16. Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat: A Chanukah story–by Naomi Howland. This is a wonderful book that draws from Goethe’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in a similar style to dePaola’s Strega Nona. Sadie is given a magic frying pan that cooks latkes by an old woman, with instructions that she is the only one to use it. When Sadie goes to gather wood, her four brothers take the frying pan and start making latkes with it. All of us loved this book. H., A., and T. loved chanting the magic words and always giggled at the line, “Happy green miracles here!” (p. 21), even after they knew the story by heart. The book comes with a pretty good latke recipe, but unfortunately no magic frying pan.
17. Snowmen at Christmas–by Caralyn Buehner and pictures by Mark Buehner. I chose this book from a list called “Great Christmas books” or something like that and found it in H.’s book order for $1.99. Let’s just say I am glad I only paid $1.99 for this book. It’s all right, but it’s definitely nothing to write home about and it wouldn’t make my list of great Christmas books. The book is about what snowmen do on Christmas Eve when everyone is sleeping.
18. My First Christmas Collection: Carols and Rhymes to Read Aloud and Share–illustrated by Susie Lacome. This is exactly what it says it it–Christmas carols and rhymes. The book is textured with embroidered illustrations which makes it especially nice for young children.
19. The Nutcracker–retold by Stephanie Spinner and illustrated by Peter Malione. There are many great picture books retelling E.T.A. Hoffmann’s The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and this one is no exception. The familiar story is well told and the pictures are old-fashioned looking yet with brilliant jewel tones and wonderful detail. Another bonus to this book is that it includes a fully orchestrated CD of the score of the ballet.
20. The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice–by Carolyn McVickar Edwards. I can’t comment too much on this book, except for the fact that it was too old for my children. I will put it away with the other books for another year. I enjoyed the story that we read from the collection, but H. wasn’t too attentive and the twins disappeared from the room before we even started reading.
I think out of this set of books, Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat was our favourite. And you can read it any time of the year, although it’s particularly fitting during Chanukah.
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