Friday, 26 November 2010

Christmas bedtime stories

Last year I read about a very nice idea on a blog. It was an advent bedtime story tradition of wrapping up the child's christmas books in newspaper and writing a number between 1 to 24 on each package. Each evening of the advent season the child unwraps one book that they read at bedtime. I think it is a really nice way of rediscovering books and having a little surprise each evening while waiting for Christmas.

Alex and I have almost finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and I am planning to start the Christmas books series next week. He doesn't have many Christmas books so I went to the library and borrowed a few after reading some recommendations. Here are some of the ones that I am sure he will enjoy reading.

Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan

This is a cute counting book in which Father Christmas has drink after drink going in all the children's houses and soon enough, he needs a wee! He needs a wee so badly that he forgets to leave presents under the tree but then realises his mistake and goes back to each house to leave presents. What I like about this book is the rhyming and the pattern (FC drinks one drink in the first house, two drinks in the second house, etc. He leaves six presents in one house, five in the next, then four, then three, etc). I also liked the suspense! Is Father Christmas going to wet his pants? I will let you find out.

Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini

This is my favourite! It is the story of a daddy moose who wants Christmas to be perfect. He decorates the house, bakes lots of cookies, cooks a goose and some chestnuts, hangs stockings, wraps presents, but oh no, he has forgotten the tree! Fortunately, his little children moose are here to help and come up with a very funny solution. I love the illustrations of this book. The colours are very christmassy and it certainly puts you in a Christmas mood. I am particularly fond of the funny details in the drawings. Children love these. Oh, and did I mention that the text rhymes and is full of funny words? It is all very creative, so do get it!

Grandfather's Christmas Camp by Marc McCutcheon

I borrowed this book from the library without knowing what to expect. I was really appealed by the illustrations by Kate Kiesler which really give this book a complete atmosphere of cosy winter. The paintings of the characters, Lizzie and Grandfather, are very realistic, and so is the story. There is no Father Christmas or silly moose in this one, it is all absolutely true life, so there is a good chance of the children identifying with the character of Lizzie. Because of the realism it is also a good book to have in Montessori classrooms. Here is the story line. Mr Biggins, the dog, went running after a deer and got lost in the snowy mountain. Lizzie and Grandfather go out to get him but have to bivouac for the night. I really enjoyed the specific vocabulary related to mountain life such as "switchback" or "alpine zone". This is a really good book!

What is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams

This book is really good to explain the meaning of Christmas to young children. What is Christmas about? Is it about the Christmas cards? Is it about the mistletoe? Is it about the Christmas tree? What is it all about? In the end, the book reveals that the holiday is all about Jesus's birth and that is what we celebrate. I really liked the short, meaninful text which rhymes and the nice illustrations to go with each stanza. The only regret I have with this book would be that it is a board book, which are usually aimed at younger children than the text and message of this book. I know that everything about this book will appeal to Alex who always wants to understand everything, but the format may put him off slightly as he usually refuses to read board books which are "for babies".

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