The Empty Stocking
This was an awesome library find. I picked it up because I admired the illustrator’s work and when I read it and discovered it was about twins, I was delighted. And actually, I’d stuck gold, because one twin is naughty all year and Santa doesn’t leave her ANY presents! But then she does something surprising and the author shares with us the very endearing reasons for her naughtiness. It’s actually a beautiful Christmas story, particularly for families with more than one child – you don’t need twins to appreciate it. And the illustrations are lovely too. Of course I had to buy a copy.
The Empty Stocking is written by Richard Curtis, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, published by Puffin Books.
I picked this book up a couple of years ago because the stick man looked like the toy the Gruffalo’s Child clutches. Turns out it’s a beautiful story about love and family and the need to get home. It’s clever, demonstrating so many ways to play with sticks and there’s repetition for little readers to join in “reading” too. I love pulling this one out each year.
Stick Man is written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, published by Scholastic.
One Christmas Wish
This is a Christmas book to treasure. It’s gorgeous. There’s raised lettering and gold foil on the dust jacket, a whimsical gold foil pattern on the cover and the full-colour illustrations are beautiful. There’s seven glorious drawings each covering a double-page spread, as well as more pictures interspersed through the text, giving children plenty to look at as the story unfolds.
The story is a bit sad to start. Young Theo has been left with a babysitter on Christmas Eve and a box of shabby, old decorations to decorate the Christmas tree. But there’s magic in those decorations. Theo has an adventure and the magic wraps around his parents too, reminding them it’s Christmas and family comes first and our job as parents is to be present. And perhaps weave a little magic of our own.
I was so excited to read this book by Katherine Rundell after just finishing her novel The Explorer as a read aloud with my twins, 9. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
One Christmas Wish is written by Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Emily Sutton, published by Bloomsbury. RRP $24.99
The Untold Story of Father Christmas
This is a beautiful Christmas book, one I’m sure we’ll pull out every year now. The silver foil on the cover gives it a traditional feel and the illustrations inside are just magic. I particularly love the forest elf in her outfit of muted red, green and cream, with a Christmassy crown of pine and berries on her head. I so want to make Christmas crowns like those with my girls now!
The story is lovely too – filling in some of the detail about Santa Claus and how he came to deliver presents to children all over the world. It explains he started as a toymaker who, with his wife Mary, decided one year to surprise the children in their village with a beautifully handcrafted toy each on Christmas morning. Their plan took off and almost became too much for the couple, until elves stepped in to help. Is it true? No-one really knows, but it certainly fits with what I learned as a child.
The Untold Story of Father Christmas is written by Alison and Mike Battle, illustrated by Lauren A Mills, published by Bloomsbury. RRP $21.99
The Naughtiest Reindeer
It’s Christmas Eve and Rudolph is in bed with a cold. He just can’t guide Santa’s sleigh tonight. His mischievous sister Ruby is going to going to have to step up to the task. But is she up to it? The other reindeer certainly don’t think so.
This story is just right as a read aloud. It’s got great rhythm, you can use fun expressions and there’s rhyming too. I love the illustrations – that reindeer is well-meaning but so naughty. And the leaping reindeer endpapers are a delight.
The Naughtiest Reindeer is written and illustrated by Australian author/illustrator Nicki Greenberg, published by Allen and Unwin. There’s a few sequels out also. We’ve got The Naughtiest Reindeer Goes South and The Naughtiest Reindeer Takes a Bow has just been published this year.
An Aussie Night Before Christmas
An Aussie version of the traditional Night Before Christmas poem. I love it. It’s quick and delightful and we love the illustrations, particularly the cheeky one when Santa “bent down on one knee to position our goodies beneath the yule tree”. It makes us giggle every time.
An Aussie Night Before Christmas is written by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Kilmeny Niland, published by Scholastic.
Rudey’s Windy Christmas
This is a Christmas story with toilet humour. Rudolph’s got gas because Santa fed him all the brussel sprouts from his own plate. The eight reindeer behind Rudolph cop it all night – and they get the giggles. I never knew there were so many ways to say “fart” before reading this book. It’s funny and I just love the surprise at the end.
Rudey’s Windy Christmas is written by Helen Baugh, illustrated by Ben Mantle, published by Harper Collins.
The Girl Who Saved Christmas and Father Christmas and Me
These Christmas chapter books capture the spirit of Christmas – love, kindness, hope for something better and a bit of magic. These two round out the trilogy that started with A Boy Called Christmas, which is on my “to be read” list. Both books have festive glitter on the covers, decidedly januty endpapers and a generous smattering of black and white illustrations throughout – I just love chapter books that include pictures! The Girl Who Saved Christmas and Father Christmas and Me are written by Matt Haig, illustrated by Chris Mould, published by Canongate Books.
The Nutcracker is a magical story and this is a book to be treasured and re-read aloud every year at Christmas time. There are more than 70 illustrations, including 13 glorious double-page spreads depicting key scenes from the story. in this version, beautifully illustrated by renowned Australian illustrator Robert Ingpen. See my detailed review for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Reading Time.
What’s your favourite Christmas book? I’d love you to share it below.