Here is a list of great books for families with children of all ages except for the Klutz products – they are geared for ages nine and above. The first four books have to do with the true meaning of Christmas. The last five are pop-up books. All are picture books unless otherwise stated.
In Mary’s Arms, A Christmas Message for Mothers, by Mary Holland McCann, is a small book rich with the essence of the mother of Christ. Each short chapter capitalizes on her precious attributes that helped the Christ child as He grew into adulthood. “A Sacred Responsibility” and “Replacing Fear with Faith” are the first two chapters.
The Light of Christmas, by Richard Paul Evans, is a story about the true meaning of Christmas. The Keeper of the Flame is about to choose someone to light the flame this Christmas but he will only choose someone who gives selflessly, one who gives “the truest gift”. The one individual he chooses has done a deed unbeknownst to himself as he helped someone in need. The pictures gorgeously depict an old fashioned village and beautifully propel this perfect story of Christmas.
Christmas in the Barn, by Margaret Wise Brown, was originally published in 1952 and is the retelling of the Christ Child in the manger and the animals that surrounded Him, Mary and Joseph, the star and the wise men. The beautiful illustrations, by Anna Dewdney, were done in paint, pastel pencil and marker to fill every page. The story actually begins on the inside cover.
Creation, by Cynthia Rylant, is the re-telling of the creation of earth as told in Genesis. Each page is filled with color beautifully painted with acrylics. You can see the brushes of paint used to paint the day and night, the beasts, the birds and all in this simple, but glorious, example of God’s work.
Calico the Wonder Horse, by Virginia Lee Burton, was first published back in 1941 and has become a classic. The story takes place in a Western setting where an evil villain is about to hold up Santa on Christmas Eve. Calico is a brave and pretty little horse and he is about to save the day. The intricate black and white pictures were made with outstanding woodcut illustrations. What a perfect read aloud for all to enjoy!
The Christmas Eve Tree, by Delia Huddy, and beautifully painted with watercolor by Emily Sutton, has two aspects in the storyline. It starts when a poor, homeless boy finds a small rejected pine tree and decorates it to help him celebrate the Christmas season. But afterwards, he throws it away where a street sweeper sees a new shoot growing from the tree and plants it in a park where it grows. The vintage illustrations are remarkable making this a special story.
The Nutcracker, illustrated by Valeria Docampo, and based on the New York City Ballet production of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker”, is the perfect retelling of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. This particular ballet company that the book is based on is considered the leading production throughout the world. The story is so visual and so clearly told, it would be a perfect read prior to actually seeing a local production.
Walk This World at Christmastime, uniquely and wonderfully illustrated digitally by Debbie Powell, is formed with hard board pages to enable flaps to lift and peek at different settings throughout the world during Christmas. The book actually can be read like an advent calendar as each flap is numbered from one to twenty five.
The Twelve Days of Christmas: A Peek-Through Picture Book, ingeniously illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, takes you through this traditional song with die-cuts beginning with one partridge and upon turning each page building and creating more die-cuts until reaching twelve drummers. Turning these pages while singing the song has never been so enjoyable!
Klutz is a packaged book that includes kits to make, create or build and a booklet with the instructions of how to accomplish the goal. What I love most about this company is it encourages and motivates children to read and exactly follow the instructions in order to complete their project. Some of the newest Klutz books include: Nail Charms, Make Your Own Mini Erasers and Grow Your Own Chrystal Jewelry. These products are good for ages 9 and above.
Now for some extraordinary pop-up books that would make great gifts:
Trains: A Pop-Up Railroad Book, by Robert Crowther, is an amazing book rich with the moveable parts of trains. Not only do you see the great splendor of the many types of trains displayed here, but there is much to learn throughout. There are also pull-tabs and flaps as you explore the many different types of trains on display.
The Christmas Story, by Robert Sabuda, displays Sabuda’s signature style by using white, intricately cut details throughout. There are six elaborate pages signifying the birth of Christ: angels, shepherds, the gold star (one of the few gold colors used) and ending with the manger scene. This book will become a family favorite!
The White House, also by Sabuda, is a historical walk though this famous building beginning with the construction. Some pop-up pages showcase The East Room and the Rose Garden. Lincoln’s Library cleverly changes to Lincoln’s Bedroom by pulling a tab. The last page pops-up the front of the building. Also, there is historical information found throughout this book.
Lego Pop-Up, by Matthew Reinhart, brilliantly tells the Lego story with every turn of these pop-up pages. There is adventure, humor and information along the way as each page pops out. Reinhart has invented a new device with pop-ups. Some of the pop-ups have tabs to pull revealing another giant pop-up on the same page! Kids of all ages are going to love this book!
Frozen: A Pop-up Adventure, also by Reinhart, follows the story, now familiar to all, with extraordinary pop-ups rich with gorgeous detail. Some of this detail includes sparkling snow and glistening backgrounds. This pop-up book is the perfect celebration of the favorite story that will be enjoyed by all.