Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Christmas Book Advent

 Last December, I saw this idea for a Christmas Book Advent all over Pinterest. It's a fun idea and a great tradition to start. You wrap Christmas books, place them under the tree and you open one once a day to enjoy and read together. I think that it's a great way to build your library and count down the days until the big holiday. For the past few weeks, I've been collecting Christmas books perfect for my three year old. I can't wait to go through these with her. I wanted to share what books I found in case you want to participate or need any ideas. I found the majority of these at Half Price Books and ordered a handful from Amazon. Check out what is going to be on our reading list this month:

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry
I can't believe that I have never heard of this classic before. It was one of the first books I stumbled upon when I started my search and it will definitely be one of my favorites to read again and again. Mr. Willowby buys a humongous tree and ends up cutting off the very top of it because it's just too big for his house. The maid ends up with that extra part and it's just perfect for her except it's a tad tall for her room so she again cuts off the top. You see where this is going. The tree slowly gets shared and passed down to bears, foxes, rabbits and finally to a mouse family. It's told in a really cute rhyme and includes some great illustrations.

Santa Claus and the Three Bears by Maria Modugno
Everyone is familiar with the classic Goldilocks and the Three Bears story. Well this is a fun holiday twist on that story. The main characters just so happen to be three polar bears. While they are out taking a walk, waiting for their Christmas pudding to cool, Santa comes in their home and makes an awful mess. Such a great idea for a story and the illustrations are really cute! 

Frosty The Snowman by Steve Nelson
Frosty was a HUGE hit at our house last year. This book doesn't include the story. It is simply just an illustrated version of the song. The artwork is beautiful though!!

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
Charlotte is a big fan of this series! It's a quick and cute little story about a boy and his mouse. The mouse asks to do a certain activity and once he completes it, he is reminded of something else to do. One thing leads to another, until you have made it full circle and the mouse is again reminded of the popcorn that he asked for at the beginning of the story. These stories always make me giggle because it's definitely what raising a toddler is like.  We love the fun, colorful illustrations.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
We've read several books in the Bear series and they have always been a huge hit. The illustrations are playful,  filling up the entire page and the story always includes some great fluid rhymes. In this book, Bears friends are determined to keep him awake during hibernation so he won't miss celebrating Christmas with them. They keep him busy by participating in several traditional Christmas activities. It's a great book about friendship and giving!

The Friendly Beasts: an old English Christmas carol by Rebecca St. James
My MIL found this book and gifted it to us this year. It's a really sweet story about all of the animals in the stable when Jesus is born. A donkey, cow, sheep, dove and camel all share how they pitched in and helped that night.  I was unfamiliar with the carol and looked it up. It's quite catchy and I can't wait to sing it to Charlotte. The illustrations are really beautiful and sweet too.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
Do I really need to say anything about this one? It's by far a favorite in our house every Christmas season. We love the book, the cartoon and I think the movie (with Jim Carrey) just might be my all time favorite Christmas film! We have always been a huge fan of Dr. Seuss books. The fun rhymes, silly worlds and playful illustrations always pull you right in.

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
I was first introduced to this book last year and it quickly became a favorite along with the other books in the series. It's an imaginative story about a little boy who wonders how all of those snowmen celebrate Christmas. He imagines that once everyone is asleep, all of the snowmen come to life and sneak away to enjoy their own holiday get together full of all of the usual traditions. The story is told in short, gentle rhymes and the illustrations are incredibly magical! We also enjoy finding a few of the hidden images shared throughout the book.

Santa mouse by Michael Brown
This is such a sweet story that immediately won my husband and I over the moment we started reading it. You are introduced to a tiny mouse who lives all alone, but dreams of having many friends. On Christmas Eve, he realizes that Santa brings so many gifts to everyone, but perhaps it would be nice to leave Santa a gift as well. He wraps up a special treat he has been saving and so begins a wonderful friendship. It's another book that is told in gentle, short rhymes and includes some really cute, vintage illustrations.

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by Julia Rawlinson
We were just introduced to Fletcher last month when we read our Fall books. We immediately fell in love with this incredibly cute fox so I knew this was one book I wanted to add to our collection. This time Fletcher is worried that Santa won't be able to find the rabbits new burrow, so he sets off to leave a trail of wooden arrows for Santa to follow. Along the way he runs into other animals who want to help out. Unfortunately, their hard work is covered up by a layer of fresh snow so they all stay up in hopes of giving Santa directions. Of course, they all fall asleep, but are pleasantly surprised by what they find at the burrow the next morning. This is such a sweet story about friendship and kindness. The illustrations are so whimsical and gorgeous and the last page always includes a beautiful tree.

Can You Find 1001 Christmas Things
For the past year, Charlotte has LOVED looking at search and find books. When I saw this one displayed on a shelf, I quickly snatched it up. The illustrations are so silly and fun to look at!  Each page contains numerous objects that you have to hunt for and count. We love to have these sorts of books to entertain her in the car on long road trips!

Mortimer's Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson
Another fabulous Christmas book by Wilson. This is a creative way to share the story of Jesus' birth with young children. It's about a mouse who is looking for a new home and begins living in a nativity scene. For several days, he moves the "statues" out and tells them that there is no room for them until one night he overhears the story about the true meaning of Christmas. He quickly realizes who has been moving and decides that he needs to make room for Jesus. Incredibly sweet and touching.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Robert L. May
Charlotte wasn't  interested in Rudolph last year. I got this book hoping to finally introduce her to that very famous reindeer. This book is not based off of the movie version. It's told in the cutest rhyming verses the way the creator, Robert L. May, originally shared the story. It's quite magical and completely charming.

A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe
I really love this book. It's the story about a tall, old tree who year after year is over passed when families come looking for their perfect tree to take home for the holidays. He is very sad because his only wish was to be a great Christmas tree. Little does he know that for years all of the forest animals have loved him and enjoyed the home and protection that he has provided. They all come together and decide to decorate the tree one night to show their appreciation. I love the rhyming text and I think this will be the perfect book to read before making some birdseed ornaments to hang outside!

Winter Wonderland by Dick Smith and Wee Sing Away in a Manger Pamela Conn Beall
These are both very short books so I will be pairing them together. They again simply just share the verses to the popular Christmas carols. Books like these are the perfect way to introduce preschoolers to songs! Charlotte has always responded very well to sing-along books.  I love the whimsical mouse illustrations in Winter Wonderland!

A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel
This book caught my eye while shopping one evening at Target. As soon as I opened it, I knew that we had to add it to our list.  This is the fun story about a bad little kitty on Christmas Eve. She's angry and ends up creating a huge mess as she tears up the decorations. She ends up running away and getting lost in the big city only to be found by a sweet, old lady.  Bad Kitty quickly realizes that having a loving family is all that matters. The message is fantastic and the story is told in a fun, creative rhyme. It also includes  alphabet sequencing and some super fun illustrations. This is our first introduction to Bad Kitty and I can't wait to check out more in this silly series.

Hilary Knight's The Twelve Days of Christmas by Hilary Knight
This is another book that we found last year and instantly fell in love with. Charlotte could even correctly recite quite a few of the lines by herself. It was cute hearing her sing it around the Christmas tree. The text follows the well known Christmas song, but the illustrations really bring it to life and make it fun for little readers to follow along with. You watch along as Benjamin Bear  woes Bedalia Bear by bringing her all of the gifts found in the song. 

Twelve Hidden Days of Christmas by Macky Pamintuan
If you follow along with our book reviews, then you should recognize this author from our Halloween list. I was so excited when I stumbled across this book and realized he had a Christmas version. I know this will be a huge hit already. Just like the Halloween book, you follow bear through the house and search for all of the hidden objects from the popular Christmas song. Each page includes every gift that you have previously read so by day twelve you have a lot of search for. It's definitely another fun way to introduce the song to little kids!

The Christmas Song: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire by Mel Torme and Robert Wells
I was quite  excited when I happened upon this book. Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire is by far Ross' favorite Christmas song!! Anytime he hears it, he will burst into song. I can't wait to hear him sing this to Charlotte. The book simply includes the lyrics, but the illustrations really make it magical!  

Inspector McSqueaks in the Santa Claus Clues by Scott Emmons
"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, just one creature was stirring, a smart little mouse". This is such a cute book. It is the story about a mouse who tries desperately find Santa.  He uses all sorts of gadgets, but of course Santa is always one step ahead of him. It's told in a great rhyme (can you tell we are huge fans of rhyming books) and the illustrations are bold and very vibrant. This is actually a hard book to find. It was put out by Hallmark. I just so happened across it in a Half Price Books and immediately snatched it up.  

What Is Christmas? and HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS by Michelle Medlock Adams
These are two fantastic board books that gently introduce young ones to the true meaning of Christmas! In What is Christmas, you follow a group of kids as they try to determine what Christmas is all about. Is it about watching mom and dad kiss under the mistletoe or participate in all of those fun holiday traditions? While those things are fun, it's really about celebrating the birth of Jesus. Which brings us to the other book, Happy Birthday Jesus. This book follows the same group of kids as the prepare to celebrate Jesus' birthday. They bake a cake, decorate and have a party. I plan on baking a cake with Charlotte after we read this one. Both books are told in a short fun rhyme and are perfect to be giving together as a little gift. 

The Berenstain Bears Christmas Tree by Stan Berenstain
This is actually my book from when I was little. I was always a huge Berenstain Bears fan and thankfully kept all of my books. I remember reading this one over and over again. It's longer than the other books in the series and is told in a great rhyme.  Papa Bear is on the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree to cut down and use in their house. Problem is, every tree he finds is actually home to some forest animals. Follow along as he quickly realizes that the holiday is truly about giving and taking care of others in need. The illustrations in this book are fantastic. They are very details and fun to look at. 

Jingle Bells by Iza Trapani
We absolutely love this book. I actually found it last year to help introduce the song Jingle Bells to our then two year old. We are a huge fan of Trapini's books. She always comes up with clever rhymes to extend the familiar song into something extra special. In this book, she introduces children to several Christmas traditions all over the world!!! She takes you to Poland, Kenya, Mexico, Italy and many more countries. The illustrations are great too!!!

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Of course, I have to end with this classic tale. It's a story that everyone should read on Christmas Eve.

There you have it. They are all wrapped, numbered and waiting under the tree to be shared each day. I also am including a little felt ornament for Charlotte to find every day and add to the tree. You can find the free patterns over on the amazing Imagine Our Life blog.  I am so excited to start this new tradition with Charlotte! If you have any other favorite Christmas books, please leave us a message so we can add it to our list next year.

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