This was a great charity shop find. First published in 1906, (though this is a revised edition from 1988), The Child’s Christmas is an anthology of stories and poems, with original illustrations by Charles Robinson.
I read one of the stories with Owl this evening – the others were distracted as Granny was here. Getting all of them together to read is still proving elusive as every day has been so busy recently, with everyone in and out at different times, but as I read to the other three yesterday and Owl today it seems to even out.
I’m looking forward to reading more of it, with all the children when they are in the right mood. There are stories and poems by Eleanor Farjeon, Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, Susan Coolidge, Tolkein, Alison Uttley, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Hans Christian Anderson, among many others. I hope that it will become a part of our Christmas tradition every year to dip in and out of this wonderful collection – a glimpse into Christmas past.
Tonight I read one of our Library books, Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star to the three younger children while Owl was at Cubs. We chose it because we have Silly Suzy Goose at home, which Rabbit likes, and I think she is going to find it hard to give this one back to the Library.
Suzy Goose and her friends are gathered around the tree on Christmas Eve, and they decide that it is missing something. “It needs a star on top,” honked Suzy. “Just like the one in the sky. I’ll get it.” So she dives off the top of the hill, slides down and flies up into the sky. When that doesn’t work, she tries everything else she can think of to get to the star but to no avail. Lost and far from her friends, she is lonely till she hears their voices and finds her way back to them, and the star ends up above the tree after all.
Having read this story, we finally got round to decorating our tree, which we have had for nearly a week. It doesn’t have a star on the top yet though!
This afternoon we went to the Library with our Home Education group, and we borrowed some more Christmas books for our Advent collection (along with books about Star Wars, Iron Man, Superman and Wonder Woman of course!) The book we chose to read this evening was Maisy’s Snowy Christmas Eve.
The story contains a lot of repetition: “Snow fell on Maisy’s house. Snow fell on Charley’s house. Snow fell on Cyril’s house.” This makes it fun for Tiddler, who loves to learn his favourite stories off by heart, and encouraging for Rabbit who is learning to read.
Maisy’s friends are coming to her house for Christmas, but on the way Eddie the elephant gets stuck in the snow. The others go out to look for him. There is more repeated text: “They found a shed covered in snow. They found a bush covered in snow. They found snow covered in snow…” That is our favourite line!
When they find Eddie, first they try to pull him out. Next they try to push him out. Then Maisy has a good idea…
We love Maisy books, and have quite a few of them at home. The stories are very simple, and the text is written in a child-friendly font, so they are good practice for early readers. The illustrations are bright and colourful, and quite easy to copy so I think we might make a few Maisy-themed Christmas cards tomorrow!
This evening, Paul was out and we were running late, and suddenly the little ones were tired and grumpy needed to be fast-tracked to bed so I didn’t remind them about our Christmas story routine. We just read two books that they chose, in their bedroom, and then I went back down to read to the big boys and light our Advent candle. I felt a bit bad that the little ones were missing out, but I had a book saved for just such a situation, one that was more suitable for the older children.
The Best Christmas Present in the World, by Michael Morpurgo, is a short story which centres around a letter written by a soldier in the trenches in 1914. The Christmas truce, and the football match in No Man’s Land between the English and the Germans, are brought to life in the letter, discovered in a roll-top desk which the narrator buys in a junk shop. This leads him on a quest to find Connie, to whom the letter is written.
It was just right for Owl, who has been reading a lot about the World Wars recently, and Monkey found it interesting too. I enjoyed the time with just my two big boys, though I hope we’ll be back to reading a Christmas story together as a family tomorrow.
I read Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs to the little ones when we went to the Library with our Home Education group recently, and they liked it, so I was pleased to find a copy in our local charity shop last week.
This evening I read it to all the children and it was a great success. It’s the story of Father Christmas getting ready and going out for his night’s work on Christmas Eve, written in comic book style. He complains about the cold, the snow and houses which don’t have chimneys (an igloo, a lighthouse and a caravan all prove difficult to get into) and by the time he gets back home, he doesn’t want to look at another present. He has had enough of “Bloomin’ Christmas” and is glad that it’s over for another year.
The book was published 40 years ago, and has remained popular ever since. It was one of my childhood favourites, so it was fun to share it with the children. I don’t know why I’ve never thought to get a copy before, but I’m glad we found one. Definitely a Christmas classic!
Our book at bedtime this evening was perfect after a very busy day.
A Christmas Journey, by Brian Wildsmith, is a beautifully illustrated, simply written retelling of the Nativity story. It opens with the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary, to tell her that she will give birth to a child who will be the Son of God. When Mary and Joseph find, some time later, that they will have to travel to Bethlehem, Mary leaves her cat and dog with a neighbour who will look after them. (“I don’t remember that bit in the Bible,” says Owl!) The cat and the dog miss Mary so they run away to try and find her. On the way, they meet other animals who join them on their journey.
This is a very appealing way to tell the Nativity story to young children, and we all enjoyed it. The illustrations are stunning, and so full of interesting details that every time we read it I think we will find something new – and lots of inspiration for our own artwork too.
After a busy afternoon at the church fair, then home for supper, bath and Strictly, we only had time for one story this evening. I didn’t manage to find any Christmas books at the fair, but I do have a little stash of new ones. I knew that The Very Snowy Christmas would appeal to my children, who are eagerly awaiting the snow now it is Winter, and are asking me to check the weather forecast every day.
It’s Christmas Eve, and Big Mouse and Little Mouse are decorating their Christmas tree. Little Mouse goes out to look for some holly, but just as he finds some, soft white flakes start falling from the sky. “Goodness me!” he says. “The sky is coming undone!” As he set off home, strange things start to happen. A Mouse Ness Monster looks up at him from the water, the footprints of an Invisible Monster follow him, and in his own garden there is a huge White Mouse. Luckily Big Mouse is there to explain all the mysteries, and in the end he discovers that “Snow is Magic!”
We all liked this book, from its glittery cover to its warm and comforting ending. It’s a lovely addition to our collection of Christmas stories, though I’m afraid it is only adding to the children’s expectation that it will snow on Christmas Eve if not sooner!
This was another good find in the charity shop on Tuesday. Spot’s Magical Christmas Puffin Picture Book and CD Set.
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa’s sleigh has gone missing. Spot and his friends help to look for it, leading to a magical adventure.
We listened to the CD first, at supper time, then Rabbit listened to it again afterwards and followed the story in the book at the same time. This is really good reading practice for her, so I think this book might be one that doesn’t make it back into the loft after Christmas. Tiddler loved it too, especially when I read it to them at bedtime.
So far we’ve done well for Christmas books at the charity shop. Church fair tomorrow, I wonder if we’ll find any more…
This evening our bedtime story was The Night Before Christmas, a little early perhaps, but I’m sure we’ll be reading it again many times right up to Christmas Eve. We have been talking about St Nicholas Day, which is tomorrow, so it seemed a good choice to read tonight.
The Night Before Christmas, Clement C. Moore, paperback, £6.99, Parragon
The famous poem by Clement C. Moore is accompanied by warm and playful illustrations which the children loved, especially the glittery cover. We read it first while Owl was out at Cubs, and the three younger children drew some pictures. When we got home from collecting Owl, they added glitter to their pictures, and then daddy read the poem again to all the children before they went to bed.
We were sent a copy of this book to review.
Having decided at the last minute to read a Christmas book a day in Advent, I was pleased to receive some more review books in the post this morning. If I decide to do this again next year, maybe I’ll be more organised and contact some publishers in advance with my plan, but for now winging it seems to be working okay! The book we chose for today was Mr Men: The Christmas Tree.
Mr Men: the Christmas Tree, Egmont, paperback, £2.99
It is Christmas Eve and Mr Forgetful has forgotten to buy himself a Christmas tree. He sets off through the snow, into the forest, to cut one down instead. However he gets lost and it is getting dark and cold. In desperation, he cries for help. “And as luck would have it, help was at hand.”
This is a funny story, written by Adam Hargreaves, based on the original concept by Roger Hargreaves. The children liked it and they laughed out loud at several points. I enjoy reading Mr Men books with them because it reminds me of my childhood, even though there are far more stories now.
After reading the story, the children drew some pictures of Mr Forgetful.
This led on to reading our new Mr Men magazine and completing some of the activities.
All the children enjoyed the book – it appeals to a wide age range – and it is a good addition to our Christmas story collection.
We received a copy of this book to review.