December 2019


Stories from the Past to
Read, Share, and Treasure

Holiday Books

A Christmas Tale

written by Martin Waddell, illus. by Jason Cockcroft, (Little Simon Inspirations, 2004 HC, 2008 Board), 26p,Ages 3-7

On a cold Christmas Eve, Kind Ox shares his stable with Old Dog, Stray Cat, and Small Mouse, as well as Tired Donkey, led by Joseph and carrying Mary, who wonders where their Child will be born. Each is welcomed with the quiet refrain, “There’s always room for a little one here.” With this welcome Jesus is born, the Little One who came to save the world. Jason Cockcroft’s illustrations are unforgettable, and the board book format is a perfect size for little fingers.
Themes: Animals, Families, Holidays


written/illus. by Will Hillenbrand, (Two Lions, 2014), 32p, Ages 3-7

In this wordless wintery adventure, a passing owl drops a magical top hat in the snow and it becomes the perfect hiding place for a passing bunny. A gust of wind picks up the hat and plops it onto a newly made snowman, and he magically comes to life. When the woodland animals place a book in the Snowman’s hands, he begins to read aloud, and all enjoy the story, including the bunny in the hat.

After everyone drifts off to sleep, Bunny steals the book, runs away, and the resulting chase involves a snowball fight, forgiveness, and bunny’s perfectly good reason for borrowing the book.
Themes: Adventure, Holidays, Humor, Wordless


written by Alice Schertle, illus. by Jill McElmurry, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014), 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.
Themes: Holidays, Concept,, Rhythm & Rhyme, Motoring On, Series


Holiday Books
Ages 4 - 8

written by Carolyn Buehner, illus. by Mark Buehner, (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2015), 40p, Ages 4-7

“Once a raggedy little alley mouse / heard an encouraging tale / that a warm spot beneath a kitchen stove / had just gone up for sale. / So Mr. Mouse moved off of the street, / and settled in under the floor / with his dear wife and seventeen children / in nook number twenty-four.”

They soon discover that the human family upstairs is preparing for Christmas with a beautifully decorated tree, delicious smells in the kitchen, stories of a child born long ago, and a jolly elf named Santa, who brings gifts to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus on Christmas day. Inspired, Mr. and Mrs. Mouse decide to prepare, too. Tying a bell around the sleeping cat, Mr. Mouse borrows several items for their tree, while Mrs. Mouse makes pajamas for the kids.

On Christmas day, the little mouse family is surprised with unexpected gifts. Kids will love searching for a three small items hidden on each page, with solutions found on the inside of the dust jacket.
Themes: Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme


The Story of the Other Wise Man

written/illus. by Ted Sieger, (Candlewick Press, 2006), 48p, Ages 4-8

This enchanting holiday fable reminds us of the importance of helping those in need. Few people are aware that behind the Wise Men another king and his trusty camel, Chamberlain, decide to visit the newborn King. However, along the way, King Mazzel stops to rescue a small nomad girl from a sandstorm, guides a lost merchant caravan, gives a small thirsty plant his last drop of water, frees children from slavery, and deters soldiers from pursuing a family fleeing from Bethlehem. Although King Mazzel fails to meet the child, his Christ-like generosity reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.
Themes: Adventure, Heroes, Holidays


written by E. T. A. Hoffmann, illus. by Gail deMarcken, (Orchard Books, 2009), 56p, Ages 4-8

On Christmas Eve, a young girl falls in love with a handsome nutcracker doll, given to her family by Godfather Drosselmeier. When Marie claims him as her own, her godfather explains that the nutcracker was once human. Upon saving the life of a princess, he was turned into a wooden doll by the wicked seven-headed Mouse King.

When the Mouse King and his army threaten Marie, the Nutcracker comes to her rescue and takes Marie to his enchanted Toyland, where she discovers ballet dancers, golden dolphins, and sugared forests. Years later Marie’s nutcracker prince, now human, returns for her, and together they reign over Toyland. Gail deMarcken’s beautiful illustrations perfectly capture this tale of adventure, bravery, and honor. An Introduction provides the history behind the unforgettable story.
Themes: Adventure, Classics, Heroes, Holidays, Toys


written by John M. Neale, illus. by Tim Ladwig, (Eerdmans Books, 2005), 32p, Ages 6-11

Based on actual events that occurred around the 10th century and told through the words of a famous Christmas carol, this lovely story surrounds kind-hearted King Wenceslas and his page as they set out on foot during winter to bring food to a poor man and his family. The endpapers contain a historical note on the Bohemian King Wenceslas.
Themes: Historical Fiction, Holidays


written by Rumer Godden, illus. by Barbara Cooney, (Viking Children’s Books, 2006), 32p, Ages 6+

Six-year-old Ivy, a resident of St. Agnes’s orphanage, wishes for a mom and dad for Christmas. A doll in a toyshop window wishes for a child. A lonely, childless couple long for a child to fill their home for Christmas Discover how they find each other with the help of a lost key, a kind police officer, a baker’s oven, and a green coat. Originally written in 1958, this lovely story will touch a new generation with its kindness and hope.
Themes: Families, Holidays

Holiday Books
Ages 7 - 10

Illus. by Gennady Spirin, (Atheneum Books, 2007), 32p, all ages

Written in 1857, “We Three Kings” is one of the traditional carols that tell of the wise men’s journey to Bethlehem to present valuable gifts to the Christ child. Russian born and award-winning Gennady Spirin is one of the most gifted illustrators of children’s books, and is widely known for his exquisitely detailed illustrations.

Endpapers contain the music and lyrics to the famous carol. This version is more in line with Biblical history, as the kings or Magi traveled in caravans.
Themes: Historical Fiction, Holidays


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

“My father collects tears. That is what they are called: the pearls of sap that seep out of a tree when the bark is cut. Maybe they are called tears because it seems as if the tree is crying.”

A young boy learns his father’s trade by collecting tears (tree resin) also known as myrrh, which they sell to merchants at the spice market. The boy’s largest tear is of interest to a spice merchant for his special customers—three men seeking to add myrrh to their gifts of gold and frankincense for a baby. As they leave, the boy wonders why the three men would desire a spice used in connection with funerals. An Author’s Note explains historical facts about the Magi, Biblical references, and myrrh.
Themes: Historical Fiction, Holidays

Holiday Books
Ages 8 - 11

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

Three sixth graders come together at Christmas and discover friendship, compassion, and generosity. Josie and her dog, Clementine, volunteer in the pediatric ward at Frost Ridge hospital, where she dresses in silly costumes, performs, and sings favorite carols for the kids. Oscar, a troubled student, is sent by the principal to work at the hospital after school as punishment for bad behavior. Gabby, a popular student with a secret, finds herself in the hospital as a patient. After the hospital's annual Christmas Festival is canceled, the three decide to work together and find a way to save the holiday festivities. When Clementine goes missing, friendships are tested, lessons are learned, attitudes are changed, and fears are overcome. Kids will enjoy this touching and heartwarming story of friendship and an unwavering love for a very special dog.
Themes: Friendship, Holidays, Pets


A Christmas That Changed the World

written by Douglas Wood, illus. by Barry Moser, ( Candlewick Press, 2011), 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. It is a time of meetings, negotiations, strategies, and an alliance that would change the world.

Even world leaders have their quirks—staying up late talking and often dropping into each other’s rooms for discussions. “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.
Themes: Famous People, Heroes, Historical Fiction, Holidays

Holiday Books
Ages 10-13

written by Dean Pitchford, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2013), 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.
Themes: Friendship, Heroes, Holidays


written by Sherri L. Smith, illus. by Sarah Watts, (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2015), 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 father is kidnapped and he is offered an apprenticeship to his cousin, Christopher Drosselmeyer, clock maker to the King of Boldavia. Together with Christopher and an Arab travelling companion, Stefan begins a quest 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.
Themes: Adventure, Folk Literature, Heroes, Holidays


Holiday Books
Ages 12 - 15

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 (Dial, 2000) and A Long Way from Chicago (Dial, 1998) returns in a heartwarming Christmas story of generosity and courage.

The tale is told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Bob Batnhart, whose family moves 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 becomes 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 their 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.
Themes: Friendship, Heroes, Holidays


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Welcome to The Storytellers, a monthly newsletter of outstanding children’s literature to read and read aloud from preschoolers to teens.

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.

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written by Kevin Tseng, illus. by Dana Wulfekotte, (Dial Books for Young Readers, $16.99, Nov. 2019, ISBN 978-0-7352-3041-5), 32p, Ages 3-5

“One snowy morning... two friends found the oddest things stuck in a giant pile of snow.” Perplexed about the lump of snow with its stick legs (arms), kick balls (coal for eyes), a rowboat (top hat), curtain (scarf), fish puppets (mittens) dragon tooth (carrot), and shields (buttons), chipmunk and squirrel take the items home and throw a party for friends. The hat makes a table, the scarf a tablecloth, buttons become plates, mittens make perfect hats, and the dragon tooth soup is delicious. In the morning they return everything to the lump of snow, well almost everything and almost where they found it. Lots of snowy fun and warm giggles await little ones in this sweet story of sharing.
        Themes: Animals, Friendship, Holidays, Humor


written/illus. by Jan Fearnley, (Noisy Crow, $16.99, Sept 2019, ISBN
978-1-5362-0825-2), 32p, Ages 2-5

“It was one week before Christmas and Little Robin was getting very excited. He sets out his seven warm vests for the frosty days ahead.” Each day, wearing a different vest, he encounters an animal, struggling to stay warm, and thoughtfully offers to share his vest.

The white vest goes to Frog, the green one is shared with Hedgehog, and the pink vest is given to Mole, all shivering from the cold. When Little Robin meets Squirrel in an oak tree, he hands over his yellow vest to help him sleep warmer. With three vests left, Little Robin encounters shivering Rabbit, who is given the blue vest and wears it as a hat with his long ears sticking out of the arm holes. Skipping along with riverbank, he encounters Otter trying to keep her baby warm, and the purple vest is a perfect fit the little one. The last orange vest, is kindly given to a freezing little mouse.

In this sweet holiday tale of sharing, find out how a familiar figure comes to the rescue and rewards Little Robin’s kindness by providing him with a newly knitted red vest (for which he is known today).
        Themes: Animals, Heroes, Holidays, Seasons


written/illus. by Will Hillenbrand, (Two Lions, $17.99, Sept. 2019, ISBN
978-1542043380), 32p, Ages 3-6 (Pre/K)

It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s reindeer are missing. It seems that the reindeer have forgotten their annual tradition and are busy spinning, jigging, dancing, howling, and practicing take-offs. Santa uses his all-call horn, rings the sleigh bells, and loudly calls for them to come home, but nothing works, until he remembers his Christmas Eve tradition of reading a famous Christmas poem. Calling out “STORY TIME,” the reindeer gather around to listen to "'Twas the Night Before Christmas.” In this cheerful holiday tribute to storytelling, the reindeer thank Santa for reading to them and fly off for their annual Christmas Eve journey around the world.
        Themes: Fantasy, Holidays

Ages 4-8

written by Bruno Hächler, Illus. by Anastasia Arkhipova. (minedition, October 2019, $17.99, ISBN
978-988-8341-63-4), 32p, Ages 3-7

“It was Christmas Eve. A teddy bear with a red bow tie sat forgotten on the bookshelf, waiting for something to happen. He had been waiting there for years. His fur had become dull and shaggy, but his eyes still glinted like they did when he was first held in a child’s arms. He was the first bear to disappear.”

Teddy bears all over town gather to begin a secret mission to remind families of the true spirit of Christmas. At the stroke of midnight the teddies sneak into homes, remove the gifts and substitute notes that remind people what they have forgotten at this time of the year. Find out how the notes change hearts and lives throughout the town. Oh yes, and discover what happened to all the teddy bears and the gifts. Whether young or young-at-heart, everyone should enjoy this warm reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.
Themes: Families, Heroes, Holidays, Toys


written by Michael Brown, illus. by Elfrieda De Witt, (Little Simon, $17.99, Sept. 2019, ISBN 978-1-5344-33793-7), 32p, Ages 4-7

This charming holiday story, first published in 1966, tells of a lonely mouse, with no name, who resides in an empty old mansion on Christmas Eve. Deciding that Santa never receives presents, he wraps up a delicious piece of cheese that he saved all year, leaves it for Santa, and goes to bed. What a surprise Christmas morning to find a thankful Santa giving him a new name and a new job as Santa’s helper. “Then over all the rooftops, / on a journey with no end, / away they went together, / Santa with his tiny friend.” After listening to this delightful story of giving and receiving, don't be surprised if children leave a piece of cheese for Santa Mouse on Christmas Eve.
        Themes: Animals, Holidays, Series
Other in the Series: Santa Mouse, Where Are You?


ONE WILD CHRISTMAS (Life in the Wild series)
written/illus. by Nicholas Oldland, (Kids Can Press, $16.99, Sept. 2019, ISBN 978-1-5253-0203-9), 32p, Ages 4-7

Great friends, Moose, Beaver, and Bear look forward to a great Christmas. As they prepare food, hang stockings, put up lights, and wrap presents, they realize one thing is missing—a tree. The three friends search the forest for a perfect tree, eventually finding a beautiful pine, but Bear is concerned about saving his precious forest, and he stops beaver and the moose from cutting down the tree. “The bear was happy the tree was safe, but he worried that his love of trees might ruin their Christmas. Then he had an idea.” Find out how compromise and friendship result in a very special tree-hugging Christmas for three diverse friends.
        Themes: Animals, FR, HO, Series
Others in the Series: Big Bear Hug (2009) Making the Moose Out of Life (2010), The Busy Beaver (2011), Up the Creek (2013), Walk on the Wild Side (2015)


written by Kate Westerlund, illus. by Eve Tharlet, (minedition, $17.99, October 2019, ISBN 978-988-8341-84-9), 32p, Ages 5-7

This year, with an unusual amount of snow, the forest animals realize that Christmas will be bleak with little food. When Clara’s mother worries about the lack of food, Clara wishes on a star, and hears bells in the distance. Her friends, the squirrels, rabbits, and birds, join the search for the bells and discover nuts, berries and Osgood the donkey, who tells them the story behind all the magical treats. “‘The children from the farms have been worried that with so much snow you might not have enough to eat,’ said Osgood. ‘I helped them carry things, and they placed the food in indifferent spots so you could find it. Then they decorated this tree for Christmas.’” Osgood, with his bridle of bells, then tells them the story of the first Christmas. Kids will especially love Clara’s ear warmers in this delightful tale of sharing and kindness at Christmas.
        Themes: Animals, Holidays, Nature, Seasons


written/illus. by Matt Tavares, (Candlewick Press, $17.99, Sept. 2019, ISBN 978-1-5362-0137-6), 40p, Ages 4-7)

This beautiful and elegant story explains how a family of reindeer becomes Santa’s eight Christmas flyers with the help of a doe named Dasher. “There was a time, long ago, when Santa’s sleigh was pulled, not by a team of reindeer but by a single horse named Silverbell.” As Santa’s load increases, Silverbell struggles to pull the sleigh, until a reindeer by the name of Dasher daringly escapes a traveling circus, searches for the North Star, and meets a man dressed in red, who is struggling with his horse. Dasher offers to help, and “All night, Dasher and Silverbell pulled Santa’s sleigh through the air as Santa guided it from rooftop to rooftop, delivering toys to children everywhere.”

Find out how Santa helps Dasher rescue her remaining family from J.P. Finnegan’s Traveling circus and Menagerie, find a wonderful home, and live happily ever after. Children will enjoy the magical illustrations that accompany this delightful prequel to the classical “A Visit From St. Nicholas.”
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Families, Holidays


written/illus. by Thierry Dedieu, (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, $17.99, August 2019, ISBN 978-0-8028-5526-8), 40p, Ages 4-7

Snowman is a friend to all the woodland animals, especially Squirrel, Rabbit, Hedgehog, and Owl, who enjoy listening to his amazing tales of far away places, playing his wonderful games, and listening to his riddles. As the weather begins to change, the Snowman begins to melt and finally disappears. Devastated, the animals turn to Master Bear, who teaches them, “about how snow melts and water naturally flows from the mountains down to the sea.” Remembering how Snowman desired to learn to swim, they race down the mountain, make a raft, and search for any trace of him in the ocean. Discouraged, they head home, only to find him in a most unexpected place, telling them about his recent adventures over Tibet, the great white tiger, and promising to return with the next snowfall. Kids will love the delightful illustrations that make the characters come alive.
        Themes: Adventure, Animals, Friendship, Nature, Seasons

Ages 7-10

Magic Tree House. Merlin Mission Book 1

written by Mary Pope Osborne, illus. by Antonio Javier Caparo, (Random House Books for Young Readers, $18.99, October 2019, ISBN
978-1-9848-9519-6), 144p, Ages 7-10

This holiday season in the Magic Tree House series, Jack and Annie from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania, receive a Royal Invitation to spend Christmas Eve in the Kingdom of Camelot. Once there, they soon realize that Camelot may end forever, unless they solve three rhymes given by the Christmas Knight. As they travel to the Otherworld to bring back the Water of Memory and Imagination to Camelot, foes are overcome, knights are rescued, rhyming clues are solved, Camelot is restored to its former glory, and the wizard behind it all is revealed. Originally published in 2001, this updated Deluxe Holiday Edition contains newly illustrated artwork that readers will treasure. A Note from the Author explains how the story was influenced by Celtic myths and legends that have been handed down through the ages.
         Themes: Adventure, Families, Fantasy, Folk Literature, Heroes, Series

Ages 8-11

written by Catherine Hapka, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, $14.99, October 2019, ISBN 978-0-358-05184-8), 240p, Ages 8-11

Peppermint Bark helps herd Santa’s reindeer and keeps track of the elves, but he’s never been allowed on any of Santa’s Christmas Eve trips, until now. After stowing away in Santa’s sleigh, he accidentally becomes wedged in the chimney on Chris and Holly Kerstman’s roof, and is left behind by Santa. When he is rescued by the kids, they are amazed that not only does his breath smell minty and jingle bells can be heard when his tale wages, but he has the ability to talk.

After explaining his predicament, the kids and a friend work together to locate a portal that will return Peppermint to the North Pole before midnight on Christmas day, or the gates to the North Pole will close until next Christmas Eve. They experience all kinds of trouble, as do two elves, who have been sent to find the missing puppy. Kids will enjoy this heartwarming and action-filled Christmas tale of adventure, friendship, and the most exciting Christmas ever for Santa Puppy, the Kerstman kids, and Santa.
        Themes: Families, Friendship, Heroes, Humor, Holidays, Pets

These are the magical stories, full of imagination and fun. These are the stories that take children into a world of delightful imagination and adventure. These are the stories that present storytelling at its best.


written by Clement C. Moore, illus. by Charles Santore, (Applesauce Press, Oct. 2011), 44p, Ages 4-8

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 sleeping family discovers “a right jolly old elf” in his living room placing toys under their Christmas tree.

Upon completing his task, an ash-tarnished Santa winks, nods, zooms up the chimney, and leaves in a sleigh pulled by eight miniature reindeer. This charming and memorable tale, accompanied by exquisite illustrations from award-winning artist Charles Santore, should be read as a Christmas tradition every year.
        Themes: Classics, Holidays, Rhythm & Rhyme


written by Hans Christian Andersen, retold by Tor Siedler, illus. by Fred Marcellino, (Michael di Capua Books, 1992, 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.
        Themes: Classics, Heroes, Holidays


CHRISTMAS COOKIES: Bite-Size Holiday Lessons
written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Jane Dyer, (HarperCollins Books, 2008), 40p, Ages 5-10

Wisdom for the holidays comes together with appealing illustrations in a delightful sequel to Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons. Basic concepts and feelings are incorporated into a clever sort of dictionary surrounding Christmas. From “Anticipation” (thinking about making cookies), “Appreciation” (thanking the baker), and “Moderation” (eating just enough cookies) to “Frustrated” (burned cookies), “Perseverance” (trying again), “Thoughtful” (sharing with a neighbor), and “Gratitude” (thankful for cookies and family), 23 holiday lessons are presented for children’s enjoyment and education. Endpapers reveal a Christmas sugar cookie recipe.
        Themes: Concept, Food, Holidays, Values


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

In Jewish folklore, tales are told about the kindhearted but foolish people of Chelm, who manage to turn the easiest tasks into monumental quests. Mendel, a good-natured, hard-working caretaker of the synagogue, needs a table to hold the menorah on the first night of Chanukah. In the storage closet, the caretaker is unable to locate a table (he’s leaning on it), so he borrows one from the local workshop, Tables Are Us. On the way home, Mendel decides the table is too heavy and concludes that since it has four legs, it could very well walk by itself. Humorous dialogue balloons in which the characters comment on the events add a zany flavor to this Polish folktale.
        Themes: Folk Literature, Holidays, Humor


written by Richard Simon/Tanya Simon, illus. by Mark Siegel, (Roaring Brook Press, $17.99, Sept. 2015, ISBN 978-1-59643-949-8), 40p, Ages 4-8

“Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.” With this reminder from his father, in 1938 on Christmas Eve and the seventh day of Hanukkah, a young Jewish refugee arrives by ship from Nazi Europe with a photograph and address of an unknown aunt. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan (100 blocks), he encounters kind New Yorkers, who bless him with gifts of food, mittens, music, and even the very first Superman comic.

Each small act of kindness welcomes Oskar into a new life in a country where miracles happen, especially during the holidays. Endpapers feature a map of Manhattan and Oskar's route from the Battery, past Union Square, Herald Square, Carnegie Hall, and Central Park to Aunt Ester's home. The engaging illustrations bring this story of kindness and generosity to life during a dark period in world history.
        Themes: Historical Fiction, Holidays, Friendship


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

“Jonathan Toomey seldom smiled and never laughed. He went about mumbling and grumbling, muttering and sputtering, grumping and griping. He complained that the church bells rang too often, that the birds sang too shrilly, that the children played too loudly.” A woodcarver by trade, Jonathan was lonely and mourning the loss of his wife and child.

Before Christmas a widow requests a manger scene and asks that her son, an aspiring woodcarver, watch the process. Gradually over the next few visits the boy offers suggestions, and the widow brings small gifts of food. Slowly Jonathan changes from a sad, lonely woodcarver into a caring and joyful human being, transformed by the miracle of love and hope at Christmastime. This simple and heartwarming story has been enjoyed as a Christmas classic for years since written in 1985.
        Themes: Classics, Families, Holidays


written by Charles Dickens, illus. by P. J. Lynch, (1843, Candlewick Press, 2006), 160p, Ages 10+

This newly illustrated, unabridged edition of a classic holiday tale tells of love, goodwill, mercy, and redemption. On Christmas Eve in Victorian England, old, miserly Ebenezer Scrooge encounters three spirits: Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. Each spirit teaches him the meaning of Christmas by reviewing his past, disclosing his present, and foretelling his grim future. Can Scrooge reverse his miserable destiny and change his cold heart? Every Christmas we should try to read the timeless story that was first published in 1843. P. J. Lynch’s lavish illustrations definitely enhance this spectacular edition.
        Themes: Classics, Families, Holidays

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,

The Children's Hour
2966 S Church St #309
Burlington, NC 27215



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2966 S Church St #309, Burlington, NC 27215
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