Although we have a book Advent in December you really CAN have too much of a good thing, and so we like to supplement with more general wintery themes before excitement levels reach uncontainable proportions…
So, here is a mix of snow/animal/traditional tales that might fit the bill:
I really love ballet – and in the hope of someone coming with me to watch in the future, it’s nice to share a few traditional tales and The Nutcracker is, for me, a Christmas essential. There are lots of versions, we like the Usborne Books picture books as they are age appropriate for our gang, and are all quite different. They also do the same story in a First Readers format, in case kids want to read it themselves. From the same box set we also keep out The Snow Queen – even though it’s a bit scary! This story did cause a bit of confusion after watching Narnia, but it’s good to give variety and prove that not everything in life is owned by Disney.
Our children expect it to snow every single day in December, and so we include some snowy animal books to make up for the (usual) lack of white stuff in real life. Bedtime for Little Bears by David Bedford doesn’t get old as we mostly read before bed and it’s a good reminder that sleeping is a lovely part of the day and that everyone needs some rest, even whales and foxes. Little Penguin Lost by Tracey Corderoy, is also from the wintry animals collection, but is mostly about the stress of lost toys – and not judging people by their size. We enjoy the humorous and beautiful illustrations and can all sympathise with the emotions within.
From my own childhood comes The Winter Story by Jill Barklem, a lovely tale from Brambly Hedge with a snow palace and a ball for the mice, it’s timeless and magical and if it snows we reckon we know some tree roots near us that have mice living inside. We also love the illustrations of Jane Chapman, and Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson is a real delight for animal lovers. We first had this as a spoken word in the car, so finding the book was a revelation. It’s about hibernation, friendship, sharing and celebrations -perfect for the season.
Last but not least there seems to be a Winnie the Witch book for all eventualities, which is great because we really love them! Winnie in Winter by Valerie Thomas with Korky Paul illustrations is up to the same great standard, Winnie and Wilbur get a bit tired of the cold, but slowly learn to appreciate the need for seasonal changes and the unique fun they each bring. It’s especially useful if everyone is really cold and miserable after getting caught in bad weather.