A Small Christmas by Wong Herbert Yee
Fireman Small spends all day on December 24th picking out and decorating the town’s Christmas tree. He finishes up as the last shop closes and heads back to Firehouse Nine to climb into bed. He falls fast asleep but, much like in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, he was woken around midnight buy a noise on the roof. When investigating, he finds Santa all covered in soot and offers to wash his suit. Unfortunately, Fireman Small needed to be more careful when washing Santa’s suit because it came out several sizes too small…of course, that doesn’t matter when Santa is fast asleep in Small’s bed. So, little Fireman Small, dons Santa’s suit and saves Christmas for the town.
While a cute little story (for me, at least), it didn’t get much of a reaction from Liam. He did like seeing a dog in a Santa hat at the end of the book, though. There’s still hope for it since Liam tends to surprise me and he did sleep with it last night so he didn’t totally dislike it. I’ll have to give it some time to see if it grows on him.
Mouse’s First Snow by Lauren Thompson illustrated by Buket Erdogan
This is the third of the new holiday books that I read to Liam and one that he’s made me read twice already.
As Mouse stares out the window at the snow, Poppa suggests that they go out to play. Poppa teaches little Mouse how to slide, skate, and make snow angels before showing him how to make a giant snowball. Mouse, wanting to do exactly what Poppa does, copies as best as he can. In the end, Poppa uses the two snowballs to make a snowmouse (complete with nose, eyes, and whiskers!).
While totally worth the $1.43 for the softcover version through Scholastic, I’m quite sure I would never buy the hardcover version with a list price of $18.95 (unless it’s a gift for another family). That being said, there is a board book version for $9.99 that I can see getting for a baby’s first winter/Christmas. The large print combined with limited text on each page makes this an ideal book to read to a younger baby but it will still be of interest to a pre-K child so you can get a few years of use out of it if you buy it early.
The Littlest Christmas Star by Brandi Dougherty illustrated by Sanja Rescek
In The Littlest Christmas Star, Max – the smallest child in the class – hopes for the biggest part in the play because he really wants to be the star. Instead, his hopes are dashed when he literally gets cast as the star which is the part with the fewest lines (and likely the shortest one, as well). After memorizing his one line, he tries to help out with other parts but keeps getting told that it’s not his job. The night of the play comes and Max does his best to be the biggest star he can be.
It’s a cute little story, though Liam didn’t ask for it again the next night like he did with The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever. I’m a little unclear over whether there is supposed to be a message in the story or not. You could say it’s to be happy with or make the most out of what you get. Or it could be that even the smallest contributions count…or it could just be a story.
On the plus side, the illustrations are cute and colorful so it’s fun to look at even if Max is a Grumpy Gus through the majority of the book.
The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever by Steve Kroll illustrated by Jeni Bassett
Yesterday, our new Scholastic order arrived and I figured that I’d read a new book to Liam every night between now and Christmas when I’ll give him the rest of the books from the package. First up was The Biggest Christmas Tree Ever. Both Clayton the town mouse and Desmond the country mouse decide that they want to find the biggest, best looking Christmas tree they’ve ever seen. Unlike TV/movie world, this does not result in a tree lot brawl. On the contrary, they work together to find the most awesome tree on the lot. Then, they gather family and friends to help them get the tree back to town.
So not only is it a cute little Christmas story, but it gives a lesson about cooperating and helps tell children that if you work together then you can have something better than if you do things by yourself. Overall, totally worth the $1.43 or so that the package pricing comes to ($19.99 for 13-14 books).
That’s Not My Santa by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
I am absolutely certain that I bought this one. It came from Coles in the mall I was working at a couple years ago. At the time, they still had shelves for their promo items and it was difficult to find anything there (for me at least). Now they’ve got tables at the front and it’s much better.
When I picked it up, Liam was somewhere between one and two years old and was still very much into letting me read to him (something which he’s started again). He latched onto this book and even a year later had me reading it to him in the middle of summer.
That’s Not My Santa follows a little mouse on his hunt for his Santa (as opposed to all the other Santas…) Each page shows a Santa with a reason why he’s not the mouse’s Santa along with a touch and feel item (gloves, boots, hat, etc). Finally, the mouse finds his Santa who happens to have a soft fluffy beard. It may not seem like much, but it has everything a young child could ask for: something to feel, phrasing he (or she) can repeat, something to look for, and Santa!
We Share Everything by Robert Munsch Illustrated by Michael Martchenko
This is the book that Liam brought out instead of Andrew’s Loose Tooth two weeks ago (oops). The funny thing about that is that on the cover of We Share Everything, the two children are holding a book which just happens to be Andrew’s Loose Tooth – something I didn’t notice until Liam pointed it out to me. That kids is awesome…and apparently observant.
So We Share Everything is about a couple of kindergarten kids who, on the first day of school, do not share everything. They in fact fight over everything. Their teachers has to tell them several times that they are in kindergarten now and “in kindergarten we share. We share everything!” After being told a few times, they finally get the picture and start sharing…a little too much.
I happen to love this particular story simply because we have problems with Liam and sharing. I hear he’s well behaved at preschool and over a year ago he didn’t have too many problems at daycare, but at home he’s a right little tyrant. His older brother isn’t allowed to play with his toys. His younger brother isn’t allowed to play with his toys. His father isn’t allowed to play with his toys. No one is allowed to play with his toys except him (and me. Granted I’m also required to pick them up…how does that work). On the flip side, everyone is expected to share their toys with Liam. My hope is that with more time in preschool and several more reads of this story, he will start to realize that sharing is a good thing. I know, pipe dream – but I should be allowed to hope anyway.
Andrew’s Loose Tooth by Robert Munsch illustrated by Michael Martchenko
Today’s book really was Liam’s pick. I asked him which book I should write about and he told me, “Loose Tooth.” I sent him to his room to pick it out for me and he came back with the wrong book…more on that next week. This is another Munsch book – this time from a package of eight books that Liam got for Christmas last year (again from Scholastic). Not only did he pick it for me to write about, but he also had me read it to him last night.
Poor Andrew tries to eat an apple for breakfast and finds out that he’s got a loose tooth. What happens next is standard Munsch as people try progressively harder to get the stubborn tooth out so that Andrew can eat his breakfast. The Dentist’s car and the Tooth Fairy’s hammer are no match for Andrew’s tooth, but never fear: his friend Louis comes to the rescue! As always (well only sort of always because he doesn’t illustrate ALL of Munsch’s books), Martchenko’s illustrations help add to the hilarity of the story.
I have to say, though, that when I was eight, I took a bite of an apple and my loose tooth came right out and fell on my chair…at school. This led to me not wanting to take whole apples to school for fear that I would lose more teeth.
Regardless of the memories, it’s still a fantastic book and an excellent addition to Liam’s collection (granted I would say that about any Munsch book).