The Scoop on Children & Adolescent Literature

Posts Tagged ‘Holiday Picture Books’

Ramadan Moon by Na’ima B Robert and Shirin Adl

Posted by hollybookscoops on June 25, 2012

This is a sweet book written in verse about the Muslim celebration of Ramadan. I first learned about Ramadan from one of my neighbors in Forest Grove, Oregon back in 2001. I believe my neighbor was pregnant at the time, and the idea of fasting from dawn to dusk was astonishing to me. Iman (my beautiful neighbor) was cheerful about it though. I wish I had this book back then to help me understand all that was celebrated and looked forward to with henna patterns on hands, Eid day and an increased focus on charity, sharing, praying and giving.

Ramadan Moon is a rich and comprehensive picture book that reaches out to share some of the treasured beliefs of Muslim families everywhere. I love the collage enhancements on the illustrations. Well done!

Posted in Picture Books, Poetry | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Winter Lights by Anna Grossnickle Hines

Posted by hollybookscoops on November 26, 2009



In anticipation of Christmas, I selected one of my favorite books. Since it’s so cool and there is more than just Christmas about it, I really wanted to share it. One of my most recent hobby acquisitions is quilting and I was amazed, to say the least, at the beautiful quilts that illustrate this book. My favorite one is a double-page spread of a young child looking out over hills of snow as the sun is setting. The companion poem echoes the feelings my children have when they get home from school only to have, if they’re lucky, an hour to play in the snow before the sun goes down. The poems and quilts weave together to bring warmth and comfort no matter how that wind is blowing outside!


This unique way of illustrating a book through pictorial quilts has me in awe of the amazing Hines. Equally impressive are the demonstration pages at the back of the book where she shares how she makes her quilts and brings her books to life.



I finally have my first quilt finished. It took me two long years to embroider and piece. It was machine quilted by Joyce Ross, an amazing free-hand quilting artist. My boys and I love to curl up with our snowman quilt and read stories together (after they wash their hands of course). We call it our snowman quilt and creating a tradition of reading with a special quilt has my boys excited to snuggle up and read some winter stories together. They know this quilt is special- they’ve seen me working on it forever!

Posted in Picture Books, Poetry, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

The Twelve Days of Christmas Reads

Posted by bookscoops on December 13, 2008

When we first set a goal to do do the Twelve days of Christmas on our blog, we had no idea that if we did it just like the song, that would be 364 books (albeit lots of repetition), and if we just do 12 books for the 12th day, 11 for 11 and so on . . . that would be 78 books! As much as we love books (and that’s an understatement), we just didn’t feel like it was quite necessary to go that crazy. So, to make it simpler, we each are doing one book for each of the Twelve days of Christmas- which makes 24 total books. I think that should be enough to keep us all busy. Although, I must admit, paring down our lists to just twelve has been difficult. In keeping with the festivities, Cari’s reviews are in red and Holly’s are in green. Rest assured, we have picked a variety to choose from in an attempt to satisfy everyone in your house- even the mouse!

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love read to me:

Flight of the Reindeer The True Story of Santa Claus & His Christmas Mission by Robert Sullivan, drawings by Glenn Wolff

Do you have a Santa doubter in your home? Are you struggling with scepticism this Christmas? Here is the best solution I have ever found! I’ve always been a believer, but this year, knowing we might be getting some serious questions on the home front, I decided to confront the questions head on. I found myself wondering, “Is this for real?” I flipped to the front and found that it’s so real that the Library of Congress categorized this book as non-fiction. When does that ever happen with a Christmas tale? A great coffee-table and reference book for the Santa-challenged parent. I don’t know if I can turn this back in to the library until I buy my own copy . . .

Holly Claus The Christmas Princess by Brittney Ryan and illustrated by Laurel Long & Jeffrey K. Bedrick

hollyclauschristmasprincessHolly Claus is none other then the daughter of Nicholas Claus and his wife Viviana. Holly is a beautiful princess of the land Forever and whose birth was long anticipated. Her existence is made possible by a young boy who writes a letter to Santa Claus and asks Santa what he would like for Christmas rather than asking for a list of presents. However Holly has a curse placed upon her by an evil warlock and her heart is surrounded by ice forcing her to stay in the cold unless she marries the warlock willingly.

thelegendofhollyclausOverall I liked this story and the illustrations are really quite beautiful. I call this the ultimate Christmas fairy tale complete with a princess and happy forever (especially since the North Pole is called Forever). There is a novel for middle readers also by Brittney Ryan and illustrated by Laurel Long – same story but much more fleshed out called The Legend of Holly Claus, which I really enjoyed.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere

This one’s a real tear-jerker, so have a box of tissues on hand and don’t plan on going anywhere until the puffy eyes subside. Two tales intertwine to remind us what family and holidays are all about- love and togetherness. This book left me grateful for my dear ones and more determined to focus on what really counts.

Who will guide my sleigh tonight? by Jerry Pallotta Illustrated by David Biedrzycki

whowillguidemysleightonightI first saw this book at a book club’s mom and me Christmas brunch. I loved it! It goes through as Santa tries to determine what animal will make the best guide for his sled. Our kids loved this book. He goes through dolphins, skunks and elephants trying to decide which animal works the best. This one is great for children 2-5 and adults get a kick out of it too.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Quiet Little Woman, A Christmas Story by Louisa May Alcott, presented by Stephen W. Hines

Three Enchanting Christmas stories by one of my favorite authors, rediscovered by industrious Mr. Hines, in a long-forgotten children’s magazine. I was thrilled to find that Alcott had stories I’ve never seen. Alcott works her magic in three short stories, The Quiet Little Woman, Tilly’s Christmas, and Rosa’s Tale. Definitely a medley that will please the palate.

Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco

christmastapestryHopefully based on a true story that the author heard once in homilies in the 1960s and again in the 1990s. If it is true its an amazing story if its not it’s still a great story and the book is classified as fiction so I guess it’s up to the reader to decide. The main character Jonathon is moving with his family to Michigan and he is upset over the move. His father is a preacher and the new church is not exactly new. In fact the whole area is run down and Jonathon wants to go back to his previous home. Through an unlikely series of events water damage in the church, a late bus, a tapestry, sharing tea with an old woman and the gentleman who comes to repair the wall. Jonathon and his father play a role in special Christmas miracle.

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Great Santa Search As told to Jeff Guinn by Santa Claus himself

Number three in the Christmas Chronicles, I found this book to be hard going at first, but it sure finished up with a bang! Brimming with Christmas history and famous people. The history lover in the family, should enjoy this tale. And the children, and less ‘history’ loving people in the family, will enjoy the occasional illustrations, which will inspire them to read and find out what’s really going on. A nice explanation for the ‘why’ of Santa Claus and Christmas.

Auntie Claus by Elise Primevera

auntieclausThe first rule of Christmas is better to give than it is to receive or that’s what Sophie learns in this Christmas tale. Her whole family loves Christmas especially Sophie and her little brother and the more presents the better. Sophie’s curiousity gets the best of her when she wants to find out where their Auntie Claus disppears to every year around Christmas time and she stows away for an adventure and learns a very important lesson not to mention that Santa Claus has a sister!

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love read to me:

The Christmas Box by Eve Merriam illustrated by David Small

christmasboxbyevemerriamWe loved this hilarious tale reminiscent of Mary Poppin’sbottomless carpet bag. When Christmas morning comes, there is only one present under the tree. Can one present really be enough? What was Santa thinking?! Christmas simplified, sounds great to me and with this book it really is fun for the entire family.

Shall I knit you a Hat? a Christmas Yarn by Kate Klise Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

shalliknityouahatI had to pick this book, it’s written and illustrated by sisters who apparently have collaborated before (I will be looking for more). This is a nice warm story as Mother Rabbit decides to knit a warm hat for Little Rabbit when a bad snow storm is supposed to blow in on Christmas Eve. Little Rabbit is so excited about his nice new hat that he wants to make sure that his friends will have a nice warm hat for Christmas so he and his mom go out and measure his animal friends and make hats for them for Christmas. When the winter storm comes in everyone has customized hat for the cold weather. I thought it would be fun to make a carrot cake as Little Rabbit and his mom have several pieces at the end of the book. Also if you had a child who was old enough you could teach them how to knit. Or if you give this book as a gift, give it with some knitting needles and yarn to go with it. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Board Books, Juvenile Fiction, Non-Fiction, Picture Books, Uncategorized, Young Adult | Tagged: | 5 Comments »

Giving Books for Christmas

Posted by hollybookscoops on December 11, 2008

If you are dedicated to giving books for Christmas, then what do you do for those on your list who are not book people? Or who think they are not readers? Well, here are some ideas for including books in ways that just might inspire a new convert to literature.

I’m a big fan of getting books that create memories- because these are the books that will be turned to again and again to bring back childhood joy. I think we all could use a little bit of that, at least I know I could! So here are three ideas to make the holidays a little more ag’read’able (full of agreeable reading).

Don’t tell my kids, but this year we will have not one, not two, but three hippopotami under our Christmas tree. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas has always been my favorite Christmas song, so I was thrilled to find this beautifully illustrated, comical book at our library last year. Illustrated lyrics to your favorite Christmas song? You just can’t beat that! So, knowing that our lists were already long enough last year, I decided to plot and plan so that this year my boys wouldn’t just get a book, but a ‘value meal’ of good reading. In June, I happened upon a Beanie Babie estate sale and was thrilled to find three little purply hippos, yes! Now, all that’s left is to order the book . . . I found the CD at Walmart for $5. Definitely worth having in your home library, this classic will bring out the kid in you and thrill the kids you know. I also checked online, there are numerous books with hippopotamus characters. Our own fellow blogger, Bookie Woogie (this is his website, not his blog) has a great title Hiccupotamus if you want to add another book to the stack. His great illustrations are even done in similarly vivid pinks and purples.

Another common holiday tradition is new pajamas for the Holidays. Who doesn’t remember at least once getting new pajamas as a gift? I said I was giving books for the holidays, right? Well, for all you pajama lovers outpercy there, I have another favorite to share with you. My boys are getting  pj’s too, but that’s not all . . .  here is one of our favorites that has yet to be added to the family library: The Practically Perfect Pajamas by Erik Brooks. I love that Percy the polar bear teaches us all, through his not so fun (but definitely funny) experiences that there is a certain dignity to wearing pajamas, despite what others might say. My boys and I all met Brooks in 2007 at a library presentation that was amazing! We loved the story behind his first book (to see more of his work go here ). That was before my blogging days, so sad to say it, I don’t have any pictures. But we all enjoyed ourselves and I’ve been determined to buy us a copy of this great book ever since. (I wanted it before that, but you know, living out in the middle of 40 acres of sagebrush with dial-up? (sigh). I rarely make it to the bookstore and trying to order books online . . . ‘nuf said.) Hopefully it will become a tradition to read it out loud in front of the fireplace on winter evenings in warm, new pajamas, Percy style. I think we’ll start that tradition Christmas night, after all the excitement has died down and the kids are getting ready for bed. What a great way to kick off the long winter nights ahead. Or, if you want to spread the cheer further, this would make a great New Year’s party gift for the kids who want to watch the ball drop the way Percy would- decked out in a pair of warm, possibly even footed, pajamas.

For the military lovers, here is a great idea to get multi-generational interaction. Many grandpas and dads have an affinity for military stories. So, get grandpa or dad a great military read, and give them a package of ‘army’ guys, a tank or two and a book that illustrates military strategies such as You Are the General 2: 1800-1899 by Nathan Aaseng or something less strategic like The Marine Corps in Action also by Aaseng to share with the grandkids. Better yet, give the grandkids the strategy books and the toys and grandpa and Dad opposing colors so they can challenge each other in battle. Of course, you may need a few ground rules so that WWIII doesn’t start in your living room. Great Aunt Gertrude can supervise. This might just motivate a heretofore non-reader to do a little reading in the name of researching a way to conquer opposing forces.

This same concept can be applied over and over again with different interests and age groups. As we all know in the kidlitosphere, no one is ever too young for juvenile literature! If Dad is a train engineer and this is the year of the new model train, get a book about trains to go along with it. The kids just might have a great time looking at it with Dad. If there’s a chef in the family, a new cookbook and some kitchen gadgets would probably be a hit. How about the gardener? A flower catalog and some landscaping books will leave them salivating for that snow to melt. We all need something to fill those afternoon hours after the gifts have been opened when we are all saying, “Now what?” My answer is going to be found between the covers of some really great books!

Posted in Children's Literature, Picture Books, Uncategorized | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Books to be ‘Thankful’ for:

Posted by hollybookscoops on November 18, 2008

My #1Top pick

Thank you, Sarah The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner

Officially my favorite Thanksgiving story ever! Follow the ‘heroic’ efforts of Sarah Hale, a lady ahead of her time, who was incredibly determined. Packed full of impressive multi-cultural ink & watercolor illustrations you will find more and more things to appreciate (and giggle over) at every read. When Sarah saw Thanksgiving shrinking into obscurity, she inspired many women in America to pick up their pens and petition for official recognition of this important national holiday. In conjunction with these women, it also took her own numerous articles, thousands of letters and 38 years to finally persuade someone to act. During the Civil War, Sarah appealed to President Lincoln with the idea that Thanksgiving could bring our nation together. Finally, in 1863, Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. My favorite line? “Never underestimate dainty little ladies.” You better bet I’m thankful for Sarah this thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne

Book #27 in the Magic Tree House series will transport you to the first Thanksgiving feast in Plymouth. Full of fun facts about Pilgrim life, children will enjoy learning about herbs, roots, and period dialogue. One note- the illustrator does not know what corn seeds look like unless they’re on the cob, so don’t believe everything you see! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Board Books, Juvenile Fiction, Non-Fiction, Picture Books, Young Adult | Tagged: | 18 Comments »

Franklin’s Halloween by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark

Posted by hollybookscoops on October 30, 2008

Franklin and his friends prepare for a Halloween costume party as most typical children do- trying on different outfits and changing their minds until they are ‘just right’.  Franklin makes the perfect little Franklinstein and has fun scaring his family members. At the party, everyone soon realizes that the ghost is not Bear as they had assumed- he’s home sick. So, who is the ghost that’s flying around? Franklin solves the mystery and everyone chips in to share treats with Bear, while still keeping enough sugar to make themselves sick for at least a week.

Do you let your kids eat Halloween candy until they are sick/sick of it or do you believe in rationing?

Posted in Picture Books | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

What is Halloween? By Harriet Ziefert illustrated by Claire Schumacher

Posted by hollybookscoops on October 30, 2008

Everyone loves the lift-the-flap story format (until the flaps get torn off). My children and I delved into this one tonight for bedtime stories and enjoyed hearing a simplified version of what Halloween is all about. I know there are some parents who don’t ascribe to the whole history of Halloween. However, I know there are also a lot of parents who find that celebrating our power over scariness is a great idea.

 A simple explanation of Halloween: it’s for carving pumpkins, going trick-or-treating, dressing up as whatever you imagine, finding out that there are lots more good people than bad in the world and having fun as a family. Happy Halloween!


Posted in Picture Books | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet by Diane deGroat

Posted by hollybookscoops on October 22, 2008

This story cracked me up!  A little boy plans to be a Martian Space Pilot for Halloween confident that he is the only one in his whole school who will think of that idea. When sent to change for the costume parade in the boy’s bathroom he discovers that nearly everyone was on the same wave-length with him. As he pulls out his costume, he nearly faints when he discovers that a mix-up left him with his sister’s pink ballerina costume. How he handles the situation is typical of those who like to be the ‘only’ ones with a good idea. I highly recommend this one as a fun Halloween story and a good lesson in making lemonade out of lemons.

Posted in Picture Books | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Candy Witch by Steven Kroll

Posted by caribookscoops on October 3, 2008

I think I was in the second grade when I first read this book. I was excited to see it at my local library and so of course I had to read it. I loved the story of the little witch who is feeling neglected (something I could relate to as a child and what child doesn’t?) and so she stirs up some Halloween trouble by taking all the Halloween candy among other things in order to get some attention. I enjoyed re-reading this book as an adult. It’s a fun read and my four year old likes it. It was a good opportunity to talk about communication and what to do and particularly what not to do when you need a little bit of love. Pictures are okay, pretty typical for a book from this time period the 70s. My favorite then and now is pictures of all the yummy in the town square including the chocolate fountain. Yum!!!

Happy Reading!


Posted in Picture Books | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 200 other followers

%d bloggers like this: