December 2017

Great Holiday Books


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


written/illus. by Jennifer Sattler, (Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2014), 32p, Ages 3-6


written by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014), 24p, Ages 2-4


written by Deborah Diesen, illus. by Dan Hanna, (Farrar Straus Giroux Books, 2015,), 32p, Ages 2-6


written by Martin Waddell, illus. by Jason Cockcroft, (Little Simon Inspirations, HC 2004, 2008 Board), 26p, Ages 3+


Ages 4-8
Great Holiday Books


written by Hallie Durand, illus. by David Small, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2014), 32p, Ages 4-7


written by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Betsy Lewin, (Antheneum Books, 2015), 40p, Ages 4-8


written/illus. by Frans Vischer, (Aladdin, 2013), 32p, Ages 4-7


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


THE BAKER'S DOZEN: A Saint Nicholas Tale
written by Aaron Shepard, illus. by Wendy Edelson, Antheneum Books, 1995), 32p, Ages 5-8


written by Lisa Wheeler, illus. by Jerry Pinkney, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2016), 32p, Ages 4-8


written by Kate DiCamillo, illus. by Bagram Ibatoulline, (Candlewick Press, 2007), 32p, Ages 4-8

Ages 8-12
Great Holiday Books

written by Susan Wojciechowski, illus. by P. J. Lunch, (Candlewick Press, 1985/1995/2015), 40p, Ages 8-11


written by Daphne Benedis-Grab, (Scholastic Press, Aug. 2015), 256p, Ages 8-12

Ages 10-13
Great Holiday Books


written by Charles Dickens, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (Candlewick Press, 2006), 160p, Ages 10+


written by Kate Milford, illus. by Jaime Zollars, (Clarion Books, 2014), 376p, Ages 10-14


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

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 teens.

The best children's books contain imaginative stories, memorable characters, beautiful illustrations, and lyrical language. Well-written stories should contain heroes and role models to imitate. Whatever the genre, a great book should be an enjoyable read, and contain heart, humor, hope, and a happy ending.

The holidays are for family, friends, tradition, and memories. This is also a perfect time for reading and reading aloud great children's books, and we hope you will enjoy our selections.

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


A SONG FOR SNOW #2 (Hoot and Peep series)
written/illus. by Lita Judge, (Dial Books, Nov. 2017, $17.99, ISBN 978-1-101-99451-1), 40p, Ages 3-6

The adorable owl siblings from Hoot and Peep (2016), return to experience a new phenomenon for Peep—Snow! "It was Peep's first winter, and she cuddled close to her big brother, Hoot. 'Brrr, the air is crisp tonight,' said Hoot. 'Snow will come soon,'" Of course, Peep has lots of questions about snow—When does she arrive? Does it drop like rain, "ploppety splop?" Is it like the rain's song, "Swish swooooooo?" Does it sound like falling leaves, "scrrinkle scrattle?" Hoot remembers that it is cold and wisely bundles Peep up with a warm scarf. Not willing to wait, Peep decides to search for snow herself, when suddenly white flakes begin to fall. "Peep realized how wise her big brother had been to wait quietly to welcome the snow." As the flakes cover their world with its white enchantment, Peep makes up a snow song of "Schweepity thwap, thwap." Kids will like Hoot's wisdom and Peep's cute song as they enjoy a new season filled with excitement, happiness, and magic. The illustrations are so darling that kids may just want to keep these two siblings closer.


written/illus. by Karel Hayes, (Down East Books, $16.95, Sept. 2013, ISBN 978-1-60893-248-1), 32p, Ages 3-7

At the last minute a family decides to spend Christmas at their cottage in the mountains, unaware that a family of bears has taken up residence for the holidays. In a series of misadventures the family arrives to find no Christmas trees, turkey, or decorations available, but in the cottage they find a Christmas tree in their living room, which the bears conveniently left for them before sneaking out the back door. On Christmas Eve with the family sleeping, the bears sneak back to cottage to finish their decorating, and that night they dream of ice skating at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Kids will love this delightful story of two families enjoying the holiday celebrations, especially when the youngest child sneaks down the stairs to find the bears preparing the surprise for the family.


written/illus. by Zebo Ludvicek, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, Nov. 2017, $16.99,
ISBN 978-1-101-99636-2), 40p, Ages 3-5

An irresistible little mouse carries a big, beautiful cherry that letter M (pictured with eyes and a mouth) would love to taste. Reluctantly, Mouse shares one bite, but M pronounces it "Marvelous" and proceeds to consume the whole cherry. In return, M offers Mouse a nibble of himself, which becomes several nibbles and turns M into the letter N. Full of the munchies, Mouse take a nap on the side of the N, pulling it over to become the letter Z. When a lightning storm breaks off Z's top, it becomes a lopsided L, Determined to return M to its original shape, Mouse maneuvers the leftover pieces into the letter C, then U, then H, and finally back to the original M, who declares Mouse marvelous and his forever friend, "Cause there is no Mouse , , , without an M." Kids and adults will love the gorgeous artwork and the clever interactive story that makes a great addition to a home library.


written by Carmela Lavigna Coyle, illus. by Steve Gray, (Muddy Boots, Oct. 2017, $15.95,
ISBN 978-1-63076-306-0), 32p, Ages 3-7

Ride along with the Wild Zoo Train as it travels to amazing wild habitats within the zoo, which seem to be missing from the city zoo tour map. "'All aboard the Wild Zoo Train! First stop—CANYONLANDS!' calls the conductor." With a "Clickety-clack," "Choo-Choo-Choo," "Ding-ding-ding," and "Tooot-Toooot" readers and listeners travel to the Amazon Jungle, where the passengers don rain ponchos while watching for jaguars, monkeys, and toucans. Next stop is the African Savanna, where passengers need sunglasses to watch for "zebras and cheetahs, baboons and hyenas; elephants and pythons, and flap-necked chameleons!" Parkas are required for the next destination in Antarctica, as passengers watch for rockhoppers, penguins, and the long-tailed gentoo. As the train proceeds down the track, several hitchhikers jump on to enjoy the ride. (coyote, monkey, toucan, and elephant).The final destination is a fun one—the Moon. Kids will enjoy the repetition and rhyming as they search and find the animals in each habitat. Colorful, crazy, and loaded with fun, this wild train trip is a must for all little ones.

Ages 4-8

written/illus. by Matt Tavares, (Candlewick Press, Sept. 2017, $17.99, ISBN 978-0-7636-7733-6), 40p, Ages 4-7

Red and Lulu are a pair of cardinals, who make their home among the branches of a huge evergreen tree." Their nests were always safe in its branches. Once a year the tree is decorated and they sing along with neighborhood families to the famous Christmas carol, O Christmas Tree. One winter morning Red returns from hunting food only to discover their tree is being trucked away with Lulu still in the branches. Following the truck into New York City, Red tires and loses sight of it. As snow begins to fall, Red's frantic search for Lulu ends when he hears a familiar song, O Christmas Tree, which leads him to a tree, now illuminated in Rockefeller Center with Lulu in it. Their tree is removed after the holidays, but the birds discover a new home in Central Park. "Now every year, when the air turns cold, Red and Lulu take a special trip. And when the crowd comes to sing, they sit together, snuggled close on a snowy branch, and listen. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree, Thy leaves are so unchanging … Sometimes they even sing along." Author's note explains the history of the Rockefeller Center tree, the annual tree-lighting ceremony, and the charitable organization that receives the tree after the holidays.


written/illus. by Bonny Becker, illus. by Kady MacDonald Denton, (Candlewick Press, Sept. 2017, $16.99, ISBN 978-978-0-7636-4923-4), 48p, Ages 4-8

"Bear had never had a real Christmas. He'd never had a tree with a sparkling star, or candy canes, or even gingerbread bears. But he'd read all about it. Clearly, the most important thing was pickles." The delightful Bear and Mouse duo return to celebrate Christmas with a party, surprises, presents, poems, and pickles. Hosting his first Christmas party, Bear thinks that Christmas pickles and the reading of a difficult poem ("A Visit from St. Nicholas") are more important to a party, while Mouse feels that presents are essential, as He searches the house for his present. When Bear loudly points out the stocking hanging from the fireplace, Mouse happily discovers a "shiny silver telescope." Outside Mouse views the night sky and Bear wonders about his present. When Mouse points his telescope to a huge red bow under a snow-covered tree, Bear is overjoyed to find a sled with "shiny red runners." Concluding that they are the best of friends, the duo enjoys a fun ride under the bright stars of Christmas.


written by Clement C. Moore, illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo, (Little Simon, 1822, 2017), 40p, Ages 4-7

Written as a Christmas present for his children in 1822, Dr. Moore's classic poem tells the story of a magical visit one Christmas Eve from Santa Claus. Hearing clatter on his roof, the father of a modern day sleeping family discovers "a right jolly old elf" in his living room placing toys under their Christmas tree. Upon completing his task, Santa winks, nods, zooms up the chimney, and leaves in a sleigh pulled by eight miniature reindeer. This charming and classic tale should be in all home libraries for reading every year.


written/illus. by Marijke Simmons, (Nimbus Publishing, $22.95, Oct. 2017,
ISBN 978-1-77108-550-2), 32p, Ages 4-8

In 1917 an explosion in Halifax Harbor injured many and destroyed much of the city. Help came in the form of doctors and nurses from Boston. To repay their kindness, every year since 1971, Halifax sends a Christmas tree to Boston as a thank you gift. This year the chosen spruce tree contains two small flying squirrels, which have no idea that they soon will travel from the Canadian island of Cape Breton, across Nova Scotia, ferried over New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy, and into the United States. When the truck arrives in Boston and stops for a red light, the squirrels manage to escape from the tree. As they sail past statues of Paul Revere and George Washington, they find a perfect tree to call home on the Boston Common, where they watch their old spruce tree light up for Christmas. "This new tree had a hole! The hole was cozy and perfect for a new home in a new place. Below them, the crowd yelled: 'FIVE! FOUR! THREE! TWO! ONE!" This delightful holiday story not only demonstrates the kindness and generosity of one country and people to another at Christmastime, but explains the interesting history behind the Boston Christmas Tree.


written by Hans Christian Andersen, retold by Tor Siedler, illus. by Fred Marcellino, (Michael di Capua Books, 1995, Atheneum Books, 2017), 32p, Ages 5-8

First published at Christmastime in 1838, this enchanting tale tells of a discarded one-legged tin soldier, who sees a paper ballerina dancing on one leg, and loves her from afar. One Christmas a young boy receives 25 tin soldiers standing at attention in their red and blue uniforms, except for one who was missing a leg. "He was the last to be cast, and the tin had run out. But he stood a steadily on his single leg as the others did on two—and of them all, he was the one destined for greatness." From a distance he admires a beautiful paper ballerina, who is also balanced on one leg. Through a series of unusual events, the tin solder falls off the boy's windowsill into a stream, travels down a sewer, is swallowed by a fish, and eventually reunited with the boy. When a thoughtless child throws the tin soldier into the fireplace, the ballerina joins him via a gust of wind. This holiday classic of romance, endurance, and heroism is a special holiday treat for all ages.


SANTA CALLS (The World of William Joyce)
written/illus. by William Joyce, (Atheneum Books, $18.99, Oct. 2017, ISBN 978-1-4814-8959-1), 40p, Ages 7+

"If Art had one flaw, it was that he was often mean to his sister Esther. But that was all before the amazing Christmas of 1908. Before the Great Adventure. Before the mysterious box arrived and changed young Art forever." Right before Christmas Art Atchinson Aimesworth, his best friend, Spaulding Littlefeets, and his sister Esther discover a mysterious box with the initials S.C. on the side and a note: "Open the box. Assemble the contents. Come NORTH. Yours, S. C." Thus begins a holideay adventure beyond their wildest dreams as they fly in the rebuilt Yuletide Flyer to the North Pole to meet Santa. On the way, they are attacked by the Queen of the Dark Elves, manage to fight her off with snowballs, safely land at the North Pole, and are greeted by Santa. Whenever Art inquires as to why they were summoned, Santa replies, "Some mysteries are best left unsolved." After Esther is kidnapped by the evil Queen, Art and Spaulding fight back with Candy Bombs and licorice to rescue her. Art never receives an answer to his question, but readers will understand from the two letters found in the endpapers. Kids will love the elaborate illustrations in this fun holiday storytelling adventure.

Ages 8-12

written by Kristin Kladstrup, illus. by Brett Helquist, (Candlewick Press, Oct. 2017, $17.99,
ISBN 978-0-7636-8519-5), 336p, Ages 9-12

The year is 1892, and a new ballet, The Nutcracker: A Ballet in Two Acts with music by Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky, will be preformed at the historic Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg for Christmas. Hidden behind the walls of the theater are the smallest of ballet fans, the Mariinsky Mice, who are planning their own production to the same music of the Nutcracker with a slight alteration in the story—the mice are the heroes and fight off the evil Nutcracker. With the help of a group of mice, two rats, Irina, the nine-year-old daughter of the theater's custodian, rehearsals begin with Esmeralda playing n lead role of Clara. Conflicts, danger, and trials arise with difficult sets, costumes, mouse traps, peppermint, cats, and Esmeralda's unruly tail. Despite delays, Esmeralda and the mice display determination, courage, and inventiveness and dance their charming interpretation to Tchaikovsky's beautiful music and an enchanted audience of mice. Filled with marvelous illustrations, exciting adventure, endearing characters, old-fashioned drama, and a touch of holiday magic, this little treasure is sure to become a holiday classic. The Author's Note explains the history of the original performance at the Mariinsky Theater.


written by Ann M. Martin & Annie Parnell, illus. by Ben Hatke, (Feiwell & Friends, Sept. 2017, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-250-07170-5), 240p, Ages 8-11

Missy from Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure (2016) returns in her second adventure with a temperamental upside-down house and the misbehaving children of Little Spring Valley. Five-year-old genius Marvel Treadupon's family are desperate for Missy's Smarty-Pants Cure, eight-year-old Egmont Dolittle, needs Missy's highly creative Won't-Walk-the-Dog-Cure, Austin and Houston Forthright receive a Whinny-Whiners cure, and Wareford Montpelier, who woke up on the wrong side of the bed, frantically needs the Woe-Is-Me Cure. When a violent storm blows through Little Spring Valley, damaging the upside-down house, expensive repairs are needed, and the house is unhappy and uncooperative. Money is tight for repairs, until Missy discovers the missing Silver Key, which her aunt, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle left behind when she went looking for her husband. Readers will love Missy's menagerie of animals including Lester, the butler pig, Penelope the talking parrot, who announces all visitors, Wag the dog, Warren the gander, Evelyn Goose, Martha and Millard Mallard, the duck couple, Trotsky the horse, and Heather the cow.

Ages 10-13

written by Dean Pitchford, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, $16.99, Oct. 2013, 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 kid every step of the way.


written by Sherri L. Smith, illus. by Sarah Watts, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, $16.99, Oct. 2015,
ISBN 978-0-399-25295-2), 400p, Ages 10-14

In this re-imagining of E.T.A Hoffmann's "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," young Stefan Drosselmeyer, apprentice to his toymaker father, is recruited by a long lost cousin to locate a mysterious nut and save a princess. In early 19th century Nuremberg, Stefan's world suddenly changes when his mother dies, and he is offered an apprenticeship to his cousin, Christopher Drosselmeyer, clock maker to the King of Boldavia. Christopher is on a seven-year quest to find the Krakatook, a rare, mythical nut that can cure the King's daughter, cursed by the vengeful Queen of Mice and turned into a wooden doll. When Stefan's father is kidnapped, Stefan joins Christopher and his Arab traveling companion/jailor to the mouse kingdom of Boldavia to rescue his father, cure a princess, and battle the Queen and her seven-headed mouse princes, who have sworn to destroy the Drosselmeyer family and take over the human world. Alternating chapters tell the story of Ernest Listz, a well educated rat, who is hired by the Mouse Queen to tutor her children. Readers will enjoy the mechanical toys, scholarly squirrels and their Pagoda Tree, magical curses, clock making guilds, talking mice, and a grand battle in Nuremberg on Christmas Eve. In this complex tale of family devotion, revenge, and rescue at Christmastime, lessons of arrogance, pride and vanity await readers, along with a brave young hero fighting evil in a world on the brink of war.

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,

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