Winter -- Christmas

  • Religious--Nonfiction
  • Religious--Fiction
  • Secular--Nonfiction
  • Secular--Fiction

  • RELIGIOUS
    NONFICTION

    Bunting, Eve.  WE WERE THERE:  A NATIVITY STORY.  Illus by Wendell Minor. New York:
        Clarion, 2001.  32p.   0-395-82265-3; hb., $16.00.  00-065731    PreS-Gr. 3+    E

        The message is clear in this picture book.  The lowliest of creatures were welcome at the birth of the baby Jesus.   The text is poetic. The creatures (snake, scorpion, toad, bat, cockroach, spider, and rat) each provide a first person narrative about who they are and how they plan to travel to the event,  followed by the refrain "I will be there."  The creatures join the donkey, cows, lambs, and the "woman, swollen, waiting."
        Gouache and watercolor illustrations provide information to readers that the text does not state so readers will know where the creatures are going.  The text does not give any indication of who the people are but beyond the picture of the lamb, Minor shows a man and a woman in biblical dress and the last page shows a silhouette of the manger and the most famous of families silhouetted against the trees and a starry night with one large star in the sky.  This book is excellent for holiday giving as well as for library purchase.  There are many religious holiday books for libraries to choose from, but this one should be at the top of the list.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Cunningham, Julia.  THE STABLE  RAT AND OTHER CHRISTMAS POEMS.
        Illus. by Anita Lobel.  New York:  Greenwillow, 2001.  24p.  00-048440
        0-688-17799-9; hb., $15.95    Gr. 2-5     811.54

        Lobel's illustrations provide a wonderful background for Cunningham's nine Nativity poems.  Space was created within the illustrations so that the text is clearly visible.  However, the white space that appears vertically on both sides of the illustrations/poems looks like an attempt to keep the illustrations from falling into the gutters.  This makes the book less than an artistic masterpiece that could win a Caldecott Medal because otherwise, the book is aesthetically pleasing.  The book is still a wonderful holiday poetry anthology worthy of being on public library shelves.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Erlbach, Arlene.  MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYWHERE!  Brookfield, CT:  Millbrook,
        2002.  48p.   0-7613-1956-5; lib.bdg., $23.90.  2001-044758   Gr.  1-5     394.26

        There are crafts from twenty countries, most of which are food or decorations.  Each entry includes the country identified on a map; a phonetic pronunciation of the greeting; and a brief summary of how the holiday is celebrated, including gift giving; a list of ingredients and directions with illustrations.  The projects are related to the countries.  However, neither the introduction nor the individual articles mention that in some of the countries the Christian population is very small; for example, in Japan less than 1% of the population.  According to the Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief at the Human Rights Internet, the following countries were not predominately Christian in 2000.  India (80% Hindu, 14% Muslim, 2.4% Christian); Ethiopia (45% Sunni Muslims, 40% Ethiopian Orthodox); Nigeria (50% Muslim, 40% Christian); Ghana (35% Christian, 31% Indigenous, 27% Muslims); Lebanon (70% Muslim, 30% Christian); and Japan (49.2% Buddhist, 44.7% Shino, and 0.8% Christian).  Information shared in the introduction tells that some countries celebrate on Jan. 6 rather than Dec. 25 but no mention is made that only a fraction of the people in some the countries celebrate this holiday making it misleading to readers.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    French, Fiona, Illus.  BETHLEHEM: WITH WORDS FROM THE KING JAMES
        VERSION.  New York:  Harper, 2001.  28p.  0-06-029623-2 hb. $15.95    PreS+    226

        The familiar text, augmented by brightly colored illustrations, is reminiscent of modern stained glass windows.  The bright illustrations are large enough for a group read-aloud.   This is an outstanding holiday book to add to collections in church and public libraries or for personal giving.  Readership will not be limited to children.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Gibbons, Gail.  CHRISTMAS IS.  New York:  Holiday, 2001.  32p.
        00-054686   0-8234-1582-1; hb., $16.95.  PreS-Gr. 3+    394.26

        Gibbons shares Christmas customs in easy to understand language.  The first page begins  "Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.  It is on December 25th."   Pages follow a similar format.  The larger text on the top of the pages says "CHRISTMAS IS..." in red type and an explanation follows in green type.  Further information appears in smaller black and white type at the bottom of each page.  Some of the symbols are angels, a crèche, Saint Nicholas, Santa Claus, reindeer, a tree with lights, and more.  The last page concludes, "CHRISTMAS IS...PEACE, LOVE, AND JOY."  This book is up to Gibbons' standards and is a good book for beginning readers.  Read it aloud to younger children; however, emerging readers of all ages can read it for themselves.  This is a good religious holiday choice for all types of libraries.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Gulevich, Tanya.  ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CHRISTMAS:  NEARLY 200 ALPHABETICALLY
        ARRANGED ENTRIES COVERING ALL ASPECTS OF CHRISTMAS, INCLUDING FOLK
        CUSTOMS, RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES, HISTORY, LEGENDS, SYMBOL, AND
        RELATED DAYS FROM EUROPE, AMERICA, AND AROUND THE WORLD. 
        Illus by Mary Ann Stavros-Lanning.  Detroit:  Omnigraphics, 2000.  729p.  
        0-7808-0387-6 lib.bdg., $48.00   99-52285    Gr.4 to adult.    394.26

        Subjects as well as countries comprise this alphabetical list of almost 200 entries about Christmas beginning with Advent and ending with Zagmuk.  Each entry includes a list of books for “Further Reading.”  Within each entry, see also references appear in bold print to be used with the index to direct readers to other articles.  The articles pull in information from a variety of sources and place them in one handy guide.  Some subjects covered are literature, decorations, food, activities, customs, superstitions, and related holidays including New Year’s Day, Hanukkah, and days commemorating saints.  Musical topics with their own entries include:  Christmas carol, “The Messiah,” and “The Nutcracker Ballet.”   Food such as gingerbread, plum pudding, mincemeat pie, eggnog and wassail have their own entries while cake and cookies appear under other topics.   In the index, there are 23 countries listed under food with various page numbers listed.  The three appendixes are useful and include 17 pages of books, 7 pages of web sites, and 4 pages of addresses and phone numbers for associations.   The coverage is thorough but there is one drawback; customs are similar in many countries so there is repetition within the main entries for individual countries.
       This book will be useful for reports on holiday customs beginning with intermediate students as well as being a handy reference for adults.  Because there is so much information packed into one book at a reasonable price, libraries that can afford one copy for reference and one copy of circulation should purchase more than one.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Hawkes, Kevin, illus.  A CHRISTMAS TREASURY: VERY MERRY STORIES AND POEMS.
        New York:    Harper, 2001.  48p.  99-048761  0-688-12039-3 hb., $16.00.   Gr. K-4+   820.8

        Five classics make this collection an excellent Christmas read-aloud:  two carols, a poem, a short story, and an excerpt from a classic book.  Selections include:  Chapter 5 of Grahame's THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, Paine's "Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn."  two carols "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" and "The Friendly Beasts," and the Moore's poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas."
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Hooper, Patricia.  WHERE DO YOU SLEEP, LITTLE ONE?  Illus by John Winch. New York:
        Holiday, 2001.  32p.  0-8234-1668-2 hb., $16.95.     PreS-Gr.3    j 811   PAULIN'S PICKS

        This is an exquisite picture book from the end papers to the oil on handmade paper because the animals are cut out and arranged in layers before being photographed, giving it a 3-D effect.  A variety of animals are introduced in the story with the same question:  "...where do you sleep?"  The animal answers.  The surprise ending makes this a Christmas book but it can be read throughout the year.  Animals are chipmunk, field mouse, fawn, wren, rabbit, and spider.  The last question is posed to the pony, goat, and sheep who reveal the last sleeping creature.  This book is a winner!
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

    Hoyt-Goldsmith, Diane.  LAS POSADAS: AN HISPANIC CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION.
        Photos by Lawrence Migdale. New York:  Holiday, 1999.  32p.  0-8234-1449-3; hb., 16.95
        99-17337    Gr. 2-10.   394.266

        In this photographic essay, 11-year-old Kristen will play Mary in Las Posadas, a religious celebration that occurs on the nine days between Dec.15 and 23.  Young people dress as Mary and Joseph and visit nine families, asking for shelter for the night.  The accompanying people come in for prayers, carols, and food.  A map shows the 9 places the procession will visit for Las Posadas.
         Kristen lives with her mother and stepfather near La Mesilla, New Mexico;  a map is helpfully included.  The photographs are well placed, clear, and helpful to understanding Las Posadas.  Through text and photos, readers visit a neighbor who carves santos, figures of saints; visit the church where Kristen is an altar server and where mass is held before Las Posadas begins; make straw appliques and painting pictures of the saints, retablos with a friend.   Other helpful inclusions are:;  "The Legend of San Ysidro the Patron Saint of Farmers;" a history of Las Posadas; bilingual lyrics and music for "The Song of Las Posadas;" and a recipe for Biscochitos, cookies for Las Posadas; a glosssary of  26 terms, and an index.
        Paupore enjoyed learning about Las Posadas from the perspective of an Hispanic-American family because so often we only read the custom as it is celebrated in Mexico.  The information was broken into different sections/themes in a manner useful for teaching.  The book is helpful at Christmas time for sharing Hispanic traditions to beginners in  middle and high school.
        Vicki Paupore; Spanish teacher, Negaunee Middle School, Negaunee High School, MI
        7  years of experience as a Spanish teacher; experience living in Mexico.

    McGinley, Sharon, illus.  THE FRIENDLY BEASTS:  A CHRISTMAS CAROL.  Music
        arranged by David Wolff.  Lyrics by Robert Davis.  New York:  Greenwillow, 2000.  32p.
        0-688-17421-3; hb., $15.95   0-688-17422-1 lib.bdg. $15.89    All ages.  782.28

        A note at the end of the book clears up a misunderstanding about this traditional French carol.  The music is 12th century but the words were written in 20th century America and copyrighted in 1920 by Robert Davis.  Libraries may own copies by Baker, THE FRIENDLY BEASTS (Houghton, 1956)  and dePaola’s THE FRIENDLY BEASTS: AN OLD ENGLISH CHRISTMAS CAROL (Penguin Putnam).  Both hardcover titles are out of print but dePaola’s is only available in paperback.   The illustrations in McGinley’s book bring a bright folk look to the familiar carol yet make use of spectacular color.  Music and lyrics for all seven verses are included.  Public libraries need this picture book no matter how many other versions they own.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Nikola-Lisa, W.  TO HEAR THE ANGELS SING:  A CHRISTMAS POEM. Illus. Jill Weber.
        New York: Holiday, 2002.  32p.  0-8234-1627-5; hb., $16.95     PreS-Gr. 3     232.92

     This rhyme has a pattern that will soon have listeners responding to the repetition.  “The cows did low, the donkeys brayed,/donkeys brayed, donkeys brayed./The cows did low, the donkeys brayed,/a shepherd blew his horn.”  The twelve verses follow the same pattern and occupy an enclosed box in double spreads.  This ensures that the type will not be overshadowed by background.  The illustrations are extremely childlike and very effective.  The page that begins “Behold the joy of Bethlehem” exudes joy; even the donkeys are jubilant.  This is an excellent addition to Christmas collections in public libraries.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan

    Schuh, Mari C.  CHRISTMAS.  Holidays and Celebrations series.  Mankato: Pebble/Capstone,
        2002.   24p.  0-7368-0979-1; lib.bdg., $14.60    00-012793   PreS-Gr. 1   394.26

        Large print text across from full page photos add interest to this beginning concept book.  Activities include going to church to sing and pray, writing cards, making treats, hanging stockings, decorating trees, visiting Santa, and giving gifts.  Although Schuh mentions:  "Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God," there is no connection between that gift and gift giving.  One jarring note is that that pictures of the Nativity abound, even on inexpensive Christmas cards, so there is no excuse for the grainy picture whose style does not fit with the photos in the book.  A photo of a nativity in front of a church or humans reacting the scene would have been in keeping with the style.  Also, since the nativity is the focus of the book, it should not be the jarring note.  The people in the other photos are racially balanced and a father is helping make cookies.  Gibbons’ CHRISTMAS IS.  (Holiday, 2001) is a better value.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    RELIGIOUS FICTION

    Barrett, Mary Brigid.  THE MAN OF THE HOUSE AT HUFFINGTON ROW:
        A CHRISTMAS STORY.  New York:  Harcourt Brace, 1998.  unp.
        0-15-201580-9, hb. $16.00. 97-2212.  Gr. 1-3   E or FIC

         Losing a parent is a traumatic experience.  Even today's children can identify with Katherine Mary O'Shea and her brother Francis as they face their first Christmas without their father.  Katherine Mary Clings to her father's red scarf as if to keep him always with her.  She finds solace in the beauty of the creche at the cathedral.  As she cradles one of the angels in her arms, she is surprised by the choirmaster who is angry with her for touching the figure.  The angel falls, breaks, and the precious red scarf is lost as Katherine Mary wildly dashes from the church.  Now, Francis must find a way to restore the miracle of Christmas to his sister. The  satisfying plot has action that draws the reader into the story.  Full page illustrations and realistic dialogue capture the feeling and hardships of everyday life in a turn-of-the-century Irish-American neighborhood.  The language is rich and lends itself to storytelling.  Recommended for any Christmas collection.
         Lynn Dragoo; Library Assistant, Spies Public Library, Menominee, MI

    Brown, Margaret Wise. A CHILD IS BORN. Illus. by Floyd Cooper.   New York:  Hyperion,
        2000. 24p. 0-786-80673-7-hb., $16.95    0-786-82564-2-lib.bdg., $17.49.  All ages.  E

        Brown's text is a brief and rhythmic retelling of the Christmas story.  Cooper's illustrations are luminous, traditional oil paintings, seemingly more attractive to adults than to children.  The characters are multicultural, offering a refreshingly black Holy Family.  Young children will enjoy the two close-up illustrations of baby Jesus.  Compare this book to W. Nikola-Lisa's HALLELUJAH! A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION (Atheneum, 2000) with paintings by Synthia Saint James which vividly and joyfully portrays a black baby Jesus and Holy Family in bright colors and simple geometric shapes.  The text compliments the illustrations while focusing on and repeating the theme of a black baby Jesus.  Both books are worthwhile additions to Christmas collections, especially where black nativity scenes will be enlightening and/or welcome.
        Cathy Sullivan Seblonka, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI
        
    Hellenbrand,Will. ASLEEP IN THE STABLE. New York:  Holiday House, 2004.
                   unp. ISBN 0-8234-1824-3 hb. $16.95    Gr. K-3   EP/Holiday

                    Hillenbrand becomes an author, as well as an illustrator, of this nativity story told through the 
    perspective of a barn owl.  The large two-page illustrations are painted with simple figures and texturized 
    for realism.  The colors are beautiful and soothing.  The black text is large and easy to read.  This is a 
    great book for individual and church libraries.
                Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

    Little, Jean.  PIPPIN THE CHRISTMAS PIG.  Illus. by Werner Zimmermann. New York:
               
    Scholastic Press, 2003.  32p.  ISBN 0-439-65062-3 hb. $16.95     Gr. K-2     EP

                All the animals in the barn boast about the gifts their ancestors gave the baby Jesus long ago, but none of them will take the time to explain Christmas to the little pig, Pippin.  When Pippin asks what the pigs gave, the animals laugh and say that pigs have nothing to give.  Pippin is crushed and walks out into a snowstorm where he rescues a young mother and her baby.  When he guides them back to the safety of the barn, the other animals realize that the most important gift we give at Christmas is ourselves.
               
    Inga Banitt, Messiah Lutheran Church Library, Marquette, MI

    Park, Linda Sue. THE THIRD GIFT. Illus.Bagram Ibtoulline. New York:  Clarion Books,
        2011.  32p.   ISBN 978-0-547-201955 hb. $16.99    PreS-Gr.3  PIC

        Park once again proves her talent as a brilliant literary weaver, using strands of history, culture, and realistic characterizations to tell her story. THE THIRD GIFT is more than a Christmas book; it is the history of the use and harvesting of the sap of the myrrh plant, traditionally accepted by Christians as one of the gifts presented to the child born in a stable. The history is woven into the story of a father passing to his son, the age old way of finding the precious, fragrant myrrh sap. Walking in the heat and dust of the desert, father and son search for myrrh trees, looking for what father calls tears, the pearls of sap that seep out of the bark. The tears of myrrh will be brought to the spice merchant in the marketplace.  Lovely in every way, this gentle story's acrylic and gouache illustrations are reminiscent of fine Old World Art. The Author's Note explains the historic use and harvesting of myrrh, it's use in incense, perfume and embalming oil, as a medicinal herb, and explores the gift of myrrh in Christianity. A good addition to a library and home collection for reading during the holidays and many times in between. 
        Barbara Ward, Retired Children's Librarian, Dickinson County Library

    Rodanas, Kristina, illus.  THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY.  Based on words and music
        by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone, 1958, 1986.  New York:  Clarion,
        2001.  32p.   0-395-97015-6; lib.bdg., $15.00  00-047455   Gr. K+   782.42

        All three verses of this carol, including a musical score, appear on the last page.  These words, a phrase at a time, provide the text for this picture book.   The colored pencil and watercolor illustrations include many double page spreads that help interpret the brief text.  One double page spread that illustrates "I played my best for Him" shows light behind the boy making him look like he has angel wings.  The manger scene is portrayed as a primitive hut made of sticks, the drum is typical of the area and not the one often portrayed on Christmas cards, and the people have Jewish features.  The total effect makes this picture book an excellent addition to Christmas collections.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Slate, Joseph.  LITTLE  PORCUPINE'S CHRISTMAS.  Illus by Felicia Bond. Geringer/
        Harper, 1982, 2001.  32p.  00-040799  0-06-029533-3; hb., $9.95.      K-2    ER

        Little Porcupine's mother says his spines shine, his eyes sparkle, and that he is the light of her life.  However, when he tries out for the Christmas play about the Baby in the Manger, the other animals make fun of him.  Finally, the play begins and the parents in the audience realize that something is missing so Little Porcupine has his chance to shine.  This is a very good holiday easy reader for school and public library purchase.  Church groups can easily transform this book into a little play, that has parts for many children.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

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     SECULAR

    NONFICTION

    Kennedy, Marge.  DISNEY'S CHRISTMAS CRAFTS FOR KIDS.
        New York: Disney, 1998.   0-7868-3196-0    98-84799  Gr. 5+

        This title is a must-have for anyone who enjoys creating original gifts.  Packed
    full of projects (75+) this gem contains gifts simplistic enough for preschoolers, yet
    imaginative and elegant enough to be made by grown-ups.  Step-by-step instructions talk
    readers through the project in large bold print.  Each project begins with an intriguing
    chapter title such as "Alice's Perky Painted Pots," or "Piglet's Christmas Countdown
    Calendar" and includes a list of necessary materials.  These universal projects are not
    Disney-promotional.  The only thing "Disney" about the book is the titles issued to each
    creation.  This would be a great tool for teachers, parents or scout leaders.
        Patricia Fittante; Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

    Moore, Clement C.  THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  Illus. by Bruce Whatley.
        0-06-026608-2; hb., $16.95   0-06-028380-7; lib.bdg., $16.89   All ages.   811.2

         On the surface this is a well-illustrated rendition of a famous Christmas poetry classic.  The illustrations are large enough to share with a group of children at public library story hour.  The expressions in the eyes of the reindeer is priceless and Santa's twinkle, rosy cheeks, cherry red nose and white beard are many people's picture of Santa. The text of this poem is told in the first person by the father who is the main character in text and illustrations in this attractive picture book.  The story within a story makes this book multidimensional. The nonverbal story that takes place will be of interest to adults.   When Santa sees a picture on the mantle of a boy in short pants with lariat, he points to the boy and the man points to himself.  Then Santa winks and gives the man a small cowboy figure who looks remarkably like Roy Rogers.  This will appeal to grandparents and entice them to purchase the book and read it to their grandchildren.  The wonder on the man's face brings the magic of holiday giving alive.   The small toy cowboy contrasts to the larger ones in Santa's bag and a more modern  race car driver which represents a newer generation than the narrators.  Children will see and hear one dimension of the story but parents and grandparents will see another from the illustrations.   If you need another copy of this favorite Christmas poem, this is an excellent addition to school, public and home libraries.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Moore, Clement C.  THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  Photos and drawings by William Wegman.  
        New York:  Hyperion, 2000.  32p. ISBN 0-7868-0608-7; hb., $16.99.  PreS-Gr. 4    811.2

        Readers have two reactions about photos of Wegman's Weimaraners dressed up as humans in his books--they either love them or dislike them immensely.  The children "nestled all snug in their beds" accompanies three Weimaraners under the covers with their eyes closed and “father in his cap;” is also illustrated with a natural look.  The eight flying dogs with antlers attached fly through the sky with ease but there is no twinkle in the eyes of the Santa Dog, who looks more fearful and sad than cheery.  The cast of dogs and crew appears at the end of the book.  The total effect will hit the funny bone of some readers.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Moore, Clement C.  THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS: A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS.
        Illus. Max Grover. San Diego: Browndeer/Harcourt, 1999.   0-15-201713-5 hb. $16.00    Gr. K-3   j811.2

        Bright folksy acrylics illustrate this favorite Christmas poem.  Grover uses humor in his illustrations and adds an "Identification Chart: How to Recognize Santa" which draws eyes to his rosy cheeks, dimples, nose like a cherry, ashes and soot, etc.  The last picture shows a cat and mouse finishing off the crumbs that Santa left on his snack plate.  This tongue in cheek inclusion makes it humorous enough to use with students past primary grades.  If you need another copy of this favorite holiday poem, you can't go wrong with this one.   Highly recomended..
         Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    SECULAR FICTION

    Anya, Rudolfo.  FAROLITOS FOR ABUELO.  Illus. Edward Gonzales.New York:  Hyperion, 1998.  
        32p.   0-7868-237-5 hb. $15.99    0-7868-2186-8 lib.bdg. $14.49   Gr. 2-7       E PIC

         Luz lives in the village of San Juan near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico.  She has a warm relationship with her grandfather, her Abuelo, who helps her with her homework while she helps him with his garden.  While they are fishing, some boys are playing nearby and one falls in the water.  Abuelo saves the boy but contracts pneumonia and dies.  When Christmas comes, Luz wants to do something special for Abuelo so she puts farolitos, candles in bags also called luminarias, at the cemetery and starts a tradition.  In the summer she remembers her Abuelo by working in the garden, in winter by farolitos.
     An author's note sheds light on the tradition of El Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, which is celebrated Nov. 1st and 2nd.  A glossary helps readers unfamiliar with over a dozen terms used within the text.  The transitions between the season changes is abrupt but is only a minor irritation.  The book is a great read aloud for elementary and middle school students.  Paupore read the book to her middle school students because "It told an interesting story while making reference to many Hispanic customs, as well as words from the Spanish language."  The book was a catalyst for discussing Los Pastores, El Dia de los Muertos, and farolitos.
        Vicki Leathers-Paupor; Spanish teacher, Negaunee Middle School & High School

    Augustin, Barbara. ANTONELLA AND HER SANTA CLAUS.  Illus. Gerhard Lahr. LaJolla, CA:
        Kane/Miller Publishers, 2001. 40p. 1-929132-131; hb., $14.95 2001-131314     PreS-Gr.3     E

        Two talented Germans team up to create a young Italian, Antonella, who still believes in Santa Claus, much to the chagrin and mocking by her classmates  Nevertheless, Antonella sends her letter off anyway, via a balloon.  The balloon lands in a schoolyard in Hugary where it is read by students who pool their money to satisfy Antonella's wish--rollerskates.  The illustrations have a definite European look as well as setting.  They are full of action, yet in the balloon scenes there is a feeling of quiet and calm.  The Christmas message is heartwarming and undoubtedly this title will be a holiday favorite.
        Patricia Fittante; Children’s Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

    Bodkin, Odds.  THE CHRISTMAS COBWEB.  Illus by Terry Widener.  San Diego:
        Gulliver, 2001.  32p.  0-15-201459-4; $16.00       97-25626     K-Gr. 3     E

        Although similar to Climo’s CHRISTMAS COBWEB (Harper, 1982) because the spiders provide tree decorations in return for kindness, this picture book has an ethnic twist.  A German immigrant, a cobbler, brings a carved oak box with him from the "old country."  The box is filled with prized blown glass ornaments.  When their home burns,  the family moves to a shack full of cobwebs.  The husband says they shouldn't disturb the  spiders’ homes because he understands what losing a home means.  In order to buy tools and shoe leather, the father sells the precious ornaments.  When they bring their tree home, it looks bare without ornaments.  When the father says they have each other, he just avoids sentimentality.  In the morning they find that the spiders made web decorations for the tree.  The ornaments from their old home are now replaced with ornaments from their new home.  The acrylic illustrations enhance the story.
        There is only one disturbing element to the book.  In October, firemen visiting schools emphasize important rules for surviving fires; one rule is not to go back to rescue possessions. The father in this story "ran back through the flames.  Finding the box in a corner of his workshop, he rescued the precious ornaments."   This is unfortunate because the story is charmingly told and the illustrations complement the text.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Bourgeois, Paulette.  FRANKLIN’S HOLIDAY TREASURY.  Illus. Brenda Clark. Tonawanda, NY: 
        Kids Can, 2002.  128p.    1-55337-045-7; hb., $15.95     PreS-Gr. 3   E

        This volume includes four individual holiday picture books.  The titles are FRANKLIN’S HALLOWEEN (1996), FRANKLIN’S VALENTINES (1998), FRANKLIN’S CHRISTMAS GIFT (1998), and FRANKLIN’S THANKSGIVING, (2001).   The four picture books are presented in their entirety including text and illustrations.  Except for slightly brighter illustrations in the originals, this book contains the same text and illustrations in the picture books.  The price for this collection makes this a bargain that will be appreciated by fans who enjoy viewing Franklin on TV.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan

    Capucilli, Alyssa.  MERRY CHRISTMAS, FROM BISCUIT.   Biscuit series. Illus by Pat Schories.  
        New York:  HarperFestival, 2001.  0-694-01522-9; hb.,    $9.95   PreS-Gr. 2  E

        Biscuit and his little girl prepare for Christmas by making an album for her grandparents, singing carols, hanging stockings, and leaving gingerbread and milk for Santa.  The grandparents agree "There's nothing better than celebrating Christmas with our family, our friends, and a silly little puppy like you, Biscuit."  At the end of the book, there is space for readers to put in pictures of their own which makes this book a purchase by individual Biscuit fans rather than libraries.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Climo, Shirley.  COBWEB CHRISTMAS: THE TRADITION OF TINSEL. Illus. Jane Manning.
        New York:  Harper, 1982, 2001.  32p.   00-06-029033-1 hb. $15.95  Gr. K-4     E PIC

        This newly revised and illustrated edition of a German folktale is set in the Bavarian forest during medieval times.  The old woman, called Tante (Autntie) village children, lived on the edge of the forest with her animals.  In preparation for the holidays, Tante cleaned her house, put up a tree, baked cookies, and invited the neighborhood children to see her tree.  Then she invited all the animals to see the tree and gave each a present--except for the spiders that had been brushed away when she cleaned.  Tante tried to wait up until midnight on Christmas Eve to hear the animals speak, but she fell asleep. When Kris Kringle came, the spiders asked to be allowed inside to share Christmas so he opened the door for them.  When the spiders inspected every tree branch, they left a trail which Santa turned to gold and silver thus forming the first tinsel.  Tante was pleased and the next year she did not clean as thoroughly as usual to accommodate the spiders.  Add this new version of a favorite pourquoi story to your holiday collection.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    deGroat, Diane.  JINGLE BELLS, HOMEWORK SMELLS.  New York:
        Harper, 2000.  32p.  99-50291   0-06-688-17543-0; hb., $14.95.  Gr. K-3    E

        Gilbert is distracted from his schoolwork because he is thinking about Christmas.  He thinks abut Santa bringing him a new red sled, vacation, and preparations.  He is not interested in spelling or math.  The last straw is when Mrs. Byrd gives them weekend homework.  Instead of doing the homework, Gilbert helps his mom and sisters bake cookies, watches a holiday TV special, goes ice skating,  picks out and decorates a tree, and listens to stories.  On Monday morning, Gilbert realizes that he has not chosen a book or drawn a character.  Gilbert doesn't want to go to school but his mother makes him.  Gilbert even blames others for distracting him from his homework over the weekend.  Their creative solution provides Gilbert and his friend Lewis a reprieve.  Procrastinators will like the ending.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Funke, Cornelia.  WHEN SANTA FELL TO EARTH.  Illus. By Paul Howard.
                Translated by Oliver Latsch.  Hew York, MY:  Scholastic, Inc., 2006.  169p.
                ISBN 0-439-78204X hb. $15.99   Gr. 3-6   J FIC

                 The story of Santa is much more complex than we ever knew in Funke’s creative and updated version.  When Niklas Goodfellow, otherwise known as Santa, falls to earth in his caravan, he has a lot on his mind.  With Christmas only a week away, the only surviving reindeer, Twinklestar, has gone missing and the evil Nutcrackers are searching for Niklas to turn him into chocolate.  The entourage includes two small angels and a bunch of cranky, cursing elves living inside a magical caravan the size of a covered wagon on the outside, expanding to several rooms on the inside.  Ben and his friends become involved in the situation and have to figure out a way to keep Santa safe.  This story is very entertaining.  Everyone will want to read this Christmas tale straight through to the end.
                Lynette Suckow, Youth Services, Peter White Public Library, Marquette, MI

    Henry, Ragene. AN ENDURING CHRISTMAS (MARQUETTE, MICHIGAN, 1850.)
        Illus by Marquette students; cover art by Kathrine Waters. Marquette, MI:  Chickadee Press,
        1999.  64p.  0-9670743-1-2; pb., $6.95    Snowbound Books:  906-228-4448

        Based on a real happening in the early days of Marquette (December, 1850), Henry has written a gripping historical fiction story about Frannie and her six-year-old sister, Ellie, who live in a settlement on Lake Superior, newly renamed for Father Jacques Marquette, a French missionary priest.  This and other background information is seamlessly woven into the text.
        There is no sugar to make pull-taffy (recipe included at the end of the book); in fact supplies are dwindling and finally the residents realize that if the supply ship does not come soon, they will starve.  The men decide to kill the horses rather than let them starve.  They plan to keep most of the meat for the settlers but send some with several unmarried men (including Peter White for whom Marquette’s public library is named) who will travel overland by snowshoe to bring back provisions from Green Bay, WI.  That trip takes three hours one way by car today but had not been undertaken by white men at that time so it was a dangerous long shot.
        Frannie knows something is wrong.   Her mother frequently and wistfully looks toward the bay, there is nothing sweet to put on her porridge, and her parents talk in whispers.  Because of her sleuthing, Frannie learns of the survival plan and hides her old horse, Ben.  Frannie does not even tell her best friend, Lucy.  The plot hinges on Frannie’s dilemma as well as whether or not the supplies will come by land or lake in time to save the starving settlers.
        This book was written for Marquette’s Sesquicentennial celebration by Henry, a teacher in a nearby school system; author of THE TIME OF THE SHINING ROCKS. (Chickadee, 1999.)   After working with area students, Henry selected drawings by six middle and high school students to illustrate the book.  This carefully crafted book has enough detail to transport readers into the 19th century but not too much to overwhelm them.  The book flows well making it suitable for reading aloud during any season to students studying pioneer units but especially appropriate in December because the book ends happily at Christmas time.   The vocabulary is well within the range of fourth grade independent readers who study Michigan History.  A teacher’s guide for the book is: FROM SAPPHIRES TO STARVING HORSES:  A TEACHER’S GUIDE TO THE TIME OF THE SHINING ROCKS and AN ENDURING CHRISTMAS by Buzzo, Henry, and Turner. (Chickadee Press, 2000).
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Hobbie, Holly.  I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS.  Toot and Puddle series. Illus. author.  
        Boston:  Little, 2001.  32p.  00-042816   0-316-36623-4; hb.,    $15.95.  PreS-Gr. 3    E

        The sparkles on the tree on the cover and the engaging pigs will draw young readers into the book.  Toot and Puddle are pigs and Puddle is getting the house ready for Christmas while Toot is off at a family birthday party.  Although there is an ice storm and his flight is delayed, Toot plans to get home in the next two days.  When Toot finally arrives in Boston, there are no trains, busses, or taxis so he walks home through the woods.  It is difficult walking home in the snow and the dark so Toot touches the lucky nut in his pocket and wishes he were home in Woodcock Pocket.  The mode of transportation that helps him to do this is a surprise but totally in keeping with the season.  Children will enjoy being in on the joke when Puddle wonders about the identity of the driver of the sleigh.  Adults will hum the favorite carol, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” to themselves when reading this book.   The watercolors are muted and not great for sharing with a large group, but the book will be appropriate for reading to several children.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Howard, Ellen.  THE LOG CABIN CHRISTMAS.  Illus by Ronald Himler.  New York:
        Holiday,  2000.  32p.  99-40855  0-8234-1381-0; hb.,  $16.95.  Gr. K-3   E

        Elvirey and her brother and sister face their first Christmas without Mam.  The family lives in a log cabin in Michigan and thinks of Christmas back home in Carolina.  Their options are limited because the snow will keep them from going the long distance to church “if there was a church” and it is too cold to do their usual work.  Granny blames their father for bringing them to the wilderness.  Eventually the family stops squabbling and helps to create a Christmas celebration in this hostile place.  Modern readers and listeners will count their blessings after encountering this book.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Johnson, Crockett.  HAROLD AT THE NORTH POLE:  A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY
        WITH THE PURPLE CRAYON.  Illus. by author.  New York: HarperCollins, 1957, 1958.
        unp.  0-06-028073-5; hb., $12.95.     58-6614      PreS-Gr.2     E

        Harold needs a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve so he sets off to the woods at night and makes a moon and stars, snow, snowman, the North Pole complete with Santa coming out of the chimney, reindeer, and a sleigh filled with toys.  Then he had to make his tree so Santa could come and put presents under it.  Fans of Harold will love this reprint of a holiday favorite and will want to draw along with him.  Purchase to replace worn copies or to round out holiday collections in school and public libraries.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Joyce, William.  SANTA CALLS.  Illus. by the author.  New York:  HarperCollins, 1998.
        unp.  0-06-9400841-9, bd.bk., $5.95    92-52691      PreS   BB

         This board book would make a great stocking stuffer for anyone looking for a yuletide/Santa theme.  Joyce's picture book  is a bit wordy for its intended audience, but it won't keep them from flipping the hard pages back and forth in search of the bearded gent.  Joyce uses soft pastel colors to portray the dreams of a child while darker colors appear when the Dark Elves snatch Esther out of Santa's sleigh.  Some readers may object to the good versus evil theme in relation to Sant and Christmas, but good old Santa makes everything right just in the "Saint Nick of time."
         Patricia Fittante, Children's Librarian, Escanaba Public Library, Escanaba, MI

    Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie. A CHRISTMAS LIKE HELEN’S. Illus. Mary Azarian. Boston, MA:
               
    Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.  ISBN 0-618-23137-4 hb. $16.00    Gr. 1-4     E PIC

                 What is your perfect Christmas?  The author writes about her grandmother’s Christmas.  In a time of no electricity, Helen told stories of Scotland, her four inventive brothers, a barn full of animals, a mile-long walk to school, her family’s work ethic, a community that lent a helping hand to everyone, ice skating, making popcorn balls, going to church, the scent of freshly cut balsam fir trees, and the extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins.  The author shares a nostalgic look at Helen’s Christmas.
                Debra Ely, Children’s Librarian, Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library

    Krykorka, Ian.  CARL THE CHRISTMAS CARP.  Illus. Vladyana Krykorka.
                Custer, WA: Orca Books, 2006.  ISBN 1-55143-329X hb. $17.95   PreS-Gr. 2    E PIC

                 This tale of Christmas in Czechoslovakia stresses the importance of friendship and giving.  Young Radim releases Carl, the carp, the main dish for his family’s traditional holiday dinner.  The day is saved when Radim and his family join his friend Mila’s family for their tradition of a Christmas chicken dinner.  The colorful illustrations skillfully convey the feelings of a cold and snowy Christmas in Prague. 
                Lynn Dragoo, Spies, Public Library, Menominee, MI

    Mamchur, Carolyn. THE POPCORN TREE.  Illus. by Lauria McCaw. Buffalo, NY:
        Stoddart Kids, 1997.  29p.   0-7737-2896-1, hb. $15.95.  K-Gr 6.  E

        While preparing for Christmas, a mother reminisces with her children about her childhood ornaments. With the help from her children, these ornaments appear on Christmas day in a surprise package from her Aunt.  The  illustrations are contrasted with old, pencil drawn ornaments, and contemporary, colorful illustrations of the children and mother. The traditional ornaments come to life when they once again adorn the family Christmas tree.  A universal theme any child/adult can relate to. A "feel good" Christma book.
         Gina Sorensen, Media Specialist, Lakeview Elementary School, Negaunee, MI

    Moffatt, Judith.  MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREATS!  New York: Scholastic
        Cartwheel, 2002.   12p.  0-439-36219-9; bd. Bk., $6.99    PreS      BB

        This rhyming board book includes Christmas preparations like decorating a tree and making a gingerbread house.  The collage illustrations are easy for preschoolers to understand.  There is a page of 35 holographic stickers to provide personal additions to the tree or preparations including an empty plate that will provide treats for Santa.  Although the stickers are reusable, keeping them all available to new readers would be difficult for library circulation thus making this book better for personal giving than library use.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan

    Palatini, Margie.  MOOSELTOE.  Illus by Henry Cole.  New York:  Hyperion, 2000.
        32p.  99-86322   0-7868-2492; hb., $15.99.   K-3    E

        Even Moose's moosetache is full of holiday spirit and each time he finishes a holiday preparation, the red or green word "check" appears in the text once and then three times so listeners can chime in at the appropriate time during story hours.  After pages of bustling about, his family is impressed and he announces that everything is perfect...except he forgot the Christmas tree.  At that point readers may offer their own solutions, but Palatini's solution for Moose is humorous.  This title provides a lighthearted addition to holiday collections.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Parker, Toni Trent.  SNOWFLAKE KISSES AND GINGERBREAD SMILES.
        Photos  by Earl Anderson.  New York: Scholastic Cartwheel, 2002.  14p.
        0-439-33872-7;  hb., $6.95.   PreS-Gr. 1    E

        This rhyming book begins on the first end papers and ends on the last end papers. The stiff pages show clear photos of African-American children who share seven family holiday activities. The pages are sturdy but the padded cover and end paper use might make it less desirable for library circulation than individual gift giving.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan

    Peterson, Melissa.  HANNA'S CHRISTMAS.  Illus by Melissa Iwai.  New York:      
        HarperFestval, 2001.  26p.  0-694-01371-4 hb. $14.95    K-Gr.3    E     PAULIN’S PICKS

        The message of this book is "Home is where the heart is."  A modern family moves from Sweden to the United States.  Hanna is not happy with the move and misses her grandmother or Mormor.  Hanna becomes even unhappier when a tomten, who is also unhappy with his forced move, disrupts the household and she is blamed.   When her mother doesn't have time to prepare for Santa Lucia Day, Hanna and the tomten team up to make it happen.  The ending for this book is the same as it is for the German family in Odds Bodkin's CHRISTMAS COBWEBS (Harcourt, 2001), although the family in that book is of German descent.  Both books are good for reading aloud for multicultural views of Christmas or for new immigrants who are missing home.  This title offers more chance for the reader to be expressive when reading it aloud and the illustrations can be seen from a distance and is preferred to the other title (see review in this section for reasons.)
        Purchase for any girl named Hanna, families of Swedish descent, and school and public libraries who want to provide information about Swedish Christmas customs via fiction.  When you read this book aloud, the “n” at the end of tomten is silent and the “to” at the beginning is soft.  Highly Recommended.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Primavera, Elise.  AUNTIE CLAUS.  New York: Silver Whistle/Harcourt,
        1999.  unp.  0-15-201909-X; hb., $16.00   98-4781      PreS-Gr.4     E

        The gouache and pastel illustrations add humor to the text of this Christmas story that is also a mystery.  Sophie Kringle's's great-aunt, Auntie Claus lives in a penthouse in New York city and serves Christmas cookies even in July.  Auntie Claus wears a mysterious diamond key on a silver ribbon around her neck.  Every year between Halloween and Valentine's Day, Auntie Clause disappears and when asked merely says it is a business trip.  This year Sophie hides in a cardboard box with a peephole (not one of the trunks which would be dangerous) and finds herself at the North Pole where Santa's sister, Auntie Claus, works hard.  Although Sophie and her aunt never interact, Sophie is given a variety of tasks, one of which is to fetch the B-B-and-G list.  One of the bad boys listed there is her own younger brother.  What Sophie does with this information is interesting.  This book will be a holiday read-aloud classic for years to come and will be purchased by school and public libraries of all sizes.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Roberts, Bethany. CHRISTMAS MICE!  Illus by Doug Cushman.  New York:  Clarion, 2000.
        32p.  98-51133  0-395-91204-0; hb., $13.00  K-3  E

        This rhyming picture book is easy enough for emerging readers to read for themselves and the pictures provide clues to help readers with vocabulary.  The mice are busy baking, mopping, and singing during the joyous season until they see paw prints of their enemy the cat.  The mice are surprised when the cat leaves them a gift of cheese so they leave him a present too.  The storyline is  basic but satisfactory and new readers will have the pleasure of reading the it for themselves.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Rosenberg, Liz.  ON CHRISTMAS EVE.  Illus. John Clapp. Brookfield, CT: Roaring Brook,
        2002.  32p.  0-7613-1627-2; hb., $5.95;  0-7613-2707-X; lib.bdg. $22.90    K-Gr. 3    E PIC

        This holiday picture book is related in the first person by a small boy, a middle child with two siblings.  The family travels to Aunt Cleo’s house on Christmas Eve.  They cross a state border but only the letters “Ne” are shown on the sign.  When snow forces the family to stop at a motel for the night, the narrator is afraid that the motel doesn’t have a chimney.  The older brother says “Only babies believe in Santa Claus.”   During the night something wakes the narrator and he sees a sled in the sky.  Santa gives the boy presents and the boy gives Santa some bubble gum.  The sky is full of star messages that express the changes between believing and not believing.  The illustrations are dark but this is in keeping with the nighttime setting.   Reading this aloud should be limited to those who no longer believe.  This is suitable holiday fare.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan

    Scheidl, Gerda Marie.  CAN WE HELP YOU, SAINT NICHOLAS?
        Illus. by Jean-Pierrre Corderoc'h.  New York:  North-South, 1998.  32p.
        1-55858-956-2;  pb., $6.96  92-05231    Gr. PreS-Gr.3      E

         St. Nicholas is looking for children in the dark and gets lost.  This book isn't just about a lost Santa, it is about being helpful.  Owl shows St. Nick the way, mouse brings him a hazel nut, squirrel cracks it open, bear offers the warmth of his cave, and reindeer carries him so he will get there in time.  The animals offer to help next year too.  Use this book to introduce woodland animals;  however, substitute a white tail deer for a reindeer.   A note at the beginning tells why St. Nicholas is portrayed as the bishop of Myra.  If you don't have enough Christmas titles to meet the demand, consider this paperback.
         Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Sierra, Judy.  ‘TWAS THE FRIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  Illus by Will Hillenbrand.
        San Diego: Gulliver/Harcourt, 2002.   32p.  0-15-201805-0; hb., $16.00    PreS-Gr. 2.    E

        The cadence of “The Night Before Christmas” provides the framework for this picture book.  The “sweet bedtime story” mouse reads is THE HOUSE THAT DRAC BUILT (Harcourt, 1995) written and illustrated by the same person.  The house is the same, only the season is different.  The manticore, werewolf, mummy, and others seem more appropriate in the Halloween book than they do in this one that focuses on Christmas.  Enjoy the exceptional first title and pass on this one.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan

    Spowart, Robin.  INSIDE, OUTSIDE CHRISTMAS.  Illus. by the author.  New York:
        Holidiay, 1998.  unp.  0-8234-1370-5; lib.bdg., $15.95;  97-41956    PreS-Gr. 1    E

        "Christmas is inside mingling.  Christmas is outside jingling."  Christmas is vividly portrayed in rhyming words and pictures in Robin Spowart's "Inside, Outside, Christmas."  In a book of few words, Spowart captures the warm fuzzy feeling Christmas and it's memories bring.  Done in vibrant colors but shaded in soft pastel crayon lines it portrays a family of white mice partaking in Christmas and its many activities both inside and outside.  Appropriate for  preschoolers through first grade, this book is a holiday must.  Whether an individual enjoys the enchanting pictures, narrating their own story, or  he/she delights in the creatively descriptive verbs,and increases the vocabulary, "Inside, Outside Christmas" puts the season and all of its joys in a book that young readers and nonreaders alike will love to own.
        Charlotte Oshe;  Children's Assistant, Escanaba Public Library

    Stainton, Sue.  SANTA'S SNOW CAT.  Illus by Anne Mortimer.  New York:  Harper, 2001.
        32p.  0-06-623827-7 hb. $15.95  0-06-623828-5 lib.bdg. $15.89     K-3+    E

        While riding in Santa's sleigh on the night before Christmas, an adorable snow-white cat with green eyes falls out of the sleigh into a city decked out for the holidays.  The author and illustrator, both from England, have set the book in New York City.  Identifiable landmarks ainclude, among others,  St. Patrick's Cathedral, the skating rink at Rockefeller Center, The Chrysler building, and the World Trade Center twin towers.  None of the buildings are identified in the text.  Santa lands on the "tallest of tall buildings" and the twin towers appear in the illustrations.  Snow Cat sees several “Santas” but none of them are "her Santa."  Eventually the cat and Santa meet again.  The last sentence of the book is "Santa always travels with his Snow Cat, and sometimes, even now, they are glimpsed on the tallest of tall buildings."  The book is especially poignant because of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 making this a poignant book for child and adult personal giving.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855

    Velasquez, Eric. GRANDMA'S GIFT. Ill. Eric Valasquez. New York, NY: Walker & Company, 2010.
          32p.. ISBN 978-0-8027-2082-5, hb. $16.99.      Gr. K-2,    E PIC

          At a time when there were few images of people of African descent in children's books, a portrait at the Metropolitan Museum profoundly influenced and inspired Eric Velasquez. The painting of Juan de Pareja, an accomplished painter, painted by another artist, Diego Velazquez, was a pivotal point in Eric Velasquez's life. Puerto Rican culture and Christmas customs are depicted in scenes of Velasquez's everyday life during his childhood, as well as a glimpse into the past. The story brings to life a time when twenty blocks traveled outside the barrio was nearly an impossible feat, leaving familiarity to a totally different world. This fine story is not just another holiday book; it is a lovely, inspiring story at any time of the year.
          Barb Ward, Ret. Children's Librarian, Dickinson County Library, Iron Mountain, MI

    Waterhouse, Stephen.  GET BUSY THIS CHRISTMAS!  New York: Bloomsburg, 2001.
        24p.  1-58234-802-2; bd. Bk., $6.95    PreS   BB

        Preschoolers can learn about secular holiday activities by watching the antics of a penguin family.  The verbs like sing, buy, wrap, cook, eat, etc. are in capital letters except for the words outside and inside which describe the location of the trees.  This is an acceptable holiday board book.
        Mary Ann Paulin, Director; Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, Michigan

    Weninger, Brigitte.  MERRY CHRISTMAS, DAVY!    Illus by Eve Tharlet.  Trans. by
        Rosemary Lanning.  New York:  Michael Neugebauer/North-South, 1998.  32p.
        1-55858-980-5 hb. $15.95   1-55858-981-3 lib.bdg., $15.88     K-Gr.3      E

        Rabbit children talk about what Santa Claus expects them to do and sharing is one of the approved activities.  So Davy takes food to feed the birds without realizing that his family will not have enough to eat.   The family decides to be frugal until spring.  As a Christmas present, the birds bring a twig with berries and the promise of showing them where the berries grow in the summer; the deer gives a bundle of wheat, the squirrels bring mushrooms, and wild pig brings carrots and apples.. The book, first published in Switzerland, almost leaves the impression that it was written as a religious book but that Santa was inserted for Jesus to make it a secular title.  Nevertheless, the message of sharing is laudable and the messengers are appealing.  Buy it if it fits your needs.
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center

    Wilder, Laura Ingalls.  SANTA COMES TO LITTLE HOUSE.  Illus by Renee Graff.
        New York:  Harper, 2001.  32p.  0-06-025988-8; hb., $15.95   Gr. K-4      E

        This adaptation from THE LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE tells about the family’s Christmas.  The muted illustrations, mostly full-paged and opposite another full page of text, are by an artist who has illustrated other Wilder picture books.  Graff was probably chosen because her illustrations are reminiscent of the original ones by Garth Williams.  For a list of pages and titles of other holiday chapters in Wilder's book that are suitable for reading aloud, check pages 124-31 of Paulin's CREATIVE USES OF CHILDREN'S LITERATURE (Library Professional Publications, 1982.)
        Mary Ann Paulin; Director, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI 49855
      
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