November 24, 2008

What's In My Basket

As I wrapped up book after book tonight, I realized our new tradition isn't so eco-friendly. Ah, well. It was a good excuse to use up some scraps of uglier wrapping paper.

It's been fun checking out the books you've recommended. Definitely some good possibilities there--keep the suggestions coming!

I thought I'd throw some of my picks into the ring, too. As far as I'm concerned, every English-speaking, Christmas-celebrating house needs a copy of The Night Before Christmas, The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. These are just facts and cannot be disputed. At least not on this blog.

As far as lesser-known titles, these are our favorite children's Christmas books from the three holidays we've shared with Puppy so far:

The text by Margaret Wise Brown (of Good Night Moon fame) in A Child Is Born is likable enough, but it was the gorgeous illustrations by Floyd Cooper that made me love this book. Lush paintings that seem to glow on the page depict an African Jesus, Mary, Joseph and angels. It also has the cutest picture of toddler Jesus that I've seen yet. From Hyperion's Jump at the Sun imprint.

The Legend of the PoinsettiaThe Legend of the Poinsettia The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola is based on a Mexican folktale about the origins of poinsettias. A little girl thinks she has ruined her village's Christmas procession until she learns about the beauty of simple gifts made with love. The author does a good job of telling a sweet story without being too sentimental. And it's a nice break from books about the Nativity.

B Is for BethlehemB Is for Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet Board Book is another one that I love because it is so pretty. The alphabet poem ("L is for Lullaby Mary would sing/To her baby, her lamb, the Messiah, the King.") is cute and nicely draws the readers into the story at the end. But it is the vibrant, detailed, colorful collage art that draws me in and makes this one such a joy to read.

In The Nativity, Julie Vivas weds the text of the Christmas story from Luke's gospel with lighthearted watercolor illustrations. The illustrations are full of life and emotion, and juxtaposing them with the familiar, traditional language brings a new energy to the story. From the reviews on Amazon, it seems some folks feel that the images of the Holy Family aren't respectful. But I think they're wonderful, from the visibly pregnant Mary trying to hoist herself onto a donkey to the new family of three, exhausted but elated after the birth. A great counterpoint to the haloed, serene manger scenes.

I'm getting excited about Christmas!


Guera! said...

I am saving these posts to come back to when we have kids and are ready to start our Christmas traditions. Thanks for the ideas! (oh and this is Portraits in Sepia..I changed my sign off name.)

cynthia said...

someone gave wendell a copy of The Nativity yesterday, and i cried reading it to him tonight. i don't even go to church, but the format was so beautiful... or maybe its my sleep deprivation...

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