Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Favorite Christmas Books

This was SO HARD to narrow down my favorite Christmas books! We have two basketsfull sitting by our fireplace. Expect another post in a month or so on my favorite winter books because that's my sneaky way of sharing a few more favorites. ;-)

The Tale of The Three Trees--I don't think I have ever made it through this book without crying. Three little trees dream about their futures--one wishes to hold treasure, one wants to be a great sailing ship, and another wants to stand tall on the mountain and point to heaven. The three trees grow up and are chopped down. One becomes a lowly feed box for animals, but one night a mother puts her baby in the box and the little tree knows he is holding the greatest treasure in the world. The second tree becomes a little fishing boat, and one night when a man calms the storm, the tree knows he is carrying the King of heaven and earth. And the third tree is sawn into beams and left in a woodpile until the day she becomes the Savior's cross--when He is resurrected, she knows that "God's love had changed had made the first tree beautiful. It had made the second tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God."
Seriously, I cry every time--it's such a beautiful little book.


The Friendly Beasts, illustrated by Tomie dePaola, is another fabulous one--it's an old English carol. The donkey, cow, sheep, and dove each take turns telling how they played a part in the Savior's first days on earth. It's a very simple tune with beautiful words, and my children all love to take turns singing different parts. The illustrations for this one are simple and lovely.

We love these sing-aloud books for Christmas, apparently, because I have three more favorite carols-turned-books! 

Good King Wenceslas is one of our favorite carols--I still remember Juliet singing loudly "Good King Wence is lost, looked out," when she was two or so. This version is beautifully illustrated and includes the full text, plus some simple sheet music in the back which Isaac is currently playing as I type. I love the message of this carol--the mighty serving the lowly: "Therefore, gentle folk, be sure, Wealth or rank possessing, Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing."

Perhaps my very favorite Christmas carol of them all is the Little Drummer Boy. I've searched for years and years to find a book about the carol, and last year I finally found this one! (Bonus: it is currently 1 cent on Amazon!) I love the message that even when we think we have nothing to give the Savior, our very best is good enough. (Okay actually my favorite carol is "In the Bleak Midwinter" for this reason, but...nobody's illustrating that one yet.) Really gorgeous illustrations on this one too, and another one that always makes me cry.

Hilary Knight's The Twelve Days of Christmas is such a gem. The illustrations are beautiful and intricate (my kids love following the antics of the little raccoon from page to page). I love everything that the "true love" gets up to with all her gifts...a packed poultry shed with tally marks for different types of birds on the side, canning pear jam, etc. So cute and such delightful illustrations--just total exuberance and joy! This is out of print, but you can pick up a copy for $4 or so and it is TOTALLY a steal.

Speaking of out of print books, I am so darn glad that Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree is back in print!! This is such a gem and one of the ones I remember most vividly from my childhood. Mr Willowby's Christmas tree is too tall for his parlor, so he chops off the top and that little top makes its way through household after household (each chopping off a bit more of the top as it grazes the ceiling) until the tiny tip of the tree makes its way to Mistletoe Mouse. Seriously just the cutest rhyming story with great illustrations--it's so fun to read, and one that practically begs for fun voices for all the different characters (including lots of animals!).

The other book I remember most vividly from childhood Christmases is The Christmas Tree That Grew (also out of print, also 1 cent on Amazon!). Three different families who occupy different levels of an apartment building and who know each other only in passing are united by a rapidly-growing Christmas tree, Totally impossible and totally the sweetest story ever.

It wouldn't be Christmas without How the Grinch Stole Christmas. This one stays out all year long and we read it all the time. I'm going to assume you know the plot, but make sure you read it with the Boris Karloff voice. ;-)

And Clement Moore's wonderful poem, "The Night Before Christmas" is one of my most beloved books. This edition, illustrated by Douglas Gorsline, is my favorite. I love all the tiny little details (in fact, I love them so much that our Christmas puzzle this year is very similar to that first page with the cutaway of the house!).

Last but not least, Eve Bunting's Night Tree is such a gem. A family goes every year "through the bright Christmas streets to where the dark and quiet begin" to decorate a tree for the animals (all kinds of edible goodies). I love this one so much. The text and illustrations are absolutely beautiful.

So those are my top favorites--but gosh it was hard to winnow them down! More favorites here just in case you're as obsessed as I am.

Did I miss any of your favorites? I'm always looking for new ones!!

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1 comment:

sarita said...

I love posts like these! Can't wait to read the ones that are unfamiliar to me. Thank you!

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