I cannot believe that next Saturday we will wake up on Christmas morning! Oh well, I start believe that looking at our reading list. We had a lot of good Christmas reads – both secular and religious. Here are our favorites.
We love original Toot & Puddle books by Holly Hobbie, and both of us really enjoyed Let It Snow. Smarty had fun guessing what presents Toot & Puddle might decide to give to each other, and there is a fun twist when they ask advice from someone else. There is also a nice message about best presents being self-made and thought out. There is no Santa or Jesus in the story, but it would be a nice read before shopping or making presents for siblings or someone else in the family.
It was the first time we read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. I found the story quite enchanting, but I don’t think Smarty was completely “on board” with illustrations. They are beautiful, but she prefers bright colors, not muted tones. After listening to the story she thought for a while and then informed me that she doesn’t think she believes in Santa Claus, but she does believe in Jesus. Then she changed her mind and said that she believes in Santa Claus after all, because she wanted the bell to jingle for her as well.
Speaking of reindeer bells, Christmas Magic by Sue Stainton was one of Smarty's favorite reads this week. Like Toot and Puddle, the story doesn’t have a lot of suspense. A group of animals goes on a treasure hunt for missing magic reindeer bells and find a special surprise from Santa. Frankly, I thought that the story was a bit weak, but Smarty was falling asleep with this book and with Toot and Puddle every night, so clearly we had different opinions about the merits of the story line.
We read plenty of Christian holiday books as well. Smarty's favorites were Christmas Donkey and A Baby Born in Bethlehem. Both books are too long for a younger set, but Smarty read them on her own after one joint reading together and had a lot of questions. A Baby Born in Bethlehem stays pretty closely to the Bible version but simplifies a few points. We also got The Story of Christmas by Jane Ray from the library, but it uses the Bible language word by word, and I thought that it would go over Smarty's head at this point. We ended up not reading it.