Saturday, December 5, 2009

Readathon: Last Christmas Picture Books

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My favorite kind of story...bad guy sees the error of his ways and turns good. Ages 12 up. 10/10.

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas read by the author

Ages 12 up.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote illustrated by Beth Peck

I read this every Christmas. Can't help but love this little tale. Ages 10 up. 10/10.

The Teachers' Night Before Christmas by Steven Layne illustrated by James Rice

More for teachers than for kids. A big thank you, teachers. Ages 8-12. 7/10.

Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini illustrated by Henry Cole

Moose is practically perfect and he's ready for Christmas. Almost. Oops. He forgot one thing---the tree. What to do? Ages 6-10. 8.5/10.

The Puppy Who Wanted a Boy by Jane Thayer illustrated by Lisa McCue

This puppy wants a boy for Christmas. But all the boys appear to be taken. Ages 6-10. 9/10.

I See Santa Everywhere by Glenn McCoy

Santa is watching. All the time. Everywhere. Best part: end. Ages 6-10. 8.5/10.

Santa Calls by William Joyce

A box arrives; Santa calls. Art, Spaulding, and Esther head off to the North Pole. Best part: Letters at the end. Ages 8-12. 9/10.

Brave Santa by Nancy Poydar

Jack's too shy to talk to Santa. He finally gathers up his courage to approach Santa, but where is he? Santa, too, it seems, is shy. Ages 4-8. 8/10.

Texas Night Before Christmas written and illustrated by James Rice

Cowboy Santa arrives on the ranch. Ages 6-10. 8/10.

Drummer Boy by Loren Long

The little drummer boy gets knocked about, carried off to a garbage dump and the top of a big city, until he finally returns back home. Ages 5-10. 9/10.

I Wish Santa Would Come by Helicopter by Amanda Haley

A boy has lots of wishes about Santa, but his mom shows the down side of his dreams. Ages 3-8. 8/10.

Santa's Crash-Bang Christmas by Steven Kroll and illustrated by Tomie DePaola

It's one of those days and Santa keeps banging into things. And how did a polar bear end up in his bag of toys? Ages 5-10. 8/10.

Santa's Book of Names by David McPhail

Santa needs a little help reading his book of names and gifts. Edward has trouble reading. Can he help Santa? Ages 5-10. 9/10.

Merry Un-Christmas written by Mike Reiss and illustrated by David Catrow

Noelle gets a new doll and a new bike and a pony every day. Every day is Christmas where Noelle lives. Every day except one. The day Noelle looks forward to. Un-Christmas Day. Ages 6-10. 9/10.

NPR Holiday Favorites

Doubtful if there is much here for kids. But I wanted something to end my day of reading that would send me off to sleep. Perfect end to a busy reading day.

Readathon: More Christmas Picture Books

I'm hours and hours into the Readathon. Here are a few more Christmas picture books I've read and reviewed.

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry

Mr. Willowby's Christmas tree is too tall for his house, so the tiptop must be cut off. And it's just right for the upstairs maid, but it's just a wee bit too tall. So the tiptop must be cut off and that's just right for...and so on, and so on. Ages 4-10. 9/10.

Wombat Divine by Mem Fox and illustrated by Kerry Argent

Wombat really wanted to be in the Christmas pageant, but what part could he play? Ages 4-8. 9/10.

Henry and Mudge in the Sparkle Days by Cynthia Rylant with pictures by Sucie Stevenson

Three little stories about Henry and his dog and his parents. Ages 5-8. 8/10.

Make a Joyful Noise: A Pop-Up Book of Christmas Carols by Francesca Crespi

Beautiful pop-ups for four Christmas carols. Ages 4-12. 9/10.

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez

Oh dear. Maria just wanted to try on Mama's ring while they were making tamales. Trouble. Ages 5-10. 9/10.

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

The jolly postman delivers delightful Christmas mail to fairy tale characters. Ages 5-10. 8.5/10

Where Did They Hide My Presents? Silly Dilly Christmas Songs by Alan Katz and David Catrow

Little songs set to the tune of Christmas carols. Ages 6-10. 8/10.

Froggy's Best Christmas by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz

Froggy wakes up and experiences his first Christmas. Ages 4-8. 8/10.

The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell and illustrated by Sergio Leone

A four-year-old boy enters heaven and turns everything upside down. But he atones for it all and bestows a treasured box up on the infant King. Ages 5-10. 8.5/10.

Yoon and the Christmas Mitten written by Helen Recorvits and illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Yoon tries to find a way to have Santa visit her, but her father insists that her family is Korean and not a Christmas family. Ages 5-10. 8.5/10.

Merry Christmas, Merry Crow by Kathi Appelt and illustrated by Jon Goodell

A crow gathers this and that. Best part: the ending. Ages: 4-10. 8.5/10.

Amahl and the Night Visitors written by Gian Carlo Menotti and illustrated by Michele Lemieux

Amahl must walk with a crutch and he and his mother struggle to survive in the desert. One night they are visited by three kings and three shepherds who are following a star in search of the King. Best part: Amahl and his mother talk back and forth. Ages 8-12. 8.5/10.

Careful, Santa by Julie Sykes illustrated by Tim Warnes

Santa has lots of troubles delivering presents. Ages 4-8. 8/10.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Dogs by Carolyn ConahanA friend keeps giving dogs as gifts. Best part: the show at the end. Ages 5-10. 8/10.

The Christmas Train by Ivan Gantschev

A boulder falls on the train tracks and a girl must save the train using her Christmas tree. Best part: the lamb the girl’s father had for her. Ages 5-10. 7/10.

Readathon: Christmas Stories (More)

A few more hours have passed and I've finished lots more children's Christmas picture books....

The Soldier’s Night Before Christmas written by Trish Holland and Christine Ford and illustrated by John Manders

Sergeant McClaus arrives at the army camp with presents for all the soldiers from those who love them safe at home. Best part: The last line: ‘As the camp radar lost him, I heard this faint call: “Happy Christmas, brave soldiers! May peace come to all.”’ Ages 5-12. 7/10.

Ten Little Christmas Presents by Jean Marzollo

Ten Christmas presents sit in the snow for the animals. Best part: Anticipating what was in the packages. Ages 2-5. 7/10.

Heart of a Snowman by Mary Kuryla and Eugene Yelchin

Owen builds a snowman every year on Christmas Eve, only to see it melt by Christmas Day. Owen finds himself taken away to space where he is studied to find out why his snowmen are so perfect. Best part: the illustrations. Ages 5-10. 7/10.

Reindeer Christmas written by Mark Kimball Moulton and illustrated by Karen Hillard Good

Every year two children and their grandmother leave treats for the woodland animals. One Christmas they are visited by a reindeer who brings a special reward. Best part: the wish. Ages 5-10. 7/10.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Jane Chapman

Bear, with the help of his friends, tries to stay up for Christmas. Best part: the illustrations. Ages 2-8. 7/10.

The Longest Christmas List Ever by Gregg and Evan Spiridellis

Trevor always forgets to put something on his list. He decides to start early, the day after Christmas, and he writes down everything he wants on a list that stretches from his house all the way down the street. Best part: writing his long list. Ages 4-10. 7/10.

Mrs. Claus Takes a Vacation by Linas Alsenas

Mrs. Claus is tired of never getting to go anywhere and so she decides to travel around the world. Santa worries about her while she is gone, but his worries are unnecessary; Mrs. Claus is having a wonderful time. Best part: Mrs. Claus sunbathing. Ages 4-10. 9/10

Santa Claus, the World’s Number One Toy Expert by Marla Frazee

How does Santa manage to find just the right gift for every child? Well, it takes a lot of work. Best part: Santa’s extensive files. Ages 4-10. 8.5/10

Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett

Treva notices things are missing as Christmas approaches. She discovers the culprits, two trolls, and teaches them what Christmas is really all about. Ages 5-8. 8/10

Mr. Putter and Tabby Bake the Cake written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Arthur Howard

Mr. Putter and his cat, Tabby, decide to bake a cake for his friend and her dog. Best part: When Mr. Putter buys the the things he needs for the cake and he spends $100 before he ever buys the flour. Ages 4-9. 9/10.

Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve by Janet Morgan Stoeke

Minerva Louise, a plump white chicken, is very confused about Christmas. Best part: humor. Ages 4-8. 8/10.

Waiting for Christmas written by Monica Greenfield and illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist

A brother and sister wait for Christmas to arrive. Beautiful illustrations. Ages 4-8. 7.5/10

Night Tree written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Ted Rand

A family goes out to decorate a tree for the animals who live in the forest. Best part: When the children sing Christmas carols and one child picks “Old MacDonald” and Mom says that okay because it’s a good song, too. Ages 4-10. 8.5/10.

The Santa Clauses retold by Achim Broger with illustrations by Ute Krause

A slow news day causes a reporter to write there is no Santa. All the Santas (and there are a lot of them) decide to go on strike. Best part: Santas sunbathing in Miami Beach. Ages 4-10. 8.5/10.

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree written by Gloria Houston and illustrated by Barbara Cooney

It’s Ruth’s family’s turn to give the perfect Christmas tree for the village and it’s Ruthie’s turn to be the angel in the Christmas play. But how will this happen when Ruthie’s father is away at the war and there is no money for angel clothes? Best part: when Ruthie thought the doll felt just like the silk stockings her father had sent her mother. Ages 5-12. 9/10.

Readathon: Children's Christmas Stories

I’ll be reading the enormous stack of children’s Christmas picture books for the rest of the day. I’ll read each book twice and then write a Tiny Review for each.

I’m off!

The All-I’ll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll written by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

The family is oh-so poor, but it’s Christmas and the three girls desperately want a Baby Betty doll. Best part: Sharing is more fun than hoarding. Ages 6-10. 8.5/10.

Merry Christmas, Big Hungry Bear! by Don and Audrey Wood

Little Mouse has quite the stack of presents under the tree—for himself---but what about Big Hungry Bear who never gets a present and would do anything, ANYTHING, to get one? Best part: Sometimes things that look scary aren’t what they appear. Ages 2-8. 8/10.

The Best Christmas Ever by Chih-Yuah Chen

Father Bear has lost his job. Santa comes anyway, bringing things the family has lost during the year. Best part: The 3 R's of recycling. Ages 5-10. 7/10.

Tree of Cranes by Allen Say

Say tells the story of his first Christmas, when he was a boy in Japan. Serious. Thoughtful. Ages 6-10. 8.5/10.

A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas by Philip Yates and illustrated by Sebastia Serra

A fun parody of the old poem, told in pirate jargon from a pirate’s point of view. Best part: Pirates. Ages 2-10. 8.5/10

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas written by Jane O’Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser

A wonderful new Fancy Nancy story, the best of the Fancy Nancys. Best part: Nancy’s love of big fancy words and the warmth of her family and Nancy’s ability to create beauty from bits of this and that. Ages 2-10. Girls, mostly. 9/10.

Great Joy written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Frances is learning her lines for the Christmas pageant, but she is worried about the organ grinder and his monkey sleeping every night in the cold. Best part: Compassion. Ages 4-10. 9/10.

What Dogs Want for Christmas by Kandy Radzinski

Who could resist these adorable dogs with their letters to Santa? Best part: Wonderful dog pictures. Ages 4-10. 9/10.

The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

Teeka must get these wild reindeer ready to pull the sleigh, but screaming at them is not working. Best part: Beautiful pictures, learning how to teach. Ages 5-10. 8/10

The Peterkins’ Christmas adapted by Elizabeth Spurr and illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin

The Peterkins are a mess. They want to surprise their neighbors and relatives with a beautiful Christmas tree, but the tree is too tall and they have no ornaments and it’s hard to play the piano sitting outside in the snow….but there is always the Lady from Philadelphia to help them. Best part: humor. Ages 8-12. 8/10.

Uncles and Antlers written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Brian Floca

The reindeer gather, eight in all, seven uncles and one niece, clever and cool, with unique talents. Best part: Cool talents of each uncle that correspond to the number of tines on each set of antlers. Ages 8-12. 8.5/10.

How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow

All your questions about Santa are answered here. Best part: Diagrams about Santa and elves and presents, including little balloons of conversation. Ages 8-12. 8.5/10.

Snowmen at Christmas written by Caralyn Buehner and illustrated by Mark Buehner

How do snowmen celebrate Christmas? Just like we do, really. Best part: Hidden pictures to seek on each page. Ages 4-8. 8.5/10.

An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco

An old family story of the author’s. Frankie shares the sweater his sister gave him with a hobo. His father is delayed by snow and the train engineers, grateful for the meals Frankie’s family always provides, gives Frankie’s father a ride home in time for Christmas. Best part: Sharing the orange. Ages 8-12. 9/10.

Pooch on the Loose: A Christmas Adventure written by Steven Kroll and illustrated by Michael Garland

Bart loves his home, but he longs to be free. One Christmas, he escapes out the door and visits all of New York’s landmarks. Best part: Dog of Liberty. Ages 4-10. 8.5/10.

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie: Sharing the True Meaning of Jesus’ Birth written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Deborah Chabrian

Jack longs for Christmas cookies, but his mother only has enough money to make them for the poor. As she makes the cookies, his mother tells Jack the true story of the Christmas cookie. Best part: Sharing his cookie. Ages 4-10. 8/10.

NOTE: A winter storm has unexpectedly knocked out our Internet connection. I am posting this from Starbuck’s. I’m not sure when the connection will be restored.

Readathon: Must-Read Children's Christmas Stories

I’ll start my Christmas Readathon Advent Tour stop with four must-reads.

First of all, the Christmas story from the Bible. It can be found in Matthew and Luke.

Second, The Night Before Christmas written by Clement Moore. The version I love is the pop-up by Robert Sabuda.

Third, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.

Fourth, The Polar Express.

If you read nothing else, read these four.

NOTE: A winter storm has unexpectedly knocked out our Internet connection. I am posting this from Starbuck’s. I’m not sure when the connection will be restored.

Readathon: Ready to Read!

It’s time for Readathon.

I am also joining in the Advent Tour.

Do you see where this is going? Yes, I am going to read and review Christmas books!

I’m all set. My new Scentsy candle is putting out Christmas tree scents. Christmas carols are going on the stereo. A cold front blew through yesterday and brought snow. Snow. Yes, snow here on the Texas Gulf Coast. And I’ve accumulated an enormous stack of family Christmas books.

Only one small problem. The cold front also (apparently) knocked out our Internet connection.

So, I’m writing this on my laptop, but I will post this later.

I’m off to read!

NOTE: A winter storm has unexpectedly knocked out our Internet connection. I am posting this from Starbuck’s. I’m not sure when the connection will be restored.