25 Days of Christmas in 2013

25 Days – Book 25: Who Is Coming To Our House?

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Merry Christmas! We made it to the end of our second year of 25 Days of Christmas Children’s Books. This season went so fast! For our Christmas day book, I have a sweet board book edition of a story from 1988. A barnyard prepares for a guest with small animal tasks to tidy and clean, all prodded by a little mouse who keeps insisting that someone special is coming. This is Who Is Coming To Our House? by Joseph Slate, illustrations by Ashley Wolff.

Who Is Coming to Our House cover

This book kind of reminds me of a childhood Christmas favorite that we talked of last year called The Animals’ Christmas Eve. That one teaches about the idea of the baby Jesus being born by counting the stable animals. This story has all the animals preparing the stable for the visitors that only the mouse seems to know the identity of. The ram dusts the beams, the chicks sweep the earth, and the goose lines the crib with eider. It is a different perspective of the Nativity story without actually talking of the Nativity itself. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 24: The Night Before Christmas (Zwerger)

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The day before Christmas is upon us. While there are many, many books that focus on Clement Moore’s famous poem all with different perspectives, styles and creators; this illustrated version is among one of my favorites. With unique and gorgeous paintings by Lisbeth Zwerger, revisit The Night Before Christmas, 2005.

The Night Before Christmas cover

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25 Days – Book 23: The Gift Of Nothing

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What do you give someone who has everything? A question that we should all be considering as we have so much stuff! Well, here is the perfect book for just such a minimalist thought process, The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell from 2005.

The Gift of Nothing cover

McDonnell’s infamous cat Mooch is searching for the perfect gift for his friend Earl. Only problem is, Earl already has everything a dog could need or even want. So Mooch decides the best gift is the gift of nothing. But where do you get nothing? On TV? At the store? Around the kids who are always bored? It’s a book that is charming, simple, humorous and profound for this gift-giving season. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 22: Just Right For Christmas

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A lot of last minute gift shopping and wrapping is probably happening this weekend. Everyone is still looking for that present that is just right… and so I bring a delightful book, one that is about simplicity in giving, hearts of gratitude and presents that are perfect in size and thought. With a tale similar in concept to Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, this is a book about some soft red cloth that keeps on giving. It is Just Right for Christmas by Birdie Black & Rosalind Beardshaw, 2011.

Just Right for Christmas cover

Christmas Eve is in full swing and a king spies the perfect red cloth to make a gift for his princess. He purchases it and has his sewing maids create a long cloak to gift the princess. It is wrapped and ready, so the maids discard the scraps of cloth in a bundle by the back door. The kitchen maid comes across the bundle on her way home, declares it Christmassy and carries it off to make a jacket for her father. On the cloth goes, growing smaller and smaller in leftovers yet getting made into special, customized gifts along the way until the smallest of mice finds the final scrap and creates a scarf that is just right for her little Billy on Christmas morning. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 21: The Christmas Magic

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Five more days until Christmas. The last few days before Christmas always have a soft twinge of anticipation about them. There is something special in the air even amidst bad weather, or last minute shopping, and all of the stressful preparations we put on ourselves. That childhood anticipation just doesn’t seem to ever go away thankfully. Touching on that feeling, comes a story with elegant poetic writing and breathtakingly saturated images about Santa awaiting and preparing for the magical moment around Christmas to arrive. It is The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson, pictures by Jon J. Muth, 2009.

The Christmas Magic cover

Way up north, where the reindeer roam the story tells of a snug little house in which Santa Claus lives. As the holiday season approaches, Santa feels a tingling in his beard and he begins his Christmas preparation for soon, he knows, the Christmas magic will be here. He rounds up the reindeer, polishes his clothes and the big red sleigh, and carefully checks every toy and pairs it with just the right name. All is ready and he awaits the moment the magic arrives, the kind of magic that makes reindeer fly. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 20: Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming

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Five more days until Christmas. To start off the final countdown, Everett Anderson is here with a poem or two for each day until Christmas telling us what the season is all about. With poetic text written by Lucille Clifton and gorgeous three-color drawings by Evaline Ness, take a look at Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming from 1971.

Everett Anderson's Christmas Coming

“Everett Anderson
loves the sound
of Merry Christmases
all around
and bells ringing
and people singing
and Mama smiling her
secret smile
and winking at him
once in a while.”

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25 Days – Book 19: Merry Christmas Mom And Dad

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Happy 19th day of December! I have a sweet and silly book to share especially for parents but incredibly loved by young kids probably more. One of the Book and Record sets, this is a Mercer Mayer Christmas edition with his famous “Little Critter” wishing his parents a Merry Christmas by “helping” with all sorts of holiday items. Here is Merry Christmas Mom and Dad by Mercer Mayer, 1975.

Merry Christmas Mom and Dad cover and LP

The little guy is hoping to make Christmas extra special for his parents so he attempts to help with things like decorating Christmas cookies, but he couldn’t stop tasting them; wrap presents for them, but the tape was too sticky; and even go to sleep right away on Christmas Eve, but he was too excited. It is an adorable and silly look at the childhood “helpfulness” and chock full of tenderhearted sweetness and Christmas anticipation. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 18: Christmas Eve At The Mellops’

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On this eighth day of December, I bring a pathetic paperback copy of a darling little book. You must meet the Mellop family! This is the Christmas edition from a delightful series of books about a family of pigs with fantastic names, adventurous spirits, and generous hearts. Come have Christmas Eve at the Mellops’ by Tomi Ungerer, 1960.

Christmas Eve at the Mellops' cover

The story begins with Mr. Mellop sharing an article with his boys about Christmas tree decorations. The pictures spark ideas for each boy and they separately set out to bring a beautiful tree home for Christmas hoping to surprise everyone. On Christmas Eve the home was filled with four trees and many tears. Their father has another brilliant thought and sends the boys out with their lovely trees to find a place that needs cheering. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 17: The Third Gift

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This day has nearly gotten away from me, so I will quickly slip in this review of our book for today. A very different story for me and for this holiday season. The look and feel of this one is not something I would have picked up if it hadn’t been for a friend’s recommendation. It is the unique story of a young boy whose father is a collector of tears, which are the pearls of sap from a tree, and how one very special tear becomes the very special third gift for a baby. An intriguing perspective on a piece of the Nativity from Linda Sue Park and Bagram Ibatoulline, here is The Third Gift, 2011.

The Third Gift cover

The focus of this story is on the boy helping and admiring his father’s work of finding the very best trees and getting the largest tears to come from them. It is a well-honed skill of his father and the boy is proud to watch and to help. He explains what the tears become once they are sold for large amounts to the spice merchants and how the very best ones are used for funerals.

On a specific day in the story, the boy and his father collect the largest tear they have seen yet. They sell it weeks later to a merchant and his customers of three men with fine clothes on a long journey. It is to become their third gift, a gift of myrrh. Read the full post…

25 Days – Book 16: The Christmas Party

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The book for this 16th day in our Christmas picture book journey is a lovely vintage story that I have been tracking down for over a year now. I finally found a copy that is well-worn, has a broken spine, and is in need of my post-library circulation TLC. I’m so excited to have it and share some of its loveliness with you. A tender story about growing up, being generous with your time and resources, and celebrating the holiday with an all-out surprise party. This is The Christmas Party by Adrienne Adams, 1978.

The Christmas Party cover

Back around Easter I posted about the first Adrienne Adams book that introduced me to this Abbott rabbit family who are the stunning painters of Easter eggs. That book was written in 1976 and thankfully two years later, Adams decided to continue their story with this holiday tale.

The son rabbit, Orson, is growing up rapidly and keeping himself very busy with the egg painting. He has no time for the little rabbits in the forest who vie for his attention. One day however, they corner him and coerce him into agreeing to help throw a Christmas party for all their parents. Not thrilled, but a keeper of his promises, Orson enlists his parents to help and they throw the biggest and loveliest surprise party the rabbit families have every seen. Read the full post…