Time for holiday anticipation–and what better way to get in the mood than through new picture books devoted to those special days. We recommend a trio of books for your reading pleasure. Happy Holidays!
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean
Fans of Pete the Cat will eagerly reach for this new book–and they’ll be delighted. It isn’t in the usual Pete the Cat style, though–it’s actually a sweet parody of The Night Before Christmas. It is like the other books in the series in its clever story and great rhythm. We love the way Pete fills in for Santa, delivering the gifts in his minibus sleigh full of toys! You can listen to the author singing the lyrics here.
Chanukah Lights by Michael J. Rosen, Robert Sabuda
This is a beautiful book that shows the historical progression of Hanukkah celebrations around the world. It provides a nice framework for talking about the origin and spirit of the holiday, and the history and resilience of a people. In our family, it was a great conversation starter too for discussing the meaning of the holidays (all the holidays that occur at this time of year) – acceptance and taking care of others, which we talked about after the kids asked questions about why the Jewish people had to move so many times. Kids like to find the one more candle lit on the menorah on each page, and parents will love the poem (that makes up the text of the book). And everyone will adore the stunning pop-up illustrations, which are complicated and inspiring. One note of warning: the pop ups aren’t terribly sturdy (due to the intricacies), and in our house, it’s a look-not-touch book for a few more years.
Picture books about the Winter Solstice are in short supply for children. That’s why we were delighted to see this new offering, published by a small press (Brigid’s Hearth Press). The rhyming text tells the story of Mama Owl and her Owlet, cozy in their underground den. Owlet knows his friends are too sleepy to come play with him on this, the shortest day of the year–and he wonders if he will ever see Spring again. But his mother reassures him: “Mama nestles him under her wing/’Tonight we start the path toward Spring.'” She weaves a magical story that tells of old English tales of the Holly King, the traditions of the Yule Log, and the joy of celebrating each turn of “The Wheel of the Year.” The folk art paintings are sure to draw readers in to examine every page.