Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Books

Soulemama had a wonderful list of winter books she's been enjoying with her kids and asked what books others enjoy during this season.

Here are some of our favorites.

Actually, we've got a whole basket of Christmas books that only come out after Thanksgiving, so it's fun to read them all "new."

On the left is The Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas. The words are straight out of the King James Bible... all those wonderfully familiar phrases like "wrapped in swaddling clothes" and "keeping watch over their flocks by night." And my favorite, "Fear not." The illustrations are fantastic. You can't beat Mary's expression as she and Gabrielle share a cup of coffee and he gives her the news. (!!!!) Baby Jesus is a true bundle of joy and angels wearing hiking books and frayed wings round out an awesome book.

Right in the middle is B is for Bethlehem with with words by Isabel Wilner and stunning collage-style illustrations by Elisa Kleven. The rhyming, poetic, alpha-inspired text goes from A for Augustus and the story of Jesus' birth right through singing Gloria in eXcelsis in Zeeland and Zurich and Zanizbar.

We have a few other books about Mary, Joseph and Jesus, but they aren't stand outs. I wish I could find more with really great illustrations and inspiring text.

The small book in the front is Snowballs by Louise Ehlert. Love love love ALL her books!

On the right are two of Robert Sabuda's pop up books. We have several, but at least one was up in my studio for repairs at the time of this shot. I never tire of the amazing mechanics behind his books. Surely someone will give us his newest publication for Christmas!

And just peeking out in the back is Jan Brett's Christmas Treasurey. I came across it at one of those bargain book stores that pop up in strip malls every now and then. It was only $10! I should have bought every one they had. It really is a treasure. Jan Brett's illustions are filled with detail and additional side stories that make reading and telling the stories with kids so much fun. My personal favorite story is "The Trouble with Trolls," where the side bar story shows what happens when a hedgehog moves into the trolls' home.

We also love the two Auntie Claus books... they are very clever. I;m going to the bookstore tomorrow. Maybe I'll have some new favorites to add to our list.


Anonymous said...

We don't yet have a collection of specifically Christmas books (what a good idea to bring them out only after T-Day). But, when I was a kid, my absolute favorite was "Pedro, the Angel of Olvero Street" by Leo Politi. I think what I loved most was the fact that it took place in LA where I grew up. Leo Politi has quite a few wonderful books. I never really noticed it at the time, but they could probably be called multi cultural.

Anonymous said...

Julie Vivas is one of my favourite illustrators - her most famous book over here is probably Mem Fox's "Possum Magic", which is a beautiful story that is just impossible for me to think of without seeing those wonderful watercolour images. And I adore Robert Sabuda's engineering - isn't he AMAZING! For years my only really Christmas-sy book was one I was given at age 3 - it's still beautiful: It's by Dick Bruna (yes, the Miffy books!)and it's just called "Christmas". A very simple telling, with simple pictures, but maybe a bit young for your kids now...