Four CHRISTMAS FAVORITES . . . PART 1 on Friday
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!! I absolutely love Christmas – the food, the decorations, the music, the snow!, and as always, the books!! Our Christmas book basket is out and throughout my day of running around, doing laundry, cooking and cleaning, and all the rest of the things we all do, I periodically take a break to revisit our classic Christmas favorites. I have so many that this FOUR ON FRIDAY will continue for the next three Fridays so I can talk about more of my favorites. Here’s list number 1:
Wombat Divine by Mem Fox
Wombat loves all things Christmas and he is finally old enough to try out for the Nativity Play. Unfortunately, none of the parts seem to fit him: too short to be one of the Kings, too heavy to the Archangel Gabriel, too clumsy to be the innkeeper, and so on. Poor Wombat is distraught; is there no part for him? Bilby then has the most brilliant idea: Wombat will play Baby Jesus. The play is a complete success with Wombat falling asleep just as a real baby would. Wombat was absolutely divine!
Some dear friends of ours from Australia shared this book with my family and it has been a favorite since my kids were little. The illustrations and descriptions show animals that are native to Australia and are beautifully done. This story will warm the heart of all ages.
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
The Littlest Angel has a difficult time acclimating to life in heaven. He is always late, sings off-key in the heavenly choir, and has the dirtiest, most ill-behaving halo. When the Understanding Angel takes him under his wing and retrieves for him a small box from his home back on Earth, his demeanor and behavior become fitting of an angel. This box contained the simple pleasures in the life of a young boy: a collar worn by a favorite dog, a blue egg from a robin’s next, and a smooth white stone found on a riverbank. When the son of God is born and all the angels create beautiful gifts, the Littlest Angel presents this box to the Baby Jesus and it is this gift that becomes the star of Bethlehem.
This beautiful story is a classic and has been a tradition in my family since I was young . . . you know, centuries ago! When we were little, my dad would read the story aloud on Christmas Eve. As we grew older, we would pass the book around, each reading a page or two. This tradition continues with my own family and I loved when my children began to learn to read and be able to take a turn. And, it’s not an easy book to read aloud! I remember the first time I got the words “precipitous,” “vociferously,” and “Seraphim and Cherubim!” What a great vocabulary lesson! It is a timeless book that marks a special family tradition.
Small, Medium, & Large by Jane Monroe Donovan
This picture book tells the story of a young girl who writes a letter to Santa and on Christmas morning, receives three boxes – small, medium, and large. In the small box, is a cat; in the medium box, a dog; and in the large box, a horse. The four new friends have snacks together, go sledding, make snow animals, and snuggle together for the night.
I love books that tell their story through pictures and no words. Alexandra Day’s Carl series has always been one of my family’s favorites. Small, Medium, and Large tells a sweet story of friendship. The pictures are beautiful and there is so much to look at and discuss with smaller children. I especially love the cat’s face while sledding and when the horse eats the snowman’s nose. Any animal loving family with appreciate this book. It’s a newer book published in 2010, but it has definitely become a favorite of ours.
The Christmas Collie by Ted Paul
The story tells of a 5-year-old boy who receives a Collie for Christmas and continues on through their adventures together. Playing tag, waiting while the boy is at school, and helping Dad on the farm all keep Collie Toby busy. The boy grows up and must leave the dog as he heads off to war. The story then fast-forwards to when the boy now has a 5-year-old son of his own who receives Toby the Second at Christmas.
The book makes my family laugh; not because it is funny, but because I can’t read it without crying. It is just beautiful and if you have ever owned a pet, it really tugs at the heartstrings. I mean, the dog is herding God’s sheep in heaven; bring on the tissues! I grew up with a Collie named Ewok; can you guess what my family was a fan of!? After Ewok passed, my parents lasted exactly two months without a Collie and we got “Toby.” The book is written in a rhyme that reads aloud very well . . . if you can hold it together.
More Christmas books next week, but any other favorites for your families?