These are holiday books for sharing throughout the month of December:
- "The Christmas Alphabet" by Robert Sabuda (Orchard Books).This book combines the magic of paper sculptures with a thought-ful look at the symbols of Christmas; a bell, nutcracker and a yule log bursts into flame. This will be a favorite for many Christmas seasons.
- "The Remarkable Christmas of the Cobbler's Sons," told by Ruth Sawyer with pictures by Barbara Cooney (Viking).
A poor shoemaker leaves his three sons to try to find work, and while he is gone an old man visits the children and leaves a magical lesson. This is a vibrant tale that will become an annual request.
- "Christmas Lullaby," by Nancy Jewell, illustrated by Stefano Vitale (Clarion Books).
One by one the animals come to the Baby Jesus. A simple rhyme with colorful illustrations of oil painted on hardwood.
- "Father Christmas and the Donkey," by Elizabeth Clark, with illustrations by Jan Ormerod.
A lonely old donkey helps Santa with the last of his deliveries and finds a special place for himself. The beautiful drawings carry a silver sheen that will delight all readers.
- "Sleeping Moon," by David Lewis Atwell, illustrated by Debby Atwell (Houghton).
When Cora arrives at the orphanage she remembers her mother telling her that the moon was a place where all lost things go. Cora sees the moon disappear night after night and worries that the moon has deserted her. At Christmas old Hiram helps her find the moon and the assurance that she is safe.
- "Mummer's Song," by Bud Davidge and Ian Wallace (Orchard Books).
The delightful tradition of a Newfoundland Christmas is revisited as the mummers appear on the doorstep just as they have since the 1800s. The sensitive illustrations are accompanied with "The Mummer's Song" and background information.
My favorite new books for family sharing:
- "The Christmas Collection," collected by Susan Hill with wood-cuts by John Lawrence (Can-dle-wick Press).
There is no sugarcoating of the holiday in the five stories in this collection. "The Glass Angels" is a story of a young girl's courage; "King of Kings" is about a lonely old man. Both of these have been published as separate pieces. "Lan-terns Across Snow" is a nostalgic piece of a woman's memories of childhood, and "Can It Be True?" is a poem that looks deep inside the real meaning of Christmas.
- "Christmas Spirit," by Robert Westall (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).
Two children save the spirit of Christmas in stories that are separate but end up being related. These two will be enjoyable reading around the Christmas tree.
- For a step-by-step guide to making things for the holidays, my choice is "My First Christmas Activity Book," by Angela Wilkes (Dorling Kindersley). If you want to make your own cards, candy, cookies or package wrapping, this is the book for you. Diagrams of potpourri and pomanders, stockings and lanterns are all carefully planned. These would be wonderful family projects all through the month.