Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas Tradition

We have several Christmas traditions, but I thought I would share one of our favorites. At the beginning of December, I wrap up all of our Christmas books that have been in storage for the last year. We place them under the tree and open and read one each night in December. We have enough books to open one or more each night. The kids have a fun time trying to guess which books are which and try to open their favorites based on their size and shape.

If photography is my first addiction, then children's books are probably my second. I just love to read and find that perfect compliment of a clever or beautifully told story and amazing illustrations. The books I am sharing here today definitely have both. Here is a brief review of some of our very favorites.

1) The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, Illustrated by Jan Brett:

This is a classic Christmas story that we have all heard with fantastic rhyme and rhythm. Jan Brett's illustrations take this story to another level. Each 2 page spread contains a main illustration filled with beautiful Christmas details that bring the story to life. Surrounding the main illustration, Jan Brett includes other small illustrations that show little details of the main picture or allude to what is coming in the next pages of the story.

This year I replaced my 10 year-old copy of this book because it had been "well loved" and looked like this:

2) Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, Illustrated by Mark Buehner:

I am not even sure where to start with this one. The story is told in rhyme (definitely love rhymes) and is all about what snowmen do at night while no one else is watching. As much as I love the rhyme and story, the illustrations really steal the show. Mark Buehner's illustrations are whimsical and infectious--really capturing the nocturnal adventures these snowmen have at night. And if that isn't enough, Mark Buehner always has hidden pictures in his illustrations.

3) Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck, Illustrated by Mark Buehner:

A good friend introduced me to this touching story about a boy who gives his father a most appreciated gift at Christmas by doing the milking his father wakes up so early to do. The beautiful illustrations (by the same illustrator as above) set the rustic winter scene well. I love that most of the scenes are lit by lantern and the night sky. And don't forget the hidden pictures--they are there (Do you see the nativity in the clouds?)

The story was made into a film by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the 70's.

We have many other favorites in our collection, but I'd love you to share your favorite Christmas books with us. What do you love to read at Christmas?

P.S. Even my one-year-old loves this tradition. He even occasionally opens books while the girls are at school ;).


Laurel C. said...

I LOVE this!

We have a tall stack of children's Christmas books too. Except, I just noticed that most of them are different versions of "The Night Before Christmas." (I love Mary Englebreight's version.) I need to branch out, and you've given me some good titles to find!

Courtney White said...

We just read Snowmen at Night at the library today. What a cute story, and what a great idea to wrap them up!