More than Elves and Candy Canes: Holiday
Books for 2003
By Karen Mendez Smith
Just like snowflakes, holiday books reflect the richness and diversity
of the winter season.
New Board Books
WINTER WALK (ToyShow)
by Ann Burg and Kelly Asbury is a snowflake-shaped board book from Harper
Festival that little ones will want to savor. DISNEY’S COUNTING
THE DAYS ‘TIL CHRISTMAS (ToyShow),
24 mini-board books illustrated by Disney storybook artists, should keep
kids busy thinking about the arrival of that magical day. DAVY’S
CHRISTMAS GIFT (ToyShow)
by Brigette Weninger (North-South/Neugebauer) is a magical treat. Junior
fans of retro will eat up THE BERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS (ToyShow)
by Laura Thomas and Tom Unguey, the latest in the Grosset & Dunlap
Strawberry Shortcake series.
THE SNOWFLAKE SISTERS
New Picture Books
FELIZ NAVIDAD (ToyShow)
(Scholastic/Cartwheel) by Jose Feliciano, with illustrations by Caldecott
winning artist David Diaz, is a much-welcomed picture book version of
the popular song. Two snowflakes hitch a ride with Santa in THE
SNOWFLAKE SISTERS (ToyShow)
by J. Patrick Lewis, with pictures by Lisa DeSimini from Simon & Schuster/Atheneum/Schwartz.
The story of a small boy’s very special Christmas gift is well told in
MY PENGUIN OSBERT (ToyShow)
by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel and illustrated by H.B. Lewis from Candlewick.
WE LOVE CHRISTMAS!
Another animal tale, in which a toy polar bear goes in search of a home,
is THE CHRISTMAS BEAR (ToyShow)
(Troll) byAnnie Mangan, with pictures by Joanne Ross. Also from Troll
is A JOLLY HOLIDAY ADVENTURE (ToyShow),
a hidden-picture art activity book by Robert Rath and Pamela Roller. North-South/Night
Sky brings us the exuberant WE LOVE CHRISTMAS! (ToyShow)
by Marilyn Janovitz. Rudolph also makes an appearance in RUDOLPH’S
BRIGHT CHRISTMAS (ToyShow)
by Don Williams, with pictures from the Artful Doodler (Random House/Golden).
A CHRISTMAS STOCKING
The holidays would just not be complete without THE NUTCRACKER
illustrated by Michael Hague from North-South/Seastar. ‘TIS THE
SEASON: A CHRISTMAS TREASURY (Chronicle) (ToyDirectory),
is a classic illustrated edition by Cooper Edens. Award winners Karen
Hesse and Brian Pinkney artfully present THE STONE LAMP: EIGHT
STORIES OF HANUKKAH THROUGH HISTORY (Hyperion) (ToyShow).
HarperCollins offers yet another classic: A CHRISTMAS STOCKING
by Hilary Knight, in a freshly illustrated edition. More traditional tales
are gathered in IT’S A MIRACLE! A HANNUKKAH STORYBOOK
by Stephanie Spinnier, with pictures by Jill McElmurry (Athenaum). An
instant classic for fans of author/artist Mary Englebreit may well be
ANNE ESTELLE SERIES: QUEEN OF CHRISTMAS (HarperCollins)
featuring her popular character. Cuddle up and spend a cozy evening with
MY GRANDMOTHER’S STORIES: A COLLECTION OF JEWISH FOLKTALES (Random/Knopf)
by Adele Geras and illustrated by Anita Lobel.
A KENYA CHRISTMAS
O, CHRISTMAS TREE
Set in East Africa, A KENYA CHRISTMAS (ToyShow)
by Tony Johnston, with art by Leonard Jenkins, is one of Holiday House’s
offerings for the season. THE LEGEND OF ST. NICHOLAS (ToyShow)
gives us an unusual look at the legendary figure in this picture book
biography by Demi, from Simon & Schuster/McElderry. SAINTS
AND ANGELS (ToyShow),
a fascinating set of biographies of religious figures, is presented by
Kingfisher. O, CHRISTMAS TREE (ToyShow),
by O’Neal and with art by Ande Cook, is another sterling effort from Augsberg.
Kids count down to the big day in COUNTING CHRISTMAS
by Karen Katz (Simon & Schuster/McElderry) and in Zondervan’s THE
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (ToyShow)
by Helen Haidle and ilustrator Laura Knorr. A calendar of special days
on the Jewish Calendar that all ages will enjoy is certainly A
SWEET YEAR: A TASTE OF THE JEWISH HOLIDAY (ToyShow)
by Mark Podwal (Randm/Doubleday). The story of the Christmas carol comes
from author Gwenyth Swain and illustrator Ron Himler in I WONDER
AS I WANDER (Eerdman’s) (ToyShow).
Those who favor poetry will warm up to FATHER FOX’S CHRISTMAS
by Clyde Watson, with art by Wendy Watson (Farrar).
Writer's Bio: Karen Mendez Smith has been involved
in children's media for over twenty years as a literary agent, writer,
and creator of animated television and film. Co-founder of Satori Organics
and M/Path Press, she is a parent to eight children and five incredible
grandchildren (and counting).