Now’s the time of year to dig into holiday picture books. And who better to suggest titles than my fellow grandmother, Judi Luiten? Judi has spent the last 35 years teaching pre-schoolers, which includes lots and lots of reading to them. Her list of Christmas books features tried and true favorites as well as a new title she recently ordered for her students.
Judi notes these books are all good read-alouds. The list includes a wide variety because she believes in exposing kids to lots of kinds of books.
The Christmas Wreath by James Hoffman, illustrated by Jack Stockman, School Ground Publishing Co., 1993. A polar bear gets a Christmas wreath caught on his neck and eventually saves Santa’s own Christmas experience. Magical.
Mr. Wallaby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry, Doubleday, 2000. Mr. Wallaby’s tree is too tall for the parlour. What to do? Rhyming text. Delightful.
The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer, re-illustrated by Lisa McCue, Harper Collins, 2005; original illustrations by Seymour Fleishman for Morrow, 1958. Most boys want puppies for Christmas. This puppy wants a boy. Judi can’t read this one without crying.
Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Woods, Childs Play, 2004. Little Mouse worries who will bring a present to Big Hungry Bear who lives on the top of the hill. These are the same characters who first appeared in the beloved The Little Mouse, The Red Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear, 1984.
Judi has ordered Jan Brett’s latest Christmas book, The Animals’ Santa, Putnam, 2014, based on how kids respond to Brett’s tried and true story, The Mitten. She says her students love to predict the next animal to appear in Brett’s books by looking carefully at the illustrations.
The Santa Mouse by Michael Brown, illustrated by Elfrieda DeWitt, Barnes and Nobles, 1996; reprinted from the original Grosset and Dunlap, 1966. A cute classic in which a mouse gets to go along with Santa on his deliveries.
Thanks to Judi for these wonderful suggestions. It is so fun to be grandmas together and also to share our love of picture books.
Happy holidays to you all!
Emma’s Christmas is another wonderful one though hard to find now. It re-tells the 12 days of Christmas where Emma is wooed by a suitor who continues to bring ALL of the items for each day and the # of birds etc. (cawing her name) explodes exponentially. It’s a great read-aloud!
Thanks for the Grandma’s Best Read Aloud Christmas Books list. Sending for Willowby’s Tree and Animal’s Santa!
My kids grew up on Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree as well as The Mitten – both wonderful books. Another one we really loved, not on this list, was Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas by Russell and Lilian Hoban – a very sweet book, great read-aloud.
Although I felt a bit isolated as your grandmotherly pre-school teacher, Judy Luiten, offered her suggestions for the best Christmas read a-louds, the unfamiliar list pushed me into my own quiet reflections on the Christmas, and winter-themed stories, that I had grown up with, the stories that still call to me to re-read and to share the stories I love. This was the inspiration of my Fifteen Days of Christmas Story postings on my facebook page: #1 Little Lost Angel (Janet FieldHeath and Janet Laura Scott), #2 Santa’s Toy Shop, #3 The Mole family’s Christmas (Russell and Lillian Hoban), #4 The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams, and Komako Sakai),#5 The Happy Prince (Oscar Wilde, and Gilbert Riswold), #6 The Winter Bear (Ruth Braft and Erik Blegvad), #7the Fir Tree (Hans Christian Andersen), 38 Warton’s Christmas Eve Adventure (Russell Errickson and Lawrence Difiori), #9 tHe Tree Angel (judith Martin and Remy Charlip), #10 Sprout snd the Dogsitter Jennifer Wayne and Gail Owen), #11 The Holy Bears A Berry (Alison Utley and Charles Mikolacak), #12 In the Days of Lacemakers(Frances Bastia), #13 Girl From the Snow Country (Masako Hidaka), #14 the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe picture book (C.S. Lewis and Christian Birmingham), and #15 Tree oof Cranes (Allen Say)!!!