Day 10 of our Christmas countdown is ending after a long Sunday. The Christmas preparation is starting to wear on me a bit and I’m taking a deep breath, hoping to make it through this coming last week of school before the holiday break. Somehow, this book always seems to find me when I’m too tired for the holiday. I wrote a long post about this story last year with illustrations by Chris Raschka. I just reread my post and have considered simply reposting it here as appropriate. Ha! I think I did an excellent job discussing the story in that post, so here I will talk about this version’s illustrations. It is my new favorite version of this book due completely to the illustrations. So come get lost in the art of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (1954) , illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, 1985.
Day 9 brings us a book of selected poems. This book is so incredibly lovely, I was quite surprised to realize I haven’t featured it before. It is a book about Christmas Eve. About a moment when, if all creatures were given human thought and speech, they might utter responses to welcome and comfort the baby Jesus in the manger. Allow yourself to wonder with Manger, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Helen Cann, 2014.
Day 8 is a sweet book adapted from an old English carol. It is a story about the first Christmas as the animals await Mary and Joseph and their newborn baby. It is a unique version of the carol, with an expanded story and vibrant, unusual colors. Check out The Friendly Beasts by Laura Nelson Baker, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov, 1957.
Day 7 of the Christmas Picture Book Countdown! This summer I discovered the delightful series about Jesse Bear that begin in 1986 and ran through 2004. My three year old fell hard for that lovable bear and I swoon over the childhood favorite illustrator, Bruce Degen, and his fantastic backdrops and enchanted world around Jesse Bear. I’m slowly tracking down vintage copies of the series, and our most recent acquisition is this special Christmas story! I’m sure I’ll be talking more about this lovable bear in the near future, but let me start by sharing Where Is Christmas, Jesse Bear? by Nancy White Carlstrom, illustrated by Bruce Degen, 2000.
Day 5 of our Christmas countdown is a surprise appearance from Santa in a helicopter. Originally published in Japan in 1983, this book was joyfully translated last year. It’s a hilarious story about Santa, windows, animals, and mixed-up gifts. Check out Presents Through the Window by Taro Gomi, 2016.
Day 4 brings a very real sentiment for the littles in our home. Once Thanksgiving is over and December begins, the wait for Christmas can be immensely hard to bear! Join Big Bird in this Sesame Street Little Golden Book, I Can’t Wait Until Christmas by Linda Lee Maifair, illustrated by Joe Ewers, 1989.
Day 2 of the picture book countdown to Christmas includes this book which is probably cheating to be called a picture book. At 102 pages, this is much more of a storybook, chapter book, or…? But the Nutcracker story is a classic Christmas tale and this edition by Maurice Sendak is a delightfully unique version of the famous story. Here’s E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker, translated by Ralph Manheim, with pictures by Maurice Sendak, 1984.
It’s that time of year! I took a true holiday last year and didn’t do my usual 25 picture books countdown to Christmas. It was lovely to step away for a bit, but I’m ready. So here we go! I will do my best to keep each day short with just a quick post about the book and a picture or two.