Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas and Winter Books

WE'VE found some lovely Christmas and Winter-themed books at the library. Here are some of our favourites:

Christmas Mouseling
by Dori Chaconas, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
A mother mouse fears for her freezing newborn mouseling as her nest is blown away. Other animals offer her the use of their homes as they are going to see a King. As one after the other these beds too are blown away by the blustery north wind, the mother mouse runs desperately to a wooden shack, where she is surprised to find all the other animals. Also there are a man, a woman and a baby lying in a manger. The mother mouse snuggles her mouseling under the baby's covers and knows that they are safe.

The Mitten
by Jan Brett
Well known in the US but not so well in the UK, Jan Brett is an award-winning author/illustrator famous for her illustrated borders that give clues to what will happen next. The Mitten is her retelling of an old Ukrainian folktale in which a boy loses a mitten in the snow. It is discovered by more and more woodland creatures who take shelter inside it. The mitten is stuffed to bursting point when the bear sneezes and all the animals fly out. Unaware of all this activity, the boy catches the mitten in the air and runs home, where his grandmother wonders how one mitten got so big.

The Gingerbread Baby
by Jan Brett
As with The Mitten, this book is full of the most incredibly intricate illustrations, but beautiful and not overwhelming. The story is a twist on the Gingerbread Man, in which a little boy opens the oven too soon and instead of a Gingerbread Man, out pops a Gingerbread Baby. He runs away and everyone chases him. But the boy Matty goes back into his kitchen and begins to bake again. The whole procession of people chasing the Gingerbread Baby arrives in the woods to find a pile of crumbs and assumes he has finally met his match. But in fact, the Gingerbread Baby is happily dancing around inside the gingerbread house that Matty baked for him.

A Reindeer Christmas
by Mark Kimball Moulton, illustrated by Karen Hillard Good
While out in the woods to feed the animals in Winter, a family comes across an exhausted and starving deer. They bring him home, feed him and keep him warm by the fire. In the morning he is gone. Under the Christmas tree, an extra present awaits with a note from Father Christmas himself. The deer the children had found was his lead reindeer, and by caring for him, the children had saved Father Christmas' present delivery. A sweet story with wonderful pictures in warm glowing colours.
Happy reading!

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