Christmas, books, Christmas, books…two of our favourite things! So we’ve been to the library and chosen a few children’s Christmas books to road test with our toddlers. Here are their favourites (and not so favourites).
Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers by Lynley Dodd
This is a lovely book by the author of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, and is one of M’s favourites. A mischievous cat plays havoc with the Christmas tree, with the story told in rhyme which makes it flow nicely. M had fantastic fun spotting the hiding Slinky Malinki on many pages, and trying to find the fairy. The rhyming story is a joy to read and little ones seem to have fun repeating the interesting word sounds, not least “Slinky Malinki”! Highly recommended.
Ten Little Elves by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty
Ten Little Elves is one in a series of “Ten Little…” books by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty (Ten Little Princesses and Ten Little Pirates are current favourites of M, and are a fun way to teach number recognition). Father Christmas’ reindeers are sick and the ten elves are dispatched to get medicine to make them better and save Christmas. The book follows the same simple premise of elves being gradually lost on their journey, counting down from ten to one, before they all come together again and Christmas is saved. M is a big fan of this book, partly due to how much is going on in the pictures to explore and interpret. A good fun read.
Yikes, Santa-CLAWS by Pamela Butchart and Sam Lloyd
Sam Lloyd produced the popular Calm Down Boris (a fun book with a puppet to tell the tale). Yikes, Santa-CLAWS is a fun story in the same bright illustrative style we’re used to from Lloyd. It tells of a monster who dresses as Father Christmas and causes chaos as he wrecks presents, eats all the food in children’s homes and finally helps the real Father Christmas to put things right. It’s a simple story, I didn’t find it a hugely interesting or fun book to read as an adult, but M enjoys is greatly and that is most important!
A Very Pirate Christmas by Timothy Knapman and Russell Ayto
Russell Ayto is one of my favourite illustrators, he has a quirky style and we love the book Whoops! which really engages M in the plight of the little old lady witch who tries in vain to recover the voices of some animals who go to her for help. This Christmas effort illustrated by Ayto is really fun, though M was not so keen on the pirates and lost interest in the book. That said, it is really a good read and may be down to personal taste or could suit children slightly older than just two.
The Christmas Unicorn by Anna Currey
I have to admit to judging a book by its cover here – Currey illustrated one of our favourite bedtime reads (One Ted Fell Out of Bed), and her work is beautiful and has an old-fashioned quality. It didn’t disappoint. Of all the books we took out of the library, it was this one that captured P’s imagination the most. It seemed to tick all the boxes for her: grandparents, snow, Christmas lights and decorations and making new friends. The initial ‘meeting’ of Milly and Florian, the unicorn, is wonderfully evocative, and watching Milly’s Christmas wishes – centred around friendship and her Dad, rather than the usual ‘stuff’ – come true is enough to ignite the magic of Christmas in just about anyone! There’s a sprinkling of humour, too, as Florian scoffs breakfast and nibbles the decorations.
This would be brilliant for families with children of various ages, with something for tiny ones, right up to seven- or eight-year-olds. P has asked for ‘Milly’ (the central character) every day since we returned it to the library and I’ll definitely take it out again next year.
Just Right For Christmas by Birdie Black and Rosalind Beardshaw
This has replaced The Christmas Unicorn as the book du jour. I’m pleased, because it’s another book with a lovely message and isn’t centred around being naughty/nice or good/bad – messages which I’m not a fan of and don’t really want to encourage.
The scraps of one roll of soft, red, Christmassy cloth, purchased by a King to make a gown for his daughter, gradually pass from one ‘owner’ to the next, before every last inch is used up: a jacket, a hat, some gloves, then a tiny scarf (for a mouse!). Each recipient is delighted with their gift, which is ‘just right’ for them, having been lovingly made with thought and care. The messages of selflessness and of nothing being wasted are very apt for the season but work year-round too.
Which books have you chosen to read with your children this Christmas? Do you remember what you read as a child? Have you continued the tradition?
Love, The Mother Side x