Saturday, December 18, 2010

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.
Let It Snow
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.
The Polar Express
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.
Christmas Magic
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.
A Baby Born in Bethlehem
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.


Christy said...

We love the Toot and Puddle books, but we haven't read that one yet. The Polar Express is a favorite in our house too. Two years ago we went on a Polar Express train ride in NH because my kids really loved the book and the movie. Unfortunately, the train ride was kind of lame (and ridiculously overpriced!!), but they still love the story.

MaryAnne said...

I love The Polar Express - I remember reading it as a child.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

From what I can see of A Baby Born in Bethlehem on Amazon, it looks very good.

We'll be turning away from legends, to the Biblical account this week, in prep for Christmas. But, I usually stick with the text straight out of the Bible, even for the younger children (we might go with a modern English translation). I just don't like to mix fiction in with it, and most picture books, no matter how good, seem to have to add details.

Ticia said...

I love Polar Express and we haven't read the book to them yet this year, so I'll have to see if they do better with it this year. My kids are the same way about muted pictures, maybe that's why they had a harder time with "Great Joy."

Oh, and I'll have to see if I can find the other books you recommended I'm always wanting new Christmas books.

Tracey M. said...

I've never heard of Toot and Puddle, but they sound adorable. We read Snowmen and Christmas this week too. We got A Baby Born in Bethlehem from the library but have yet to read it. I love the books of this season. So glad you host this blog hop.

Our Homeschool Fun said...

Our library doesn't have that Christmas Magic book, but it looks so good.

I've never read The Polar Express to any of my kids or looked through it myself--so odd, I know. We watch the movie each year more than once usually, but never ventured to the book.

Joe likes the Toot and Puddle books too.

Elise said...

Let it Snow sounds like a sweet story and one that my children would enjoy.

I hope you are enjoying your time away from work and you have already slipped into that relaxed holiday mode.

Cookie decorating parties sound like so much fun. How fabulous that Anna likes to decorate cookies, but isn't all that fussed on eating them.

Mom and Kiddo said...

I cannot believe I have never read Polar Express. It's probably one of those things I should keep to myself.

Anonymous said...

We just picked up Christmas Magic and my younger two love it. I think it must be the illustrations as I agree with you in that the plot is simple.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

We have been reading lots of these books too! This time of year is great for snuggling on the couch and reading a few good books. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! xoxo

Jackie H. said...

I have to agree with Anna on the Polar Express. I mean, I do like it but the illustrations seem kind of dark for a Christmas book-- even when he reaches the North pole. I'll have to try out the other ones as I haven't read them. Have a Merry Christmas!

The girl who painted trees said...

Bear loves the Polar Express. We read it to her for the first time last year and at the time, I didn't think she would like it (she was 2 and 4 months), but she asked for it every day. This year is the same. I don't know what it is about the book. I didn't like the movie version very much.