By Josie Rhodes
With the holiday season fully upon us, I wanted to take some time to review some of my favorite winter/holiday reads. I love so much just snuggling up on the couch, under blankets, with both kiddos cozied in and a big ol’ stack of books… #myhappyplace….
Tea Party in the Woods written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi -
This book is part charm, part whimsy, and so darling. It is a child's imagination realized. Kikko sets out to bring a pie to her grandma. She stumbles upon a strange house in the woods and the inhabitants inside invite her in for a tea party! The story is illustrated with charcoal drawings containing only pops of primary colors, red and yellow, making it the perfect read on a snowy winter day.
Hello Mister Cold written and illustrated by Carlos Porta -
Hello Mister Cold is the second book in the Hidden Valley Series. Originally written in Spanish, this wintertime tale follows Maximilian Cold, "child of the richest...coldest family in town." The snowy setting makes it a perfect winter read but more than that, this tale highlights the old adage that things are not always what they seem. A series of events unites Max, Yula, and a ballerina with the head of an onion, aptly named Onion-head. The townsfolk believe that Max is a horrible monster who has kidnapped Yula. In the end, they discover that he is just a person looking for a new place to call home.
Over and Under the Snow written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal -
Over and Under the Snow captures the tranquility of a woodland winter wonderland while at the same time exposing young readers to more scientific elements, such as the subnivean zone, "a network of small open spaces and tunnels between the snowpack and the ground." (Who knew?!? lol) Kate Messner’s lyrical words partnered with retro illustrations make this picture book a lovely addition to any home library. Bonus - at the back of the book is an index of the animals showcased and options for further reading if you would like to learn more about animals in winter.
Last Stop on the Reindeer Express written by Maudie Powell-Tuck and illustrated by Karl James Mountford -
This tender Christmas themed book emphasizes the special relationship between a child and her grandfather. Mia is so excited to mail her grandpa a special holiday card but it's too late. The card will not arrive before Christmas. Disappointed Mia finds a magical portal that whisks her over far off lands on a magical reindeer directly to her grandpa. The illustrations are bright and saturated, encapsulating the heart of the holiday. This one is certain to spark the curiosity of every reader with peek-a-boo flaps that guide the reader onto the next page.
Pick a Pine Tree written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Jarvis -
Tradition. This picture book has the re-readability of the Night Before Christmas as it gives special prominence to the time honored custom of picking out the perfect pine tree, embodying the spirit of Christmas. It takes the reader on the complete journey from picking the pine tree, to stringing the lights, to hanging the ornaments, to laying the tree skirt, until "it's not a pine tree anymore. It's a Christmas Tree!" Partnered with perfectly cheery and rich illustrations, this is the perfect read before going out to pick your pine tree.
All books are currently available for sale at the Red Canoe :-)