You’d be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed at this time of year by all the demands of the Festive Season, with end of school and social obligations too numerous to count. Time out is as important for your children as it is for you, so why not take a precious moment or two to sit down, relax and share some of these sublime (new) picture books with them to rekindle your Christmas spirit. Some of these are so good, they feature in Romi’s roundup of Christmas must reads, too!
Fostering Festive Cheer
McCartney’s matchless ability to appeal to little readers all over the world is reaching legendary status. Merry Everything epitomises this in the most deliriously dreamy way using evocative language, occasional merry rhyme and lashings of relatable love as readers reflect on animal families from all over the world hunkering down on Christmas Eve to wait for, you-know-who. It’s the focus on ‘cuddles and kisses’ and all the extraordinary departures from normal at this time of year that I love and young children will recognise and appreciate – fun and games with relatives, gorging on Christmas goodies, and falling into a seasonal stupor afterwards. Racklyeft’s illustrations are sweeter than a plate of choc cherry balls and just as enticing. Love Love Love this.
Windy Hollow Books October 2017
Sam and Sebastian are the best of friends but when Sam embarks on a mission to celebrate Christmas with all the animals she knows, pragmatic Sam is reluctant to support her – ‘Christmas is not for animals’, he insists. Nevertheless, Sam perseveres in the most merry, quacky way until there comes a point where even her Christmas spirit is challenged. This tale of selflessness, friendship and sharing is analogous of the first Christmas story in that the pair overcome considerable obstacles to bring the world a special surprise. Joyful watercolour and magic induced illustrations (so described by James!) complete a truly enchanting little read for 3 – 5 year-olds.
ABC Books November 2017
It’s Christmas Eve and Dottie, Jem and Shortbread, the wheaten coloured pooch, are waiting patiently for that, ‘fizzy, exciting Christmas feeling’ to arrive like it always does. However, disappointingly, as they wait at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s dutifully going through all the motions, it never does. There is no usual Christmas pudding stirring or tree decorating or carols by candlelight, which leaves Dottie sad and remorseful until Jem suggests they search for the Christmas feeling outside. What they discover under the twinkling stars will warm the very cockles of your heart and fill you with enough Christmas feeling to fill the North Pole. Lusciously illustrated by Francey, this is a gladdening story of family, new beginnings, hope, Christmas traditions, sibling love and memories that will appeal in sleigh-loads to young and old alike.
Allen & Unwin Children’s September 2017
Best mouse mates, Marvin and Marigold are back and this time Marigold has received a marvellous massive surprise 24 days before the most magical day of the year. It’s more than just a Christmas tree her mother has gifted to her; it’s a box of magic and memories. Marvin is not so fortunate and looks set to spend the silly season alone, forlorn and forgotten. Of course, there is no way Marigold will let that happen. Carthew’s spirited rhyming prose and Prescott’s jolly illustrations acknowledges the isolation some of us can feel at this time of year and the importance of sharing with others. It is also a heavenly observation of the decorative lead up to Christmas, which will no doubt stir up plenty of cherished memories in older readers and reinstate new ones for younger audiences.
New Frontier Publishing November 2017
With big bold, brighter-than-Bond-Street-lights illustrations that you’ll just want to scoop up and cuddle, this jolly picture book counts down Christmas in the most gleeful way for pre-schoolers. Stimulating verse and vibrant use of colour and onomatopoeia creates a delicious sense of expectation that small children will find as irresistible as candy canes. This is a book load of festive fun you’ll be happy to read repeatedly as you count down how many more ‘cheeps’ till Christmas.
Bloomsbury November 2017
A Christmas Advent Story by Hannah Tolson and Ivy Snow
If advent calendars are your chosen way to tick off the days until Christmas day but you want something a little more sugar-free this year, consider this lift-the-flap picture book. Each page allows kiddies to explore all the best anticipative bits of the season including the bake offs, the tree decorating and the present wrapping and provides plenty the obligatory numbered flaps to lift for extra surprises. A sure-fire way to entertain and engage for a least one month of the year.
Bloomsbury October 2017