I was recently looking through old posts and either I've gotten pickier about which Christmas books I'm going to recommend, or there haven't been enough new Christmas board book publications to allow for a list as extensive as the one I put together in 2016. Last year's post was much more in line with this one in terms of it's size, which is maybe a good thing; if you're looking for Christmas board books, a smaller list of recommendations is much more manageable than a large one, I would think. In any case, here's my list! I'd also like to thank Worthy Publishing Group for generously sending me a copy of The Christmas Story. I'm excited to have it included below.
As a last note, I'd be curious to hear from friends and followers if you'd be interested in out-of-print book recommendations. I haven't included any in this list, but there were a few I debated about including because they're harder to find, such as Tomie's Little Christmas Pageant or Paddington and the Christmas Surprise, which is not out of print, but is not easy to get before Christmas (at least in board book format anyways). I'd also love to hear of any Christmas book favorites that you and your children have (in any format).
1. Little Christmas Tree by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
Little Christmas Tree is a new publication by Big Picture Press (an imprint of Candlewick Press) and when I picked up the book I had to take a moment to simply admire the high quality of the paper and its matte finish with highlights of shimmering snow and falling snowflakes. A lift-the-flap book, the story of Little Christmas Tree comes to life as a tree is gradually surrounded by forest friends on a starlit Christmas night.
2. The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
I was so glad to see The Wild Christmas Reindeer in board book format so that I could include it in this post. A well known favorite, Jan Brett's exceptional illustrations and storytelling speak for themselves. Set on Santa's Winterfarm, we meet Teeka who is in charge of rounding up the reindeer in preparation for Santa's journey on Christmas Eve. With side panel illustrations on every page of the countdown to Christmas, Teeka races to groom, train, and harness the reindeer in time for Santa. A beautiful book and a classic that I remember from when I was a kid.
3. The Nutcracker illustrated by Valeria Docampo
As someone who used to dance in The Nutcracker, I have an infinite fondness for nutcracker productions, nutcracker music, and nutcracker picture books! New to board book format, this version of The Nutcracker is based on New York City Ballet's production by George Balanchine. A charming and magical depiction of the ballet by illustrator, Valeria Docampo, this rendition has become one of my favorites. While nothing beats seeing The Nutcracker in person, children will be able to revisit this beloved story again and again in the book. And of course, with a little Tchaikovsky playing in the background and some eager dancing feet, little ones will soon be putting on their own at-home productions complete with twirls and marches, leaps and bows. Happy reading and dancing!
4. My First Prayers for Christmas by Maïte Roche
My parents first introduced me to board books by Maïte Roche when our son was born and I'm so glad they did because the illustrations are really lovely. Each page prompts the beginning of prayer with "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" before continuing on to introduce a particular prayer. A beautiful book and one that truly highlights the celebration of Christmas as a celebration of Christ's birth.
5. The Christmas Story by Patricia A. Pingry & illustrated by Wendy Edelson
I have really enjoyed reading The Christmas Story. Not all children who celebrate Christmas are familiar with the true story of Christmas and The Christmas Story does a wonderful job of concisely introducing children to the journey that Mary and Joseph had to take in preparation for the arrival of Jesus. With engaging illustrations, The Christmas Story is a lovely addition to any family bookshelf no matter the season.
6. Baby's Christmas by Esther Wilkin & illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
As a last recommendation, I had to include Baby's Christmas from the Golden Baby series. An enduring classic that is still just as enjoyable to read now as it was in the 1950's. On baby's Christmas tree there are candy canes, gingerbread boys and twinkling lights. On Christmas Day baby excitedly finds a music box, a string of wooden beads, a teddy bear, a train, and lots of other toys. With so many toys though where will they go? Thankfully, Santa is very clever and he didn't forget to bring...a toy box! And that's where baby places her toys, every day!
I will be taking a break from posting until the New Year but until then, have a blessed advent and Merry Christmas!