This is the first year that our daughter, nearly three, has been fully aware of Christmas, and we've watched her excitement at all its wonders - particularly Santa, mangers, reindeers and baubles. This winter, we've enjoyed delving into the immense sleigh-full of picturebooks that focus on Christmas. A few of them, our favourites this year, are reviewed below.
When it Snows, by Richard Collingridge
This was our daughter's first, and still favourite, Christmas book (although it was also a regular request of hers in the summer!). Cinematic illustrations portray the journey of a boy and his teddy's to the North Pole. The scenes of snowy landscapes, gloomy forests, tiny fairies and crowds of elves are beautiful and atmospheric and contain just the right pinch of mild peril to enchant, but not frighten, the youngest readers. Full review here.
The Little Christmas Tree, by Rachel Elliot (Author), Vicki Gausden (Illustrator), Corina Fletcher (pop-up engineer)
A brilliantly combined picture/pop up/activity book, where the reader helps complete the story. A little Christmas tree stands forgotten and alone, unadorned amid the others that have been fully decorated. When the woodland creatures realise, they set about to make it the best tree of winter, with a special visit from Santa to reward them for their efforts. The final reveal is a magnificent pop up Christmas tree, beautifully crafted, with a page of pop out decorations to hang upon the branches. Great fun and very well told.
Socks for Santa, Written by Charlotte Guillain and Adam Guillain,
Illustrated by Lee Wildish
Little George has a plan - this year, to say thank you in person, he will head to the North Pole and take some gifts to Santa. After packing a sack of presents and some spare socks, he sets out on his journey. With help from polar bears, elves and a sniffly Rudolph, George arrives at his destination, but his generosity along the way leaves his bag of gifts empty, and he has nothing left for Santa.
Santa doesn't mind - in fact he says George has demonstrated the very meaning of Christmas, and as a reward he invites George to join Santa in his sleigh for Christmas Eve. There's just one problem, Santa's socks are full of holes. But wait! What else does George have in his bag? A lovely tale with vibrant illustrations this is a fun-filled festive treat.
A Christmas Story, by Brian Wildsmith
This is the most beautiful book we have read this Christmas, with elaborate illustrations embellished in festive golds and reds. It retells the nativity story through the eyes of a baby donkey, following the footprints of its mother, who has left with Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. This is sure to become a family classic,and one that will help to connect us to the origins of Christmas.