December 2014



Holiday Books For
Preschoolers

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BEAR STAYS UP FOR CHRISTMAS
written by Karma Wilson, illus. by Jane Chapman, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004), 36p, Ages 3-7

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HARRY AND THE DINOSAURS MAKE A CHRISTMAS WISH
written by Ian Whybrow, Illus. by Adrian Reynolds, (Random House, 2004), 32p, Ages 3-7

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ROOM FOR A LITTLE ONE: A Christmas Tale
written by Martin Waddell, illus. by Jason Cockcroft, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004), 32p, Ages 3-7





Holiday Books for
Ages 4-8

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THE FOURTH KING: The Story of the Other Wise Man
written/illus. by Ted Sieger, (Candlewick Press, 2006), 48p, Ages 4-8

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PADDINGTON AND THE CHRISTMAS SURPRISE
written by Michael Bond, illus. by R. W. Alley, (HarperCollins, 2008), 32p, Ages 4-7

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THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MOUSE KING
written by E. T. A. Hoffmann, illus. by Gail de Marcken, (Orchard Books, 2009), 56p, Ages 4-8

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MR. WILLOWBY'S CHRISTMAS TREE
written & illus. by Robert Barry, (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2000), 32p, Ages 4-7





Holiday Reads for
Ages 8-12

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THE THIRD GIFT
written by Linda Sue Park, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline, (Clarion Books, 2011), 32p, Ages 6-9


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WE THREE KINGS
Illus. by Gennady Spirin, (Atheneum Books, 2007), 32p, All Ages


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WHERE DID THEY HIDE MY SILLY DILLY PRESENTS?: Silly Dilly Christmas Songs
written by Alan Katz, illus. by David Catrow, (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2005), 32p, Ages 7-10


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CHANUKAH IN CHELM
written by David A. Adler, illus. by Kevin O'Malley, (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1997), 32p, Ages 6-9


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A LITTLE HOUSE CHRISTMAS TREASURY: Festive Holiday Stories
written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illus. by Garth Williams, (HarperCollins, 2005), 144p, Ages 8-12


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TUMTUM & NUTMEG: The Rose Cottage Tales
written/illus. by Emily Bearn, (Little, Brown & Co., 2010), 416p, Ages 8-12





Holiday Reads for
Ages 12+

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL
written by Charles Dickens, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Candlewick Press, 2006), 160p, Ages 11+


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THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
written by O. Henry, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Candlewick Press, 2008), 40p, Ages 12+









For more information on great children's literature for reading to children and by children, visit us at:

www.tchliteracy.com

Bringing you
books that:


Touch the Heart,
Color the Imagination, and
Delight the Mind


Welcome to The Storytellers, a monthly newsletter of outstanding children's literature to read and read aloud from preschoolers to middle graders.

The holidays are before us, and what better way to enjoy it than with an excellent book. We hope that you enjoy our selections. They are full of holiday cheer, humor, nonsense, fantasy, poetry, and mystery for families to enjoy.

For more information on reading to children, great books to read and read aloud, and a summer reading program, log on to our web site at www.tchliteracy.com.


Preschool
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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS
written by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-544-32041-3), 24p, Ages 2-4

In his third adventure, the Little Blue Truck delivers Christmas trees to his friends. With a wreath between his headlights, he loads five numbered trees from Toad's Trees and delivers them to various animal families. "'Honk!' says the goose. / 'The big one, please!' / Now there are four / green Christmas trees." The last tree is for Little Blue Truck, along with a twinkling surprise for kids. All will enjoy the counting, rhyming, and especially the last page.

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A CHICK 'N' PUG CHRISTMAS
written/illus. by Jennifer Sattler, (Bloomsbury Children's Books, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-5999-0602-7), 32p, Ages 3-6

Lethargic Pug and energetic Chick are back in a cute and charming holiday adventure. Dressed in a warm Santa suit by his owner, Pug explains to Chick that Santa "brings presents and spreads joy to everyone at Christmas. And … he has a large tummy." Bouncing with excitement, Chick decides that Santa is a superhero and should have a sidekick—him! Grabbing a green stocking cap from a snowman and declaring himself an elf, Chick drags sleepy Pug along to spread joy and have a Christmas superhero adventure. They give a snowball to the big, shaggy dog, Dude, a bell necklace to their cranky neighbor cat, Mr. Snuggles, and help a squirrel gather nuts. Realizing that his buddy needs a present, Chick makes him a sleeping mask with the words, "Shhh. . . WONDER NAP" written across the front. Kids will love this odd couple and their method of transportation to the North Pole.

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HERE COMES SANTA CAT
written by Deborah Underwood, illus. by Claudia Rueda, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99,
ISBN 978-0-8037-4100-3), 88p, Ages 3-7

Cat, from Here Comes the Easter Cat (2014), is concerned that he will not be on Santa's "nice" list, therefore, no presents this year. He dresses as Santa to ensure that he gets a gift, but the idea is quickly abandoned when he realizes that soot is involved. The unseen narrator suggests that he improve his niceness by giving gifts to others. Cat tries caroling, giving presents to children (fish), and decorating the town Christmas tree, which all prove disastrous. When Cat shares his food with a kitten and gives Santa a present, he is rewarded beyond his wildest dreams. Kids will enjoy the jet pack, smelly fish, and holiday schemes by this sneaky, charming, and sign-carrying feline. Adults will appreciate the pie chart.

 
Ages 4-8
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THE LAST CHRISTMAS TREE
A written by Stephen Krensky, illus. by Pascal Campion, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99,
ISBN 978-0-8037-3757-0), 32p, Ages 4-7

About a month before Christmas, trees arrive for families to take home for the holidays. "In the middle of one row, wedged between two bushier companions, one particular tree trembled with excitement. It was not very tall, and, in truth, a bit hunched over. Not to mention the branches that were missing here and there." Despite the absence of a physical allure, the little tree brims over with excitement and enthusiasm, imagining lights and ornaments covering its branches, as well as the presents underneath for a kind family. On Christmas Eve, the little fir remains alone with a sign reading "free." Excitement returns when jingle bells arrive and kindly hands place the little tree into a bag for a northern journey, and a place in front of Santa's fireplace. Messages of hope and kindness are always welcome any time of the year.

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CATCH THAT COOKIE
written by Hallie Durand, illus. by David Small, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $17.99,
ISBN 978-0-525-42835-0), 32p, Ages 4-7

"It was December, and Marshall's class had heard stories about runaway gingerbread men all week long. Marshall didn't believe a word of it." Everyone knows that gingerbread cookies cannot run, hop, skip, or jump. They are made for eating, and Marshall can hardly wait after spending all morning mixing, cutting, and decorating the little guys in class. When Mrs. Gray opens the oven, the cookies are gone, leaving behind a series of rhymed clues. "If you can find us, we'll be your snack, / But if you can't, we're never coming back. / We ran from the oven, we were bored and hot, / Now were hiding in a big, black_ _ _ ." Marshall is still skeptical, until he finds a stray raisin and hundreds of gingerbread footprints on the gym floor. Deliciously imaginative, kids will love the chase, discovery, and solution to the runaway gingerbread men.

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MANGER
poetry selections by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illus. by Helen Cann (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, ($16.00, ISBN 9778-0-8028-5419-3), 34p,Ages 4-8

According to legend, at midnight on Christmas Eve God's creatures are granted the gift of human speech for one hour. This lovely collection features 15 poems told from the perspective of a rooster, sheep, horse, cat, mouse, dog, cow, wren, owl, fish, spider, llama, and goat. Ann Whitford Paul's Cow reads "Close your eyes, / little one, / I have a way / to soothe you. / Listen well / to my lullaby / of moo." This charming collection represents the majesty and wonder of a special night celebrated by Christians throughout the world. The final poem is a verse from the traditional carol The Friendly Beasts, "'I' said the donkey, / shaggy and brown, / 'I carried His mother / up hill and down; / I carried her safely / to Bethlehem town.' / 'I' said the donkey, / shaggy and brown."


Ages 8-12
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FRANKLIN AND WINSTON: A Christmas That Changed the World
written by Douglas Wood, illus. by Barry Moser, (Candlewick Press, 2011, $16.99,
ISBN 978-0-7636+3383-7), 40p, Ages 6-10

The year was 1941, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. With the war raging in Europe and Christmas approaching, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England, crosses a stormy Atlantic ocean filled with Nazi submarines to visit Franklin Roosevelt at the White House. They had met twice before, but this was a chance to deepen their friendship and confront a growing menace to civilization. They have their quirks, enjoy staying up late talking, and often drop into each other's rooms for discussions. It is a time of meetings, negotiations, strategies, and an alliance that would change the world. "The two friends did trust each other, through every hardship and difficulty, victory and defeat, over the next four years of World War II. Millions of others trusted them as well, all around the world. It was a world they helped to save with their courage and their friendship, on that important Christmas of 1941." Stunning illustrations, from battle scenes and strategy rooms to banquet tables and speeches before Congress, accompany this glimpse into a time when two dynamic leaders changed the world.

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THE PETERKINS' CHRISTMAS
adapted by Elizabeth Spurr, illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin, (Antheneum Books, 2004), 32p, Ages 7-10

This adaptation, from the 1880 Christmas classic "The Peterkin Papers," is a warm, charming, and quirky holiday tale guaranteed to entertain everyone. Mr. & Mrs. Peterkins decide to surprise their three youngest children with the tallest Christmas tree ever, however, it is a bit too tall for the house. The solution is obvious — raise the ceiling.


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WHEN SANTA FELL TO EARTH
written by Cornelia Funke, translated by Oliver G. Latsch, illus. by Paul Howard, (Chicken House, 2006), 192p, Ages 9-12

Niklas Goodfellow, the last real Santa, is the only one who stands between Gerold Geronimus Goblynch, the ruthless leader of the Great Christmas Council, and his plan to outlaw the old magical ways of Christmas. Snowmobiles replace reindeer, elves and angels are banned, and Santas who resist are turned into chocolate. When Niklas and his zany companions crash land in Charlotte and Ben's town, all must join forces to save Christmas. Originally published in German, children will love this story of a brave, young Santa and his friends who fight to save Christmas.

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NICKEL BAY NICK
written by Dean Pitchford, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, $16.99, ISBN 978-0-399-25465-9), 272p, Ages 10+

An embittered and troubled eleven-year-old encounters a reclusive neighbor, who changes his circumstances, alters his future, and saves his family and town at Christmas. With a history of larceny, Sam is well known by the police and in danger of being removed from his struggling single dad's care. Fleeing from the police one evening, he encounters the mysterious Mr. Wells, a reclusive, wealthy neighbor, who anonymously distributes $100 bills at Christmas to Nickel Bay residents, thereby raising their spirits and the town's economy. Unable to participate this year due to a broken leg, Mr. Wells obtains a list of Sam's crimes, blackmails him into becoming the secret Santa, and trains him in skills of a spy, pickpocket, and cat burglar. What results is a well-written, humorous, exciting, and fast-paced tale of rescue, redemption, and second chances. A surprise ending reveals Mr. Wells' motives for becoming involved in Sam's life. Kids will find themselves rooting for this hero every step of the way.

Ages 12+
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GREENGLASS HOUSE
written by Kate Milford, illus. by Jaime Zollars, (Clarion Books, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-544-05270-3), 376p, Ages 11-14

What should have been a relaxing Christmas break for adopted twelve-year-old Milo Pine and his parents, owners of the legendary smugglers inn, Greenglass House, quickly becomes complicated and dangerous when five unexpected guests arrive seeking treasure in the old house. When their belongings begin to disappear, Milo and the cook's daughter, Meddy, begin a role-laying game. Whereas Milo is meek with anxiety and insecurity issues, his character is brave and bold with a sense of observation and creative detective skills, which help him to locate the stolen objects, piece together clues of the house's mysterious past, and solve its connection to a legendary pirate. With its amazing stained glass windows, an attic of antiques, and original home to the famous pirate, Doc Holiday, Greenglass House contains multiple treasures and mysteries on every floor. Smugglers, custom agents, ghost stories, love stories, and stories within stories tell of love, trust, greed, and generosity. This enchanting and charming read, seasoned with fantasy, mystery, and danger, makes for a great holiday choice for middle grade readers.

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MIRACLE ON 49TH STREET
written by Mike Lupica, (Philomel Books, 2006), 288p, Ages 12+

Josh Cameron, superstar point guard to the Boston Celtics, has fame and fortune. When confronted by an unknown 12-year-old daughter, Josh is reluctant to assume fatherhood, but upbeat Molly Parker wants a father badly. As their relationship grows, bachelor Josh realizes that just maybe he also needs a daughter. They both come to understand that love and forgiveness can break down barriers of selfishness and doubt. A host of wonderful supporting characters—a plucky and warmhearted housekeeper, loyal friends, and a greedy, agent—round out this beautifully written story of friendship, family, and unconditional love at Christmas.

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A SEASON OF GIFTS
written by Richard Peck, illus. by Brandon Dorman, (Dial Books, 2009), 176p, Ages 11+

The year is 1958, and eccentric, fearless, and independent Grandma Dowdel from A Year Down Yonder (2000) and A Long Way from Chicago (1998) returns in a heartwarming Christmas story of generosity and courage. The tale is told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Bob, one of three children of a Methodist minister and his wife, who move into a small Illinois town next door to Mrs. Dowdel. Pushing 90 years, toting a gun, taking down neighborhood hoodlums, and raising funds to provide new windows for a rundown church, Mrs. Dowdel intervenes in her clever and capable way to provide a role model for six-year-old Ruth Ann, a teacher of courage to Bob, a friend to mom, and an obstacle to Phyllis's high school antics. Little does the Barnhart family realize that their encounter with Mrs. Dowdel will make this Christmas unforgettable. "She was no church woman, and she didn't neighbor, and Christmas was just another day to her. But she didn't wait for Christmas to give out her gifts. She gave too many. They wouldn't have fit under the tree, not even the tallest blue spruce from the Dempsey's backyard." As always, Richard Peck's characters are strikingly memorable and larger than life.

Over the years, we have researched thousands of children's books, and can recommend some of the best in outstanding children's literature for parents to read aloud and children to read. Our recommendations must meet certain criteria: fun, creative and imaginative stories, delightful illustrations, and excellent for age appropriate listening and reading. We hope that you enjoyed our recommendations. If you desire further information some of the best in children's literature, please visit our website, www.tchliteracy.com.

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