These are all special Christmas books that would make a good gift this year, or could be purchased to read each year with family and friends.
Red & Lulu (2017, Candlewick Press, Picture Book)
From the publisher:
Separation and miles cannot keep a determined cardinal from his loved one in an ode to serendipity and belief that is destined to be a new Christmas classic.
Red and Lulu make their nest in a particularly beautiful evergreen tree. It shades them in the hot months and keeps them cozy in the cold months, and once a year the people who live nearby string lights on their tree and sing a special song: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. But one day, something unthinkable happens, and Red and Lulu are separated. It will take a miracle for them to find each other again. Luckily, it’s just the season for miracles. . . . From Matt Tavares comes a heart-tugging story combining the cheer of Christmas, the magic of New York City, and the real meaning of the holiday season: how important it is to be surrounded by love.
Red & Lulu, written and illustrated by Matt Tavares, is a beautiful new holiday book to share with the little ones this season. Readers will be initially shocked by what appears to be a terrible tragedy which befalls Red & Lulu, but as Red perseveres and seeks out his lost love, the story unfolds to reveal a beautiful moment in what seemed like Red’s darkest hour.
Told through sparse text and detailed illustrations, this one is a great read aloud as young readers will likely have many questions about New York City and the Rockefeller Christmas tree. With a short history of the Rockefeller tree tradition in the back, everyone is sure to learn something.
I love that this book celebrates the Rockefeller Christmas Tree tradition and also tells a fun fictional tale of two cardinals. Recommended for readers of all ages who are looking for a sweet holiday tale to enjoy on a cold winter day.
Pick a Pine Tree (2017, Candlewick Press, Picture Book)
From the publisher:
A festive read-aloud brimming with all the joy and excitement of Christmastime — beginning, of course, with picking out a tree!
Part of the magic of the Christmas season stems from the traditions that families and friends take part in every year: hanging up stockings; putting lights in the windows; and, one of the most important of all, picking out and taking home the Christmas tree. With style and warmth, debut author Patricia Toht and Jarvis, the author-illustrator of Alan’s Big, Scary Teeth, evoke all the rituals of decorating the tree — digging out boxes jam-packed with ornaments and tree trimmings, stringing tinsel, and, at long last, turning on those twinkling lights. Joyously drawn and rhythmically written, this celebration of family, friends, and the holiday season is as merry as the tradition it depicts.
Pick a Pine Tree, written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis, reminds us all of a Christmas tradition that is not as popular as it once was…the picking of the perfect pine tree. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful and set a magical tone for this jaunty tale of picking pine trees.
If your family selects a real tree at Christmas, you will certainly appreciate this tale, and if you opt for an artificial tree each year, be prepared for the little ones to clamor for a real tree after reading this tale! This book is a lot of fun and will have everyone wanting to keep this old tradition alive and decorate the whole house for the Christmas season. Highly recommended for the whole family!
Captain Bling’s Christmas Plunder (2017, Albert Whitman & Company, Picture Book)
From the publisher:
Captain Bling and his merry crew set off to find treasure, but they get blown off course and end up at the North Pole. When they spy the elves carefully wrapping presents, the pirates think they have found the ultimate booty! They quickly steal the presents and make their way back to the ship. By the time Santa Claus catches up to them, the pirates are well on their way to escaping. But Santa has a surprise for Captain Bling and his crew!
Captain Bling’s Christmas Plunder, written by Rebecca Colby and illustrated by Rob McClurkan, is a rousing, raucous read to the tune of The Night Before Christmas. This book is a lot of fun in the midst of so many more serious or heartfelt Christmas tales. Children young and old will enjoy this adventure on the North Seas! The illustrations are detailed and really bring the story to life. The rhyme and rhythm are great for a read aloud and the story has a bit of a message too. Overall, a fantastic holiday read that children will enjoy bringing out every year. Highly recommended for children ages 3 and up.
Finding Christmas (2017, Albert Whitman & Company, Picture Book)
From the publisher:
Squirrel, Mouse, and Hare are getting ready for Christmas. While Mouse is out looking for the perfect gift for Hare, she finds Swallow sick in the snow. The three friends bring Swallow home and try to nurse the bird back to health. Squirrel and Mouse realize their Christmas gifts will help Swallow get well. As they give up their presents to help Swallow, they find the Christmas spirit.
Finding Christmas, written by Lezlie Evans and illustrated by Yee Von Chan, is a heart-warming Christmas tale of friendship and sacrifice. This is a quiet book that would be perfect to read by the fire or just before bed. The illustrations are soft and sweet, and my only tiny complaint about the whole book is the lack of expression in the eyes of the characters – a minor detail that might not bother others. Overall, a beautiful, heartwarming addition to the holiday line up and a book that can be enjoyed by children and adults. Highly recommended for ages 4 and up.
Thank you to the publishers for copies of these books in exchange for my honest review.