10 Board Books for Christmas
1. The Nutcracker from the story by E. T. A Hoffmann and illustrated by Don Daily
You can never have too many Nutcracker books! Although, I have so many that it might be possible to have too many. With this latest edition with illustrations by Don Daily, children will get a flavor of the classic nutcracker story. And while it's suitable for three year olds and older, I'm slightly surprised to see this version as a board book since the length of the text makes it more age-appropriate for older children and therefore wouldn't need to be published in board book format. But then again, board books should be about introducing first concepts and good literature and illustrations to children so maybe a board book edition does make sense. Either way, it's a lovely new version to add to the shelf this Christmas. However, my favorite Nutcracker board book is still The Nutcracker by Valeria Docampo.
2. Good Night, Santa by Dawn Sirett and illustrated by Kitty Glavin
When a little girl decides to look for Santa, she heads outside only to find Mrs. Owl, fox cubs, and Mr. Cool Cat. Wishing them all a good night (since she did not find Santa) the little girl goes back inside to her warm and cozy bed and while fast asleep Santa delivers his merry Christmas gifts.
The text is minimal but what I like most about it is the high-contrast silhouetted illustrations against the snowy backdrop. The light up the moon is also an enticing draw for little ones. Good Night, Baby Moon is another one in the series.
This beautiful book is my favorite Christmas board book of 2019. With seven pull-out paper snowflake ornaments, each with a different name for Jesus, I absolutely love the neutral color pallet with bright pops of red and the in-depth descriptions and biblical passages that accompany each name for Jesus. A lovely book for advent and one that encourages conversations about the meaning of Christmas with little ones.
4. How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague
My kids have always liked this series by Jane Yolen, especially How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends but I wasn't as impressed with this one as I've been with some of her other dino-themed stories, at least for really young children. The destruction of the Christmas tree by one of the dinosaurs in the beginning of the book made me wonder if that imagery might be disturbing to some young children. The second half of the book (when the dinosaurs are being good) is very well done with Yolen's usual creative, energetic, and rhythmic rhyming.
I'd recommend it for three year olds but I'm not sure my two year old would appreciate the illustration of the dinosaur shaking all the ornaments off the tree.
5. We're Going on an Elf Chase by Martha Mumford with Illustrations by Laura Hughes
Another 2019 Christmas board book favorite! We're Going on an Elf Chase will bring back all the memories of We're Going on a Bear Hunt.
"We're going on an elf chase. Come and join the fun. Can we catch them all? Yes! Run,, run, run! We're going on an elf chase. Flip, flop, slide. Watch out for the penguins...skate, skate, glide!"
Such a fun one and the illustrations and lift-the-flaps add to the wintery excitement.
Also a favorite! A Peter Rabbit Tale: A Christmas Wish celebrates the anticipation of Santa Clause as Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter get ready for Christmas Day. When it's time for bed, one little bunny can't fall asleep. Every creak, every thump, and every tap, Peter investigates to see if Santa has finally come. But as you know, Santa only comes when all little bunnies are fast asleep.
Finally, Peter's falls fast asleep and before long he wakes up on Christmas morning to find the one present he had asked for. Enormous radishes! Santa had come after all.
The illustrations are lovely and you really can't go wrong with any of the Peter Rabbit tales.
7. Tractor Mac: Countdown to Christmas by Billy Steers
For all tractor-loving toddlers, Tractor Mac is getting ready for Christmas. On Stony Meadow Farm everyone is anticipating the big day. From decorating with lights and ribbons, finding the perfect Christmas tree, sharing gifts, enjoying treats, caroling, and enjoying good company, Tractor Mac and his friends are ready to celebrate.
I actually don't have any of the other Tractor Mac books but this one is a lot of fun and in the same vein as books like An Otis Christmas and Little Blue Truck's Christmas in the sense that they are all come-to-life vehicle books.
8. The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
I've always loved Tomie dePaola's illustrations (I don't know anyone who doesn't!) so of course I had to include this classic reprinting of a Christmas favorite.
9. A Christmas Wish for Corduroy: Based on the Characters by Don Freeman. Written by B. G. Hennessy and illustrated by Jody Wheeler
Inspired by the classic Corduroy, A Christmas Wish for Corduroy brings a new tale to life that preempts the Corduroy story. On a December afternoon, the toys in the department store eagerly wait on shelves to be taken home. At story time, a group of children discusses Santa and the North Pole and what they would like for Christmas. They are also getting ready to visit Santa. As everyone bustles about a bear overhears a mother tell her daughter that if she's going to visit Santa, she'll need a special outfit. Without a name and without an outfit the bear knows something has to be done if he wants to visit Santa.
Climbing off the shelf that evening, the bear walks through the department store trying on outfits until finally he reaches a place that must be the North Pole. Inside Santa's workshop he finds a set of elf clothes that fit perfectly. The bear is very tired at this point and he soon falls asleep in Santa's chair. The next morning the bear is greeted by Santa and then taken back down to his shelf where low and behold...a girl named Lisa sees Corduroy and says, "Oh Mommy! There's the very bear I've always wanted!" Lisa scoops him up and Corduroy feels so special that he thinks to himself "This must be what Christmas feels like."
I remember loving the Corduroy stories growing up so it's always nice to see Don Freeman's classics being celebrated in new ways.
10. Christmas Train by David Miles
Having just taken N and C on the Essex Steam Train earlier this week, I think this book will be a favorite for our two year old as it unfolds into a 52-in train. I also like how the counting in the book goes up to twenty instead of just ten as Santa's train is full of exciting treats, Christmas flowers, candles, carolers, stockings, and more.