Saturday, December 22, 2012
10 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Books for Kids
Maria Lopez, a nanny from Miami, Florida contacted me last night crying that she ordered her gifts online and they never arrived in the mail. She was upset because she put a lot of time and effort to buy unique gifts for the kids she cares for and doesn't have enough time to re-order the same gifts online. She and the family she works for are exchanging gifts Monday morning.
I suggested she run to a local book store and pick up these unique Christmas children's books to give to the kids instead. Not only do books make a great holiday gift, the ones listed below are also unique.
1. The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
The highlight of this tale about an elf charged with training Santa's reindeer for their annual Christmas ride is the rich artwork by author-artist Jan Brett. Intricate scenes of elf workers busily prepping for the big day frame the main story, so kids discover something with each reading.
2. The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell
How exactly does Santa keep tabs on who's naughty and who's nice? Turns out he's got an elf on the shelf who comes packaged with a companion book. The elf mysteriously changes locations overnight, and kids love looking for him as soon as they wake up in the morning. Bonus for parents: Since the elf's always watching, you should be able to milk major good behavior out of the kids.
3. Angel Pig and the Hidden Christmas by David M. McPhail
The plot of this tale hits close to home in these uncertain economic times: A family of porkers thinks Christmas is ruined because they don't have money to buy "jeans and sneakers with fancy brand names" at the mall. Then a sneaker-wearing angel appears, encouraging them to make and bake gifts instead, and teaches them what gift-giving is really about.
4. Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
A lonely little mouse realizes Santa is always giving presents but never gets them, so he leaves a gift. His thoughtfulness is rewarded when he becomes Santa's little -- very little -- helper.
5. The Night Before Christmas by Rachel Isadora
This isn't the traditional Clement C. Morre's poem. This gorgeously illustrated version, which uses collage papers and oil paints, adds a modern twist: Santa wears funky pants, sports dreadlocks, and leaves the children traditional African gifts.
6. Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold
When Olive the dog hears the phrase from the popular Christmas tune "all of the other reindeer," she concludes she is "Olive, the other reindeer" and heads to the North Pole to join Santa's team. Doggie hijinks ensue.
7. Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor
Nancy's psyched about the holidays until her ultra-fancy tree topper breaks. Can the ultimate girly-girl learn to love plain old DIY tree decorations? As always, the detailed, sparkly illustrations make this a fave among the princess set.
8. Tyrannoclaus by Janet Lawler
With a little ingenuity and a lot of excitement, this twist on the classic The Night Before Christmas is sure to bring smiles to dinosaur fans everywhere. Deep inside a volcano crater, Tyrannoclaus and his helpers are busy wrapping up Christmas presents for dinosaur children when, suddenly, the volcano erupts! How will they ever make it through and deliver presents on time?
9. Dream Snow by Eric Carle
Lovers of Eric Carle's classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar will recognize the same iconic collage illustrations in this wintry tale about a farmer who dreams about a white Christmas. Like Caterpillar, the pages hold extra interest for young readers, with cutouts and counting.
10. Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
The secret life of snowmen is revealed in this gorgeously illustrated tale. Snow families gather in the town square, sing carols, and get their own visit from "the snowman Kris Kringle" before re-assuming their positions in the front yard as dawn breaks.