In the dark and cobwebby recesses of my basement is a stack of red and green Christmas tubs, one of which is labeled "Books." These books come out during Advent and disappear in January. The titles are both secular and religious, and some have nothing to do with Christmas at all, they just feel Christmasy to me. This list will increase each year, and I'm including our 2011 additions (even though we haven't gotten them yet, shh!). I've starred my favorites.
Miracle on 34th Street
by Valentine Davies
by Charles Dickens, includes A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth
*The Night Before Christmas
by Clement C. Moore, There are several editions of this by different illustrators. Ours happens to be illustrated by Bruce Whatley. He lends a cowboy flair to the story. "As dry leaves that before the hurricane fly," my favorite line.
The Obscure and Largely out of print:
Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico
by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
Tasha Tudor's Advent Calendar
by Tasha Tudor
, a Little Golden Book arranged by Marjorie Wyckhoff, pictures by one of my favorite illustrators (right up there with Tasha Tudor) Corinne Malvern
Frosty the Snowman
, a Little Golden Book retold by Annie North Bedford, pictures by Corinne Malvern
A Gift from St. Francis: the First Creche
by Joanna Cole
by Jan Haley
Saint Nicholas: The Story of the real Santa Claus
retold by Mary Joslin
The Real Santa Claus
by Marianna Mayer
A Special Place for Santa
by Jeanne Pieper
by Rev. Jude Winkler
The Story of the Nativity
by Elizabeth Winthrop
*The Gingerbread Man
retold by Jim Aylesworth. Jim Aylesworth was a teacher in Oak Park, Illinois, where my husband went to grade school. Mr. Aylesworth had a loft for storytime in his classroom. It's always been my husband's sorrow that he was in the other class. Mr. Aylesworth tells great tales, wonderful for reading out loud and his illustrator, Barbara McClintock is fabulous too. You can't go wrong with anything by Jim Aylesworth.
Dick and Jane: A Christmas Story
, illustrated by Larry Ruppert
*Miracle on 10th Street and other Christmas writings
by Madeleine L'Engle
*The Kitchen Madonna
by Rumer Godden
*The Dean's Watch
by Elizabeth Goudge. This book may be found in the adult fiction section of your library. Nothing inappropriate for kids', but written for grown-ups.
New this year:
That's Not My Donkey
by Fiona Watt, a touchy feely board book for the baby in the house.
The Usborne Advent Nativity Book
retold by Felicity Brooks. Makes a stand alone Nativity set out of cardboard puzzle pieces.
Advent Calendar to Color
by Stella Baggott. St. Nicholas brought this one, and the eight year old loves it!
And one more thing, Dover
is a great place to find coloring books, how to books, sticker books, temporary tattoo books, and my favorite, paper doll books. The prices are good and the quality is amazing. This year, my people will be getting the Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls
, What to Doodle? Fantastic Fantasy
, Little Women Paper Dolls
, Samurai Warriors Coloring Book
, Figure Skating Coloring Book
, Greek Gods and Goddesses Coloring Book
, and Fashions of the First Ladies Coloring Book.
By the way, Dover and Usborne Books have never heard of me, and this shout out does not win me any free books or anything. Though I wouldn't mind sponsors, then I could do giveaways!
To see more of Jessica Thornton's blog, go to "A Catholic Mom's Guide to Books"