One of the first books my girls chose to open from our Christmas book basket this year is Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that it’s the largest “package” in the basket. 😉 This is a beautiful anthology containing seven of Brett’s Christmas-y stories: The Mitten, The Wild Christmas Reindeer, Trouble with Trolls, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Hat, Christmas Trolls, and The Night Before Christmas. I thought it would be fun today to just share a few of our seasonal favorites by Jan Brett. In my opinion, her wintery illustrations are perfect to get one in the Christmas spirit–snowy landscapes with all sorts of handmade goodies in the sidebars and bright reds, greens, and blues to contrast with the white. Gorgeous!!
I let the girls each pick a story for our morning read-alouds the morning they opened this book. Lulu chose The Wild Christmas Reindeer, and I have to say that it’s one of my own personal favorites. First of all, the illustrations in this story are just, well, perfect. 🙂 From the realistic-but-expressive reindeer to the onion domes and bright golds, reds, greens, and blues of Santa’s Winterfarm, the illustrations in this story are a feast for the eyes. Brett‘s trademark side-bar illustrations are fabulous in this story: we see Santa’s elves working on Christmas preparations, with each page dated as time slips away before the big day. The heroine of the story, Teeka, must round up Santa’s reindeer and whip them into shape in time to pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. However, after a year of free range, the reindeer aren’t too eager to be disciplined. Teeka learns a valuable lesson about obedience: it’s best to love your charges into obedience instead of forcing obedience on them. (This is a lesson I’m still learning as a parent!) One more thing I love about this story is that the reindeers’ names are unexpected: Tundra, Heather, Windswept, Crag, and the like. Lovely.
Louise’s first pick was Trouble with Trolls. This is the story of Treva and her dog, Tuffi, and their trouble with trolls as they try to cross Mt. Baldy. The main issue is that the trolls want Tuffi, and of course, Treva isn’t willing to part with him. Instead, she uses her noggin and outsmarts the trolls in a very clever way. If I’m not mistaken, these same trolls used to frighten my girls a little bit (‘though it might’ve been the trolls in a different Jan Brett story), but this time through they enjoyed it and weren’t frightened in the least. The trolls get their comeuppance in the end, so all’s well. This one is just plain fun.
Gingerbread Friends is one of the new additons to our Christmas basket this year, and there’s a funny little story about how it came to the House of Hope. Steady Eddie took the girls with him to a school meeting back several weeks ago. The school library happened to be having a book fair that night, too, and of course the girls wanted to go in and shop. Steady Eddie picked out Gingerbread Friends to purchase, and the lady who was working the fair (the librarian or a relative of hers, I believe), made some comment about Jan Brett. Steady Eddie responded with some comment that indicated that he did indeed already know much about her–in fact, that he had met her! I’m guessing that that was something that librarian didn’t expect to hear! 🙂 Anyway, this is a book that is sure to make you want to fire up the oven and bake your own gingerbread friends! It’s the story of the Gingerbread Baby, a resident of Mattie’s gingerbread house. The Gingerbread Baby is lonely when Mattie is out and about with his friends, so the Baby decides to find some friends of his own. He escapes from his home and goes to the village bakery, where he sees all manner of baked goods he’d like to befriend. Alas, these baked goods are inanimate, unlike him. A disappointed Gingerbread Baby makes his way back home, but not without a hair-raising chase in true gingerbread man fashion. When he gets home, he learns that Mattie was working on the situation all along. I LOVE the side-bars in this story–they include a recipe for gingerbread men, with one ingredient revealed per page. This is a book with all kinds of fun potential! Jan Brett has one of the most extensive author websites I’ve ever seen, and it even includes all manner of holiday activities. Be sure to check it out!
That’s just a little bit of what we’ve been reading as the calendar page has turned to December. Stick around–there’s more to come! 🙂
In honor of Read Aloud Thursday’s quickly approaching second anniversary, I have a couple of Jan Brett Christmas stories I want to give to a Read Aloud Thursday participant. I picked up Christmas Trolls and Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve? back a few months ago at our library’s used bookstore. These are two very gently used copies, and both are hardback–one with a dust jacket and one without. (Notice the $2 price tag on each in the lower left-hand corner? I consider that a real bargain!)
Here are the details on how to be entered in the drawing:
- Link up your own Read Aloud Thursday post below and leave me a comment stating that you’ve done so. If you don’t have a blog, simply leave a comment and tell me what your family is reading these days. Leave a comment either way. 🙂
- If you’re a regular reader (either directly or through some kind of subscription/reader service), leave another comment.
- If you haven’t been a regular until now, but you’d like to subscribe or “friend” me through Google Friend Connect, go right ahead, and then leave another comment.
This drawing will close on Wednesday, December 8, at 8 p.m. CST. It is open to U.S. residents only.
This is just my way of marking another year of fun read-aloud sharing. I can’t believe it has been two years! Be sure to check out the original post –it’s all about Christmas picks from the library!
Link up your post below, and don’t forget to leave your comment(s)!
Happy Read Aloud Thursday!