It's hard for me to believe this as I write it, but this is my fifth post of favorite holiday and winter books. Five years in a row I've been posting these! Surely I'll run out at some point. Surely. But not this year....
(And not next year, either; I have more waiting in the wings! You can find the previous years' posts at the following links: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. I shared so many in 2007 that it's a Christmas miracle that I have any left to share. ;) There will be one repeat this year, and I imagine there will be a few here and there in future years, too, since we're reading older books in new ways, as our younger children keep growing and appreciating books that their older siblings loved before them!)
A Day on Skates This is the kind of book that sort of takes you by surprise. I'd heard about it for a long time before we finally read it for the first time last year. I was never sure what to expect, based on the cover -- I'm not sure if I can exactly put that into words, but I was a little bit wary of a certain self-consciousness that books from this era can occasionally have. I need not have worried. It is wonderfully clever and classic, along the lines of another favorite children's book of mine, The Wheel on the School. A Day on Skates delighted all of us last year, and we will definitely be reading it again this year!
Silent Night I was sad to see that this book is out of print. It would really be worth searching out a used copy, though. The text is three verses of the song "Silent Night", and the illustrations have a gorgeous simplicity. I love the illustration of the choir of angels, whose robes are part of the night sky. And it's part of my small collection of children's Christmas books that portray Mary nursing Jesus! (Love.)
Snow Tree This sweet book shows a group of forest animals decorating a tree with their own small gifts to remind themselves of the brightness of summer during the snowy cold of winter. I love the textured pages, and Fiona absolutely loves the animals. (This is the book pictured in the photos of this post.) Fiona is so into books like this right now -- with sturdy, textured pages, and lots and lots of animals to talk to and squeal at! (The Lonely Scarecrow is along the same lines and she loves it, too.)
Christmas Farm This is such a cool book, as it follows a story for a really long time -- about ten years in the life of a little boy, and a farm of Christmas trees. It is so sweet to see him grow up along with the trees over the course of the book. At the end, there is some historical background on Christmas trees which is fascinating.
One Winter's Night This book also appears, sadly, to be out of print, although you can still find it at Chinaberry (the link I shared). It is the story of a young pregnant cow lost in a snowstorm, with the parallel story of a couple (Mary and Joseph) told in woodcuts. The illustrations are beautiful, and the woodcuts really make the book. It is so heartwarming and well-done!
Room for a Little One This sparkling tale is perfect for the littlest ones (Fiona enjoys it and will sit through it although she is a mostly non-verbal 21-month-old) -- I think it's even available in board book format. Even without the Christmas guests at the end of the story, the message of peace and acceptance, and of there always being room for the littlest and most in need, is so beautiful.
Winter's Gift I love this poignant, tenderly-illustrated story. Like One Winter's Night, it deals with a lost, pregnant animal, although the story (besides mentioning a Christmas tree) doesn't take on such a Christmas theme. It's really a story about making our way after loss, and finding joy after grief. I think this gentle book could be easily overlooked (and especially in a collection as large as ours), but that would be a shame, because it's really a treasure.
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I hope you find some new favorites for your family to read, enjoy, and love -- either in this post, or in some of the previous years'. I love sharing these favorites with you year after year! (And don't hesitate to share some of your favorites in the comments!)