Archive for November, 2009

This little hardback book will make a beautiful Christmas gift. I recommend giving it before Christmas comes about so that children may learn the story of the first Christmas.

So at number seven of the christmas countdown is ‘The Lion, the Unicorn and Me’ by Jeanette Winterson, illustrations by Rosalind MacCurrach.

The Lion, The Unicorn and Me

I’m so excited by all the children’s books available this Christmas and this book is proof why we should be excited. It lays to reason why Children should learn about the meaning of Christmas and its origins and it’s fantastic that this book has been written and illustrated in such a way that will appeal to children far too often drawn in by ‘Mr. Men Christmas’ and ‘Letter’s to Santa’- of course that’s not to say those are bad books, certainly not but more so than ever we must remember the humbling things in life.

So what does the story tell us? It is a beautiful, passionate retelling of the first Christmas and features an understated little donkey and the story follows him as he learns about the Nativity and it’s magical wisdom.

The illustrations by Rosalind MacCurrach deserve seperate applaud, they are beautiful and maintain the traditions of the Christmas story.

A beautiful book.

ISBN: 9781407109060

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At number 8 of the Christmas countdown (yes I sound like a wannabe Top of the Pops presenter) I have chosen The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Undoubtedly, most children will have seen the film before they even knew the story existed in book form but I urge anyone, fan of the film or not to read this book if only for the wonderous illustrations.

This book is quite simply, magical. It advocates everything I believe to be important to Christmas; that belief that magic exists. Only a few things can drum up such a feeling for me. The first being the Coca Cola christmas advert (even though I despise the drink) the second being a great christmas story and this is it!

For the protagonist of the book, a young boy who boards a magical train, this story ends up being far more of a fairy tale than any of us could realise. The boy is disarming in nature and will certainly bring a smile to the reader’s face for his quiet modesty.

What is not modest however is the use of pictures and believe you me, this is not a bad thing. The double page spreads of illustration are necessary to take the reader into the book, travelling with the boy on the magical train.

This is a timeless story which has the power to reunite the child with the magic and possibility that Christmas brings.

ISBN: 9781842709498

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Continuing with the christmas countdown of the ultimate books for Christmas is number 9.

The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett

The Rabbit Problem

This is the most wonderful picture books, my words cannot give it justice. It is truly inspiring and more importantly, it is fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

As a hardback book this will keep well which is a good thing because trust me, you will read this book again and again, whether you’re with a child or not.

The rabbits have a problem, there’s a growing amount of them beyonds mathematical comprehension. We’re talking seriously squished bunnies here! This is a year in the life of a rabbit family, displayed in a calendar style book as they face a monthly challenge on top of their growing brood. This book is just wonderful because it teaches things without realising it. Being in calendar form, it gives the book a contemporary edge over other picture books and gives the book a clear format and the kids will surely have a favourite month.

There are great interactive elements with flaps and pop ups. I recommend you look at this book before you buy it just to experience it and fall in love with it like I have. The illustrations veer away from the traditional with each rabbit being as individual as the storyline itself.

Emily Gravett has created a real treasure of a book here and I can’t wait for more people to realise how great it is.

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I have finally found a free moment to myself to share with you what I think, are great Christmas titles to read this festive season.

Christmas, for me is a time to wallow in the joy that such a time can bring. The joys of christmas range from that familiar scent of mulled wine, to the classic Christmas Carol tale but most importantly, it is making the effort to spend time with friends and family, most of whom we lose touch with throughout the busy year.

Christmas is that opportunity to stop (after all the shopping and preparations have been made of course) and relish the wonderful moments, not least of all those wonderful moments and memories we create when reading a book, whether this be alone or with a mass of kids surrounding you.

I truly believe that the written and spoken word is the most powerful thing we have to our disposal in this world. Words have the power to make us smile, to make us cry and to inspire. Most of all they create memories and nostalgia in the form of the written word. For that reason, many of the books in my ‘Christmas Top 10’ list have a traditional feel that relates back to times gone by that many would love to wallow in once again.

Whether you read a children’s book to relish in your childhood memories, take a book to the local hospital to share or are gathered round a big fire with the family…whatever you’re doing, and wherever you are; enjoy these books for what they are. Pure joy, happiness and escapism.

CHRISTMAS BOOKS TO READ AND SHARE- We start the countdown with:

10. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Illustrated by Quentin Blake

I adore Quentin Blake. His illustrations for Roald Dahl fill up most of my memories about my childhood books and I relish looking through all the books he has illustrated in. There is something so comforting and familiar about his art and he will always be a national treasure in my heart. This book is formatted as a hardback and has a very authentic traditional feel to it, which is fitting for the tale of A Christmas Carol. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without re-visiting this tale and I think we will all appreciate the tale in this lovely gift style book. ISBN:9781843651215Quentin Blake's a Christmas Carol


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