The Children’s Book Review | November 28, 2013
Season’s greetings! Here are our favorite Christmas books of 2013 …
The Christmas Wish
By Lori Evert; Photographs by Per Breiehagen
Publisher’s Synopsis: In the tradition of The Snowman, The Polar Express, and the many books of Jan Brett this cozy Nordic tale filled with extraordinary photographs will have readers of all ages believing in the magic of Christmas. This is one to pull out every year and savor.
Long ago, a brave little girl named Anja wanted to be one of Santa’s elves. So she leaves a note for her family and helps her elderly neighbor prepare for the holiday, then she straps on her skis, and heads out into the snowy landscape. From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa. A generous trim-size, matte cover, and foiled title make this a special book for the holiday season.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | September 10, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0449816813
An Otis Christmas
By Loren Long
Publisher’s Synopsis: A new holiday classic from the #1 best-selling creator of Otis and the illustrator of The Little Engine that Could.
It’s Christmas eve on the farm where Otis and all of his friends live. The farmer has given Otis his first real Christmas present–a shiny new horn! A tree has been decorated, a big snowstorm is on its way, and all of the animals are excited. Best of all, one of the horses on the farm is about to give birth to a foal! Yet in the middle of the night the horse begins neighing in pain and when the farmer says, “We’d better get Doc Baker out here or we’ll lose ’em both,” Otis knows the horse is in trouble. Snow has been falling hard for hours and the roads are unpassable. How will they got Doc? Otis to the rescue! He knows a shortcut through the woods and he arrives at the doc’s house flashing his headlights and revving his engine. When Doc fails to awake, Otis uses his new horn. Then, with Doc in tow, he races back to the farm just in time for a Christmas miracle . . . and the arrival of a new friend to play with.
A warm, feel-good Christmas story featuring everyone’s favorite tractor, Otis, the friend you can always count on. From the creator of OTIS, OTIS AND THE PUPPY, and the illustrator of THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD and OF THEE I SING by President Barack Obama
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Philomel | October 22, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0399163951
Santa Claus and the Three Bears
By Maria Modugno; Illustrated by Jane Dyer & Brooke Dyer
Publisher’s Synopsis: Papa Bear, Mama Bear, and Baby Bear weren’t expecting any company when they went for a walk on Christmas Eve, but that’s exactly what they got! Debut author Maria Modugno teams up with award-winning artists Jane and Brooke Dyer to deliver a festive twist on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, with Santa Claus stepping in as the cheerful intruder.
Leaving their pudding to cool on the kitchen table, the unsuspecting bears head outdoors for a crisp evening walk. But when they return, they are shocked at what they find! Their pudding . . . eaten! Their chairs . . . broken! Their cozy beds . . . slept in! And it looks like the culprit is still there! Fast asleep in Baby Bear’s bed is someone awfully familiar. A fluffy white beard, a red jacket covered in soot, and two black boots sticking out from under the covers. Could it really be . . . ?
With sparkling prose and splendid watercolor paintings, this delicious holiday treat glows with warmth and humor that will delight readers page after page.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | September 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0061700231
Christmas Eve with Mrs. Claus
By M. P. Hueston; Illustrated by Teri Weidner
Publisher’s Synopsis: Christmas Eve is a busy time in Santa’s headquarters—for Mrs. Claus, too. She’s baking treats for everyone in this merry, lift-the-flap picture book. Kids will have happy holiday fun helping her find missing items to make yummy biscuits, scrumptious gingerbread, and a tasty snack for Santa’s trip around the world. At the end, a sweet surprise awaits Mrs. Claus! Each spread features four flaps with festive items to discover under each one.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | October 1, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1402777363
The Christmas ABC (Little Golden Book)
By Florence Johnson; Illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
Publisher’s Synopsis: “C” is for Christmas-y fun in this festive Little Golden Book reissue from 1962. Classic illustrations from Eloise Wilkin show her famously adorable toddlers decorating the tree, opening gifts, and running to the mailbox! Young readers will see themselves in this book as they learn their ABCs and aniticipate Santa’s visit.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Golden Books | September 10, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0307978912
Zoomer’s Out-of-This-World Christmas
By Ned Young
Publisher’s Synopsis: Celebrate Christmas with the lovable, hilarious dog Zoomer! It’s the day before Christmas, and Zoomer and his brothers are outside looking for signs of Santa Claus—and then a spaceship from outer space lands in their backyard!
They all have fun playing with their new alien friends. But a piece of the space family’s saucer goes missing, and they won’t be able to get back home in time for Christmas. It looks like there’s no hope for blastoff. Then clever Zoomer comes to the rescue with the perfect low-tech solution.
With aliens, Christmas, and dogs, Ned Young’s picture book is definitely out of this world.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: HarperCollins | September 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0061999598
My Weird School Special: Deck the Halls, We’re Off the Walls!
By Dan Gutman; illustrated by Jim Paillot
Publisher’s Synopsis: A.J. and the gang from My Weird School star in this series of after-school, holiday-themed chapter books featuring brand-new hilarious stories and thirty-two pages of games, puzzles, and more.
It’s Christmas, and you know what that means! Santa Claus is coming to town! Or at least to the local mall. But what happens when kid rapper Cray-Z gives a Christmas concert at the same mall and all his fans go bananas? One thing’s for sure—if A.J. and his friends from Ella Mentry School want to save the day, they will need a Christmas miracle.
Bestselling author Dan Gutman brings his wacky, kid-friendly sense of humor to this all-new series of holiday adventures. With My Weird School trivia and Christmas-themed facts and puzzles, this is one weird Christmas special you don’t want to miss!
Ages 6-10 | Publisher: HarperCollins | September 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0062206824
The First Christmas Night
By Keith Christopher; Illustrated by Christine Kornacki
Publisher’s Synopsis: A lyrical retelling of the birth of Christ modeled after ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.’
Here is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem through Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men. The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich oil illustrations of Christine Kornacki.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Ideals Children’s Books | October 1, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0824956530
The Gifts They Gave
Publisher’s Synopsis: This beautiful holiday book uses a timeless, beloved Christmas song to tell the story of the nativity. In the manger where Jesus was born, all the animals flock around Him and tell of the special gifts they gave to the infant. From the donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem to the sheep whose wool made the baby a warm blanket and the doves that cooed a lullaby, these fluffy creatures will steal children’s hearts. Author/illustrator Patricia Eubank even penned two new verses to include the familiar cat and dog!
Jesus our brother, kind and good,
Was humbly born in a stable of wood,
And the friendly beasts around him stood,
Jesus our brother, kind and good.
Ages 2-5 | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books| September 3, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1454905080