Christmas Books 2014

Blackbird Reads:  Christmas Books 2014

by Deborah Wright

‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas 123’

by Eric Carle
published by Puffin
A chunky board book with the well known caterpillar counting up to Christmas, and yes, he does become a butterfly on Christmas Day. For 1+



‘The Nativity’

by May Eliot illustrated by Richard Johnson
published by Picture Corgi
This is a simple retelling of the birth of Jesus with gentle illustrations which will introduce very small children to the real story of Christmas.


‘Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers’

by Lynley Dodd
published by Puffin
If you don’t know the Hairy Maclary books I urge you to track them down immediately. The escapades of the mischievous cats and dogs (all with brilliant names, like Scarface Claw the Toughest Tom in Town) coupled with the rollicking rhyme is totally infectious. The Christmas tree is doomed from the start when you spy Slinky Malinki peeking out from behind a bauble. For 3+

‘The Sheep that Saved Christmas’BR-The-Sheep-250

by Jason Page, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds
published by Red Fox
You may groan at yet another ‘animal saving Santa’ story, but this one is great fun. Cynthia the sheep is off to the North Pole (I love her queueing up at the airport with her passport) and when Father Christmas’s beard is burnt off, her woolly coat saves the day. For 4+



‘Angelina’s Christmas’

by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig
published by Puffin
Christmas is the time for old favourites so I highly recommend two reissues which my family have read together every Christmas for over twenty-five years. Angelina Ballerina is such a feisty little character and in this story she and Henry befriend a lonely old mouse who turns out to be a ‘real’ Father Christmas. For 4+

‘Christmas in Exeter Street’BR-Exeter-St-250

by Diana Hendry, illustrated by John Lawrence
published by Walker
The other reissue we love will strike a chord if you’ve a houseful for Christmas. It’s lucky the   house in Exeter Street is large, because more and more people arrive to stay on Christmas Eve: five aunts end up lying on the kitchen dresser, the vicar and his wife are in the bath, and eighteen children are squeezed in somehow. Fortunately they all come with something for Christmas Day and baby Lily Lou, who spends the night in the sink, just smiles and smiles and smiles. For 4+

Front cover of a Strauss House book, The Christmas Truce

‘The Christmas Truce’

by Hilary Robinson, illustrated by Martin Impey
published by Strauss House
This is a sequel to ‘Where the Poppies Now Grow’, which I reviewed in August, and tells the famous and moving story of the soldiers who sang ‘Silent Night’ across the trenches and laid down their weapons for one night. An appropriate book for this centenary year. For 5+

‘The Smallest Gift of Christmas’BR-The-Smallest-Gift-250

by Peter H. Reynolds
published by Walker
Greedy Roland doesn’t think much of his tiny present, he wants something much bigger. He stamps his foot: ‘I want a bigger gift!’ It takes a trip in a space rocket to learn what is really important at Christmas. A cheerful moral little tale for 4+


‘The Nights Before Christmas’

illustrated by Tony Ross
published by Andersen
Much better than an Advent Calendar, here are 24 classic Christmas stories and poems to share every day instead. ‘The Snow Queen’, ‘Papa Panov’,
‘The Wind in the Willows’, ‘The Night Before Christmas’, it’s a wonderful collection – start dropping hints to Granny. For 7+



‘Why Does Santa Ride around in a Sleigh?’

by Kay Woodward
published by Puffin
For children who love facts. Why is there no mince in mince pies? Why is Father Christmas called Santa Claus? Where is the biggest Christmas tree? Very useful! For 7+