Books have always been a part of my Christmases and the same goes for Caius. We are doing our best to give the same warm memories and fondness to Tori and Arthur as they grow. If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook then you will no doubt have seen that this year I have made the Smalls an Advent Book Calendar to really make sharing winter and Christmas stories a part of the season. I only bought one new book to put in the box, my mum provided one new one and the others I found on the kids shelves and from my old book collection – this means the kids will discover new stories, revisit old favourites and get to share in stories that I loved as a child. I can’t wait to do it all again next year with a few new books in the collection alongside favourites from this year and again and again as they get older and the books mature with them.
Sorting through all these books made me think about favourites – and this post stars four books that are firmly in that category: On Christmas Eve is one Caius & I both had as children, Stick Man is Arthur’s favourite, Tori loves reading The Christmas Kitten and The Night Before Christmas is quite simply essential Christmas Eve reading (it is the number 24 book in their calendar).
As somebody on my Facebook said, you can’t go wrong with the duo of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler and Stick Man is a perfect example of their combined genius.
The illustrations are bright and detailed with lots of detail to talk about and keep the attention of even the most scatterbrained child (such as Arthur) and this, coupled with Julia Donaldson’s funny, rhyming text makes for an immediate winner.
The repeated phrases through the story make it great for all joining in together and the rhymes make it flow smoothly all the way through (aside from the one couplet where ‘scarf’ is supposed to rhyme with ‘laugh’ which doesn’t work if you’re of Yorkshire descent, like me.) The appearance of Santa causes squeals of delight every single time we read the book even though we read it a lot and I love the fact that the Gruffalo makes a cameo appearance as a tree decoration part way through. It’s the little details like that which show how much love went into making the book and make it so much easier to love as a reader.
I am fairly certain my mum bought Tori her copy of The Christmas Kitten by Caroline Repchuck a few years ago and it became an immediate favourite. It is a very large book, hardback, with thick pages that can withstand little hands and make the book feel as beautiful as it looks. To add to the feel of the book, each and every page is embossed so you can feel the rich illustrations as well as look at them – this simple addition brings another dimension to the story and makes the book really stand out from the crowd.
The story itself is sweet and full of feel-good moments as everyone in the forest works together to unite the Christmas Kitten with her intended owner after she accidentally falls out of the back of Santa’s sleigh. It’s the sort of book that makes you want to have big, warm cuddles afterwards and leaves you feeling fluffy inside.
A beautiful book that relies entirely on pictures with no words at all (aside from those on the girl’s Christmas list in the pictures) On Christmas Eve is a delightful story that perfectly ‘explains’ how Santa can find and visit children in houses that don’t have chimneys.
The easy-to-follow story is funny and charming and easily accessible and makes for both a great sharing book and a good one to read alone even when you aren’t a confident reader.
I love the use of traditional-style Christmas fairies – they are so festive and magical, it’s just perfect. Combined with the snow and almost soft-focus illustrations, On Christmas Eve is one of the most festive books I have ever read.
The Night Before Christmas is just something I can’t remember a Christmas without. Do people go through Christmas without reading/quoting it? We had a gorgeous pop-up version at my parents’ and Tori and Arthur received their own copy as part of the Parragon Book Buddies scheme last year which made me very happy – it didn’t really feel right not having a copy at home.
The classic poem by Clement C. Moore is full of the magic of Christmas Eve and paints such a delightful picture of the house, the family and of Santa himself – it is just perfect for reading right before turning out the lights on Christmas Eve, leaving you dreaming of reindeer on rooftops and Santa with his cheeks like roses and nose like a cherry.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!