Tuesday, December 20, 2016

CHRISTMAS Picture Books!


You've been waiting all year long, and now it's finally Christmas Eve! Is this the year you'll finally catch an elf? Start a new Christmas tradition with this hilarious children's book from the creators of the New York Times best-seller How to Catch a Leprechaun!

"It's Christmas Eve! Hip hip, hooray!
Yes, Santa's coming 'round.
He's bringing toys to girls and boys
in every house in town."

"Some kids have tried to catch him,
but Santa's fast, you see!
So they've set their eyes on a smaller prize,
and now they're after me!"


My first question while reading this book was, why are kids trying to catch the elf who is helping Santa deliver presents?  According to the elf, the kids originally tried to catch Santa but he's too fast so now they aim their traps at the elf.  While the rhyming isn't as smooth or readable as I would have liked it to be, the illustrations are adorable.  Both the elf and Santa are cute and I couldn't help cheering when they escaped each trap.  There is one illustration however that I found a bit puzzling.  In the illustration, the elf is behind Santa's should relieved that the Elf Snatcher 3000 has been dunked in a glass of milk and disabled.  What puzzles me is the way Santa is holding his hands, like he is supposed to be holding something that is no longer there.  I might have thought he was holding the glass of milk, but once the Snatcher hit it, it should have been knocked over.  Puzzling indeed.  But I can see children enjoying the madcap adventures that Santa and the elf have escaping various traps, especially the avalanche of food in the grocery store.  I, however, found myself rather empathizing with the difficult time that Santa and the elf had delivering presents. 


A group of misfit holiday decorations come vividly to life as they try to make their way home for the holidays in this enchanting and heartwarming picture book from Scott Santoro.

The houses on Candy Cane Lane have some of the most spectacular holiday decorations around, so when a winter storm hits and damages some of the festive lawn ornaments, the residents simply can’t allow the broken figures to ruin their prized displays. Many end up in the trash, including a scuffed choirboy who is sure he’ll never have a chance to bring holiday cheer to the lane again. That is, until a little girl in the only undecorated house on the block saves him and gives him a special spot on her lawn.

But when a misunderstanding the next morning sends the choirboy off to the dump, he’ll have to team up with a plucky group of other discarded lawn ornaments to find his way back to the little girl and the one place everyone wants to be during the holiday season—home.

With classic holiday spirit and illustrations as merry and bright as any holiday display, Scott Santoro brings Candy Cane Lane to life for readers of all ages.


When you combine a bunch of damages lawn ornaments,  a blizzard, and the hopeful heart of a young girl, you end up with a story that's more than a bit magical.  Candy Cane Lane is known for the number of Christmas decorations they display on and around their houses.  Every house is decorated to the max, all except for one.  The young girl that lives inside knows her father can't afford such decorations, but she longs to have just one.  After a blizzard sweeps through the area, ornaments are blown hither and yon.  The girl finds a young choir boy decoration in a dumpster the next day and is delighted to take it home with her.  But her father throws it away.  When the choir boy ends up at the dump, he joins forces with a ghost and a broken reindeer to find a way back to the girl's house.  But it takes the help of other damaged decorations and a giant to provide a way for everyone to enjoy the holidays.  The animated illustrations give this book a rather cartoonish feel, but the themes of acceptance and finding a place to belong shine through sweetly.


Hope and joy radiate from the pages of Robert Sabuda’s new pop-up book celebrating the Nativity.

Long ago in the town of Bethlehem, on a bright and starry night, a baby was born, a child who was called the son of God. Announced by an angel, born in a humble manger, laid in a bed of straw, visited by shepherds and wise men—the age-old, awe-inspiring story of the birth of Jesus is lovingly brought to life by master pop-up artist Robert Sabuda in six gorgeously imagined scenes, culminating in a 3-D manger sheltering humans and beasts, guarded by an angel above. Glinting with touches of gold and pearlescent foil, The Christmas Story is a visual feast, a holiday treasure to be shared with the whole family.


Robert Sabuda has created a beautifully designed retelling of the Nativity.  While the story does not quote directly from the scriptures, it's clear that the Bible was referenced.  Also, while my personal beliefs do not completely line-up with the portrayal here (in the book the angels have wings, and the three wise men visit Mary and child in the stable), the account is mostly consistent with the Bible story.  But it's the gorgeous pop-ups that take center stage here.  My favorites were the pop-out star that the wise men follow, and the stable where Joseph and Mary take refuge.  Sabuda has once again created a beautiful book.

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