Friday, October 24, 2008

Christmas Books

Chrissybug wanted to know some good Christmas stories for the coming holiday. She plans to wrap up 23 books to read to her children as the countdown to Christmas begins. I assume that she has night 24 covered with some really great book of her own. Well, since I'm the self-proclaimed "reading lady", I'll bite and post my favorites. I couldn't remember the name of my newest favorite, so I pulled out the Christmas book box and to my delight found quite a few more. In no particular order (except for the first one, which is the book I went looking for) here goes...

A Night Without Darkness
(A Nephite Christmas Story)
Timothy Robinson
"The signs of His coming had been prophesied in the Americas. A new star appeared in Zarahemla as in Bethlehem." The story is told from a little boys point of view, it's not too long of a story and I love the pictures by Jim Madsen, especially the one of Samuel the Lamanite. It also gives a few scripture references and ends with the boy dreaming of baby Jesus crying on a hillside.

Coyote Christmas
Tom G Robertson
Cowboy version of 'Twas The Night Before Christmas, starring some rowdy coyotes that work to get a gold-searching Cowboy home to his family in time for Christmas. It's written in the same rhyme as the original work, but I can't help but read it with a bit of a southern twang. Pictures are different, yet pleasingly simple and colorful. They are all original acrylic paintings by John Runne.
La Nochebuena South of the Border
(written in Spanish and English)
James Rice
Again with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, but this time we're south of the border and James Rice throws a few Spanish words into the text. No accent for this one, but I try to be authentic with the pronunciations. I'm not impressed with his illustrations, but the text is a riot. Here's a sample (but you'll have to buy the book to discover the names of the 8 "reindeer"):
Then out in the desert there came such a fracas--
Sounded like ol' Carlos sat down on the cactus.
I leaped from my chair and dashed 'cross the floor,
Jumped over the perro as I ran to the door.
There puffin' and wheezin' and heein' and hawin'
were eight li'l ol' burros just pullin' and pawin'.
Olive, the other Reindeer
J. Otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh
Don't judge a book by it's movie on this one because the movie was freakishly stalker-like terrifying if I remember correctly. Granted, for adults it was probably funny, but not so much for little kids. The book does have the same new cartoon look pictures that I'm not fond of, but the kids seem to like it. I just like the book because the little doggie is a riot and my kids LOVE dogs. The premise of the story, in case you don't know it is "Olive, the dog, is merrily wrapping present when a holiday song (Rudolf) takes on a new meaning."...instead of "all of the other reindeer," Olive hears, "Olive, the other reindeer." Quite funny as Olive runs to the North Pole to help Santa and ends up hanging by a rope "flying" with the reindeer. Of course, in the end, dog skills are needed and Olive saves Christmas. Not quite what Robert L. May was going for when he wrote the Rudolph story, but entertaining all the same.
Santa Mouse (and)
Santa Mouse Meets Marmaduke
Michael Brown
A little mouse realizes that nobody ever gives Santa presents so he wraps something up and puts it under the tree for him. Santa gives him his own little hat and beard and suit, names him Santa Mouse and he becomes his helper. The later story is one that I remember being read to me as a child. My copy has a page ripped in half but I love it all the same. Marmaduke is a trouble-maker of a mouse that doesn't believe in Christmas. Things change...
Then there are the classics that have all been made into movies (or maybe they were movies before they were books?), but I have to read the books as well:
The Night Before Christmas
Frosty the Snow Man
Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
A Charlie Brown Christmas
I love reading these books aloud to the kids because sometimes I will catch myself sounding a bit like the characters from the animated shows. (especially Charlie Brown) "I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is about, " he wailed. "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"
For older readers...(I have 'em and I'll loan them out)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Barbara Robinson)
Christmas Jars (Jason F. Wright)
The Three Gifts of Christmas (Anita Stansfield)


Crissybug said...

Thanks so much for the list. I actually saw it the other day in my reader, but hadn't had a chance to hop over and comment!

Anonymous said...

Great list! Speaking of The Christmas Jars, I work with Jason and thought you’d like knowing he has a new contest on his web site where you can win a free trip-for-two to his hometown in VA, the Shenandoah Valley. All you have to do is mail him a Christmas card! All the details are here: