This meme was started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers. As I am a grandmother, who loves to read to her grandchildren, a mother who loved to read to and with her children, and a retired teacher librarian, this meme really attracted me.
This week, I am reviewing 4 Christmas books that I read to or with my grandchildren. Two are Christian stories that share the birth of Christ (one being an Advent Devotional for families) and 2 are secular stories. All are very different from one another. All were provided to me at one time by the publisher upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
‘Twas the Season of Advent: Devotions and Stories for the Christmas Season by Glenys Nellist, Elena Selivanova (Illustrations)
Published November 2nd 2021 by Zonderkidz
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
With December 1st fast approaching, I want to recommend this book to families that want to use this advent season to prepare themselves for the Birth of Jesus Christ. I will be quickly buying a copy of for my son and his family to share a reading each night after opening their cookie advent calendars. Each day has a verse of a poem about the story of Christ’s birth told in the rhyming form of “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. It then follows with a biblical verse beginning with the prophecies of Isaiah up to the birth and visits by the magi. Each page then has a child friendly story of what would have been happening at the time. There are often “I wonder” questions that could be discussed as well. The illustrations by Elena Selivanova are amazing. They add so much to this book and have a lot to look at and discuss. This is not a book to be consumed in one sitting. There is a page to be read, discussed and ruminated over everyday during advent. The storytelling is recommended to children from 4 and up, and I agree with that assessment. I only read a couple of pages with my grandchildren to get their reactions and they all listened (even the 3 year old) but it was the oldest (8) who seemed to interact with the story the most. A beautiful way to end a day together as a family. I highly recommend this beautiful book.
Marvin Mouse Meets the Baby King by Michelle Hoy
Published December 8th 2020
3 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐
I’m not sure where I stand on Marvin Mouse Meets the Baby King. It starts out well, but is just seems to end quite abruptly. Marvin is a mouse who lives in the stable, although this story calls it a barn, where Jesus was born. The story includes Mary and Joseph arriving, a baby being born, shepherds arriving, Angels proclaiming him the king, and Marvin deciding to walk beside the baby. I read it to my grandchildren and they listened, but didn’t engage a lot. After the story there were a few questions that I asked my grandchildren that they did think about and answer, and the Christmas story from Luke was also printed, which I also read to them. They engaged more with that reading. The illustrations were cute, but depicted the Holy Family as white, not darker skinned as they would have been from the area they lived. As a read aloud, I found it a bit clunky. Each page was told in a five line poem form, but it did not flow well and the rhyming was hit or miss. This was a different take on the Birth of Jesus, but we found it to be just okay.
The Mice Before Christmas: A Mouse House Tale of the Night Before Christmas by Anne L. Watson, Wendy Edelson (Illustrator)
Published October 1st 2021 by Skyhook Press
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Who doesn’t love Clement C. Moore’s classic poem “Twas The Night Before Christmas.” Well, this book takes that poem and rewrites if from the POV of the mice. It describes their day, all the activities and action that totally exhausts them and explains why not even a mouse is stirring. We meet a family of mice decorating, baking, wrapping gifts, playing in the snow and then having a party where it seems every mouse they know is invited. It even includes a visit from Santa Mouse, so they are fast asleep from exhaustion when St. Nic appears at the house for the human children. It was a fun story, but the younger two grandchildren were more interested in the illustrations than the words. The oldest (8) listened and enjoyed the poem. The illustrations were absolutely amazing. They were full of detail that we poured over, laughed at and talked about. The illustrations tell the story as well as the words. This is a book that could be read by all ages and would be a wonderful companion on the bookshelf with the original poem. I definitely recommend this one for families, libraries and even schools.
Slothy Claus: A Christmas Story by Jodie Shepherd, MacKenzie Haley (Illustrations)
Published November 2nd 2021 by Thomas Nelson
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A story about a Sloth is sure to include a consequence of how slow they move, and this one does just that. All the animals in the forest are preparing for the arrival of Slothy Claus. They decorate, hang up their stockings, put out treats and head to bed. Meanwhile, Slothy Claus is packing his sled to head off to deliver presents. He works a bit, then takes a nap and so on, until it is Christmas morning, and there are no presents from Slothy. The young animals are sad and distraught until they realize they still have lots of blessings and Christmas ends up happy even without presents (shades of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas). Time moves on and Slothy Claus continues to pack up his sled and finally delivers his presents on a hot, summery day in July. The important message being: “Christmas had lived in their hearts all along.” We all enjoyed this one, the rhyming text with its great read aloud cadence, the bright and colourful illustrations and the wonderful message that Christmas is about family and friends, not presents and what we get. A great story about patience and what is important in life as well. I recommend this one to families and community libraries.