The Short Shelf
Book Services by Barb Weber
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Again of course, the number one must-read every Christmas is How the Grinch Stole Christmas,by Dr. Seuss. (‘Nough said, right?)
But do you know Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree, by Robert Barry? Mr. Willowby’s beloved Christmas tree is too tall for the perfect spot in the parlor corner! But not to worry, the excess is trimmed and passed on repeatedly, to the joy and benefit of successive Christmas merrymakers, from the upstairs maid to the household mice. “Oh, wasn’t it grand to have a tree exactly like Mr. Willowby?” This rhyming tale is brimming with holiday cheer.
For an imaginatively different take on a Santa story, try Auntie Claus, by Elise Primavera. Sophie’s Auntie Claus if super! So elegant. So posh. So mysterious. This year niece Sophie is determined to discover her aunt’s seasonal secret, and takes off on an unexpected adventure that leads her to the true meaning of Christmas. Celebrate the selfless spirit of the season with this fun read aloud. It’s fabulous, darling!
A book that strikes a slightly different note, but one that so perfectly captures the spirit of Christmas is The Best Christmas Ever, by Chih-Yuan Chen. It’s a hard year for the bear family. Papa lost his job and things are tight, so it looks like “Santa” may not make it to their house this year. But Little Bear knows what makes a great Christmas, and he sets out to make sure his family has the best Christmas ever. (Hint: Be sure to follow the lovely, spare illustrations closely, from endpaper to endpaper.)
And a final “of course”: what’s Christmas without a family reading of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens? If you can’t swing reading it aloud yourself, Patrick Stewart’s reading is the next best thing.
Jen butting in to further plug both the original text of A Christmas Carol and Patrick Stewart’s reading. These have long been two of my favorite holiday traditions. Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas tales, too, that I highly recommend. At first, I didn’t think they were very Christmasy, but after repeated readings and some contemplation, I think I understand what Dickens was aiming for, and the sentiments are, indeed, appropriate for the season. Happy holiday reading!
Barb Weber has been a fan of children’s books all her life (she still has her copy of her favorite Golden Book, The Little Yellow Taxi, torn page and all, and it still chokes her up), and has been a children’s bookseller for over ten years. She likes nothing better than to share her enthusiasm and bring terrific books to people’s attention.