite Christmas song before I even understood what the song was about. We have the wonderful board book illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats that tells the story through the song lyrics. Wonderful and beautiful! I just love books that are based on the lyrics of a song because it causes the child (or adult) to slow down and consider each word. (We also like Jingle Bells!) Another bonus with this book is that we have the Little People Little Drummer Boy set that plays music and has animal sounds.)
The most requested Christmas book has been Dewey's Christmas at the Library, written by Vicki Myron. It's the story of Dewey, who is a cat that lives in a library, and the adventures that he has. It really is a great book, and I don't mind reading it again and again! You can read my full review here.
Those books are all wonderful, but my favorite book to teach (to my 2 and 4 year olds) about the reason we celebrate Christmas is My Giant Fold-Out Book Christmas. This is written by Tracy Harrast and illustrated by Paula Doherty. Not only is this a fairly large book to begin with (approximately 9x12), but the pages fold out in big ways to create even larger illustrations for the children to enjoy. What I appreciate most about this book is its biblical accuracy (despite Gabriel's wings). It highlights Gabriel's visit to Mary, the journey to Bethlehem (and it explains the census), looking for a room and the birth of Jesus, the angels coming to the shepherds, and the wise men's visit. Each fold-out page focuses on a different part of the story, but it still comes together to create a well-written and illustrated children's version of the birth of Jesus. I appreciated that when the wise men visit, it says they found Jesus in the house with his mother (not the stable that is too often shown in picture books). Jesus is also no longer an infant baby in the drawing depicted with the wise men-another plus. Overall, I just love this book, and it is appealing to children, too!
You might notice that these books do not all have Jesus as a theme. We are using our advent calendar (linked to post about how we are using it) daily, along with our Jesse tree to teach about the birth of Jesus. I think that our particular advent calendar with the little books teaches the story of Jesus' birth perfectly and biblically. I am thankful for other books that do the same, but the books I am sharing today are just our favorite Christmas books. Though our focus is on Jesus during the month of December, we're not opposed to Santa though we certainly understand and respect that others do not teach their children about Santa.
On a side note...I really think it was all the cute mice in books that made me want a mouse as a pet when I was a child. I will hope that Tumtum and Nutmeg (linked to my review) and others don't have that same effect on my kids!
Jesse Tree and The Jesus Storybook Bible - A Jesse tree is a visual celebration which connects the Old Testament to the arrival of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. A Jesse tree can also be used as...