Wednesday, 23 November 2016

366 Books in 366 Days: Christmas Crackers!

I adore this time of year, I always have done and as the Mini Reviewers are growing up, it seems that the countdown to Christmas is becoming even more magical. I love all the planning and the crafting and, of course, all the amazing Christmas books. Although I am still in the process of compiling our December list for our 366 books in 366 days challenge, I thought that as November is almost over, I'd share ten brilliant Christmas books to get you feeling festive! So grab a mince pie, sit down and enjoy our selection of Christmas Crackers. There are lots of golden oldies in there, as well as a few brand new titles.


1. The Queen's Present. I confess that I was very excited about the release of this new book by Steve Antony. Mini Reviewer, Izzie, is a huge fan of both The Queen's Hat and The Queen's Handbag so I was extremely eager to read the third book in this series to her.

In The Queen's Present, the Queen teams up with Father Christmas to find a gift for her grandchildren. Together, Father Christmas and the Queen travel all over the world and even stop off at the North Pole in their search for the perfect present. The Queen returns to England with the best possible present for the Prince and Princess, a Christmas Day cuddle from Grandma.

This is a really festive story and, as always, Steve Antony's illustrations are playful yet accurate making this a great book to learn about some of the world's most famous landmarks. The use of green and red throughout the story make the pictures incredibly eye catching and adds to the festive feel. This is certainly a book that will be treasured here for many Christmases to come.
The Queen's Present by Steve Antony (Hodder Children's Books)



2. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. In my very unofficial poll of friends, family and fellow book bloggers, this title came up more than any other as a Christmas favourite. This is hardly surprising as it is such a fun book. We join the Jolly Postman on his round as he delivers the Christmas mail to lots of familiar characters: Little Red, Baby Bear, Humpty Dumpty and even Mr Wolf. With letters to open and explore, there are lots of surprises and I have never encountered a little reader who doesn't enjoy it.
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Puffin)


3. Dear Santa by Rod Campbell and published by Macmillan (2012). This festive lift the flap book from the creator of "Dear Zoo", is fantastic for the littlest of bookworms at Christmas. Will Santa be able to find the perfect present, lift the flaps to unwrap the gifts and find out.
Dear Santa by Rod Campbell (Pan Macmillan)



4. The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer is a new and incredibly cute little board book based on The Itsy Bitsy Spider or, to those of us in the UK, Incy Wincy Spider! In the story we find out all about the Itsy Bitsy Reindeer and how he helps Santa get ready for his Christmas deliveries. Mini Reviewer, Theo, keeps asking for this book over and over again. He really enjoys singing along to the rhyme and looking at the pictures. We love that it is the perfect size for little hands to hold and would make a great stocking filler for babies and toddlers.
The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer by Jeffrey Burton and Sanja Rescek (Simon & Schuster)



5. The Snowman and The Snowdog, which is based on the characters originally created by Raymond Briggs. Now I grew up loving The Snowman, both the book and the film. It was actually the very first video I owned as a child! But I have to say that I enjoy The Snowman and The Snowdog even more. In this sequel The Snowman is back and has a canine friend with socks for ears. The story follows them on their magical adventure to join the other snowmen and meet Father Christmas. The surprise ending of this story is so lovely and, I confess, I may have shed a few tears.
The Snowman and The Snowdog based on characters created by Raymond Briggs (Puffin)



6. Presents Through the Window is a great interactive book that is a little different to other Christmas stories. The Santa in this story wears a pink suit and flies a helicopter. He is also extremely busy so only has time to peek in through the windows before dropping off each present. This leads to a few mix ups. Just what will the recipients make of their gifts on Christmas day? We really enjoyed this unusual book and the Mini Reviewers loved peeking through the windows and found Santa's mix ups hilarious!
Presents Through the Window by Taro Gomi (Chronicle Kids)




7. I love you Father Christmas written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Emma Dodd. This week we went to our library and they had put out all their Christmas picture books. We may have picked up one or two (or six!) and this was one of our haul. We have previously reviewed I love my daddy and enjoy Giles Andreae's rhymes and Emma Dodd's illustrations. This story is based on a child's letter to Father Christmas so it really captures the joy of the festive season and the magic of a childhood Christmas. The book is a fantastic way of introducing little ones to Father Christmas with his red suit, shiny boots, amazing beard and, of course, his reindeer. It talks about the tradition of leaving carrots and mince pies on Christmas Eve and also highlights that only good little boy and girls get gifts off the big man.
I love you Father Christmas by Giles Andrea and Emma Dodd (Orchard Books)



8. Elmer's Christmas by David McKee. It is nearly Christmas and Elmer takes the excited young elephants on a snowy adventure. Will they get to see Papa Red? Well only if they stay out of sight! This is a lovely colourful Christmas story featuring our favourite elephant and it is now available as a board book. We adore Elmer find out why here!
Elmer's Christmas by David McKee (Andersen Press)


9. Stick Man written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Now I always forget that Stick Man is a Christmas book and this is probably because it is such a popular choice in this house all year round. We know the story very well: "Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three..." For those of you who are unfamiliar with Stick Man's tale being a stick, although exciting, can be rather dangerous. Every day leads him on a different adventure. Stick Man becomes many things including a sword, a mast, part of a nest and he is nearly set on fire! He is desperate to get back to the family tree and with the help of a very special person he might do it, just in time for Christmas.
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (Alison Green Books)



10. Room for a Little One - A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft. This was another of our recent library finds. I have been on the look out for a lovely Nativity book to include in our Christmas selection for a while. This one is a beautiful portrayal of the Christmas story. On a cold night, the animals gather in a stable by an inn, they are joined by some travellers seeking shelter and they witness the birth of a very special baby. This is a gentle story, full of tenderness and the stunning illustrations radiate a certain warmth. We have really enjoyed sharing this story together.
Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft (Orchard Books)

Room for a Little One

We hope you are now feeling a little more festive. If you would like to win a copy of The Jolly Christmas Postman, please do check out our competition on Instagram.

*Disclaimer: We received copies of The Queen's Present, Presents Through the Window and The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer for the purpose of review. The other books are either library books or part of our own collection. As always the opinions are our own.

3 comments:

  1. What a great selection of festive books! I love the Jolly Christmas Postman! x

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  2. A lovely selection of festive themed books there, I love reading Christmas stories. Thanks for sharing with #ReadWIthMe

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  3. This is a fab selection of Christmas books. We read The Jolly Christmas Postman for tea first time this year, my 4yo loved it :) #readwithme

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