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    Five Favorite Christmas Picture Books

    November 21, 2012 by Brandy Vencel

    I was not going to do this. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, after all. I try not to discuss our Christmas traditions much until after Thanksgiving. In addition to this, I have errands to run and things to {finally} help my mother with, now that my children’s chicken pox is officially noncontagious. But you asked, you did! And I do so love to talk books.

    So here’s the deal.

    I have a decent Christmas picture book collection, in my opinion. But some of them far outshine the others, and those are the titles I’m going to share this morning. At the bottom of this post, I’m going to put a Mr. Linky widget. I ask all of you to share the bestest of the best books from your Christmas collections. It’s okay if some of yours are the same as mine, but what I’m really hoping is that we’ll be able to introduce ourselves to titles we’ve not heard of before, with the ultimate aim of improving each of our collections.

    Sound like fun?

    Here’s my contribution to the list. I’m doing this in reverse order, ending with my absolute, incontestable favorite.

    1. An Amish Christmas
      by Richard Ammon

      My children enjoy this story of simple joys on Christmas. I think it subtly teaches them that Christmas need not be elaborate to be rich.

    2. The Grumpy Shepherd
      by Paddie Devon

      I love the Christmas theme of grumpiness or sorrow turned to joy by the coming of the Christ Child. When Dickens wrote his classic Christmas story, he was playing upon the ancient theme!

    3. The Story of Christmas

      The text of this book is taken straight from the King James, which is common for a number of Christmas books. The reason this makes the list of favorites is the artwork, a wonderful example of Pennsylvania folk art style.

    4. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
      by Susan Wojciechowski

      The illustrations in this book are wonderful, and the story is priceless. It doesn’t get better than this…except when it does, of course.

    5. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree
      by Gloria Houston

      You all know I’m a Barbara Cooney fan, right? This really is a beautiful book. But the reason why it is my number one favorite of all time is because it never fails to bring tears to my eyes. I do not tire of reading it, even though my little ones ask for it over and over. It is truly a timeless tale, I think, and the message of secret self-sacrifice is one that every mother can identify with, I think.

    I’m going to leave the Linky live for a couple of weeks, so tell your friends that we’re having a little pre-Christmas party and let’s see if we can work up a list of seriously excellent Christmas picture books for ourselves. I mean…for our children. He he.

    Someday I’ll have to share with you my wishlist, which is equal in length {at least} to this list. I might like my collection, but there are also a number of wonderful Christmas tales I do not yet own. {Emphasis on yet.}

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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  • Reply Kansas Mom December 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Well, I posted my seven (I mean, five) favorite Christmas books and promptly thought of at last two more! I’m going to write about them on the next two Tuesdays, but for those that can’t wait: The Little Juggler retold and illustrated Barbara Cooney (which might technically not be a picture book) and The Little Drummer Boy illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there aren’t one or two more favorites…

  • Reply Dawn November 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Thank you for these suggestions, Brandy. I ordered The Christmas Story and Year of Perfect Christmas Tree in full confidence of your taste and I am not disappointed. The Christmas Story is LOVELY and both of my young boys sat riveted through the entire reading…which they don’t do through the actual bible reading, unfortunately. And I, too, am a Barbara Cooney fan so was glad to see this book about Appalachia, another fave subject of mine, to add to our collection. Our other favorites include:
    Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell

    The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats

    Listen to the Silent Knight by D D Makall


    The Little Shepherd Girl bu Juliann Henry

    Song of the Stars by S Lloyd-Jones also seems promising

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 28, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Ooh! Thanks for the list, Dawn!

      I have had Lloyd-Jones’ Song of the Stars on my list for a year now, so I’m glad to know it is on your list of favorites. That makes me even more excited to get it someday!

  • Reply Naomi November 22, 2012 at 12:39 am

    We have read a few of these and thoroughly enjoyed them. I’ll have to check into the others – thank you!

  • Reply Harmony November 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    Oh, thank you for doing this! I haven’t gotten a Christmas picture book collection properly started yet, and I need help. I will have to try to acquire at least one or two of these this year.

  • Reply Kansas Mom November 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    I see…it’s a challenge – my five favorite Christmas and Advent picture books. Now I’m going to have to find time to post…

    You even had one on your list I’d never heard of – The Grumpy Shepherd. I will have to check that one out.

    Last night I went through our library’s Christmas books published in the past two years (using the catalog) and requested any that seemed promising. Maybe I’ll find a new favorite, though I’m sure the vast majority are forgettable.

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts November 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      That’s right! A challenge. 🙂

      Don’t worry–I set the Linky to remain open for a month, so you have *plenty* of time.

      Guess what? I just–I mean just two minutes ago–got a PBS match for a book from one of your past lists: Lucy’s Christmas by Donald Hall. Perhaps it will make my top five?

      Grumpy Shepherd is somewhat silly but we love it {and you could tell that by the shape our copy is in, if you could see it!}. 🙂

    • Reply Kansas Mom November 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm

      Lucy’s Christmas is good. It would be better if it were illustrated by Barbara Cooney but it’s still good.

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