Friday, December 31, 2010

Owl Moon

Owl Moon was first introduced to me through a reading-in-schools program I participated in when Elizabeth was about 3. She and I proceeded to check it out from our local library many times, especially during the coldest parts of the winter. I'm not really sure why it never found it's way into our permanent collection.

Earlier in the year, when my mother was asking about Christmas presents for the kids, she asked me if Finn had a copy of Owl Moon. When I answered "no", she determined that he should have a copy, which proved to be a good call as it is now one of his favorites.

Winner of the 1988 Caldecott medal, Owl Moon showcases the beauty and expanse of a snowy winter on a farm. The perfect bedtime story, it whispers quiet winter softness and you can practically hear the echo of father's who-ing.

The illustrations depicting the owl's point-of-view are a beautiful change of pace when they appear. You'll find yourself wondering how you might find your way to a snow-covered farm for a bit of late-night owling.

As you can see, Finn didn't take kindly to my kidnapping his book for even a few photos. I think this will certainly remain a treasured piece of our winter book basket for years to come.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Snowy Day

Ezra Jack Keats' popular and ubiquitous winter book has never been more popular in our house than the last week with our Christmas night snowstorm.

Finn tremendously identifies with Peter and his track-making, angel-making, tree-smacking, snowball-making fun.

I never tire of the depth of the Caldecott-winning illustrations and the beautiful color peeking through each page bringing a chilly breath to each scene.

I think my personal favorite is the snowangel page. There's something sweetly preschool-like about Peter's little gnome-hat angel.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas in Noisy Village

Although one of the first posts I wrote here on The Book Children was a review of the Noisy Village series, I feel the need to bring them to you again now that it's Christmastime. Christmas in Noisy Village is one of the favorite books from our Christmas book basket and for good reason. The child-like expression in the writing and authentic seasonal activities captivate my kids every time.

One thing that I appreciate in older children's literature, like Little House on the Prairie, is the inclusion of children's work. It's rarely mentioned in modern children's books except for a possible mention of basic housekeeping. The fact that these 6 children spent all day gathering firewood, happily, and kept track of a toddler in their midst is amazing. I'm glad Astrid Lindgren included this activity and mention of how important the children's work was to the village.

I also enjoy Ilon Wikland's depiction of their work, like the sealing wax and gingerbread cookies. The children have messes everywhere, yet it's cute and authentic to the work that children do.

My older kids always giggle about the Christmas Eve rhyming (maybe we should try that this year), especially when Karl declares Bill's silly rhyme to be "the worst rhyme I've ever heard".

By the time you get to dinner, you'll be wishing you could step back in time for a few minutes with Lisa's family at Christmastime...or maybe that's just me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Jan Brett's beautiful treasury

I discovered this little jewel compilation of Jan Brett's Christmas (or winter, really) works while on a trip to NYC a few years ago. I knew that my little Christmas baby would need this treasury so I lugged all 10 lbs of it on the plane home. Fortunately he loves it as much as I do, well actually, all the family does.

I love how the Christmas stories that Jan Brett tells are atypical from the standard Christmas tales. Between the trolls and the ornery reindeer, it's definitely not Norman Rockwell-esque story-telling. But there's a sweetness in each narration and a happy ending for all so it's nice to have a book of alternative stories.

Interestingly, Finn's favorite stories in the book are The Mitten and The Hat, both of which we had separately before this treasury. I also like that these books are included in the treasury despite the fact that neither is truly a Christmas book, more like a winter tale.

And of course, Jan Brett's illustrations are marvelous. The kids love how much there is to see in every picture. The left side bar reflection from the previous page and right side bar peek into the next page are particularly loved.

One thing that my kids find particularly delightful about Jan Brett's stories is the hedgehog that appears in so many of her illustrations, if not the stories themselves. Paulie has turned the whole family hedgehog-crazed so they squeal with delight upon finding an extraneous hedgie.

And it doesn't hurt that Jan Brett draws them so adorably!

Finn especially gets a kick out of the final page of The Hat when all the animals scatter wearing the little girls woolens. He often will pick up any woolens he finds laying around our living room and wear them on his head to join in the game!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Room for a Little One

Our seasonal book basket has been reloaded with holiday books and we've been spending some time reading them nearly every day. One in particular that Finn seems to gravitate toward is Room for a Little One. Room for a Little One is a sweet re-telling of the nativity story from the perspective of the barn animals.

The text is so simple and flows so quietly that it's easy for little ones to be satisfied with the pace and understanding of the story.

Jason Cockcroft's illustrations are simply stunning, full of light and peace. They have such a beautiful ethereal quality while remaining realistic and life-like.

In the end, you'll feel like you're peering in on the story, watching the animals welcome the Christ-child to earth.

*Don't forget to check the giveaway to see if you won!*

Thursday, December 2, 2010

a tomten double giveaway!

A long-loved tale in our home, The Tomten is such a rich story of the quiet of a winter night and the tomten who trails through the farm aiding and comforting all the animals and children therein.

I've written of this book before, on my other blog, but when a gently used copy appeared at our favorite local bookstore, I couldn't resist bring it home as well.

My inability to resist this gentle, comforting winter tale is your gain as I am offering it, as well as a little wooden tomten to match, in a double giveaway!

After all, "winters come and winters go" but generosity lasts forever and is what this season is truly about. I hope there is a little one in your life who needs a tomten story!

Enter here by leaving a comment. Double your chances of winning both the book and the wooden tomten by leaving another comment on An Art Family tomten giveaway! Become a new follower of either An Art Family or The Book Children for an additional entry. The winner of both items will be drawn next Thursday, 12/9, at 9 am EST.

The winner of the wooden tomten and The Tomten book is Carolyn!
Carolyn said...

I just became a follower. Would love this for my grandson, Arlo.

Carolyn, please contact me at joy[at]anartfamily[dot]com with your information so I can get the tomten items to you right away! Thanks everyone for participating!