A quick recap on Books 6-10 of our Advent Book Calendar:
6. The Smallest Gift of Christmas–by Peter H. Reynolds. My children, particularly my three-year-old twins, really liked this book. The text is simple and straightforward and Reynolds’ illustrations are always fun. It’s about a boy who wishes for a bigger gift until he realizes that bigger isn’t always better. I found it to be a bit trite myself. Reynolds’ book The Dot is not a Christmas book but it is far superior.
7. The Snowman–by Raymond Briggs. This wordless picture book with beautiful illustrations is truly a winter classic. Everyone, adults and children alike, enjoyed this book. It is always interesting to me how different ages of children respond to this book. My six-year-old would take it off the mantel and ‘read’ his story to the twins. We also watched the movie, which aside from an oddly jarring introduction, transformed the charming book into a charming picture show without words.
8. Santa Claus and the Three Bears–written by Maria Modugno and illustrated by Jane Dyer and Brooke Dyer. This is a very basic re-telling of the Goldilocks story. There is nothing to make it unique or Christmas-y, other than replacing Goldilocks with Santa Claus. None of us were particularly interested in this book, and after the initial reading, it stayed on the shelf.
9. The Little Drummer Boy–words and music by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati, and Harry Simeone and illustrations by Ezra Jack Keats. One can’t go wrong with illustrations by Ezra Jack Keats and this book is no exception. If you get tired of singing the song (and believe me, you will), YouTube has many variations from which to choose.
10. Great Joy–written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Ibatoulline’s pictures almost overshadow DiCamillo’s words in this book about a young girl who befriends a homeless man.
I’d say the clear winner this round was The Snowman, so if you’re looking for one to choose, this is the one that will grow and change with and be cherished by the reader.
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