In the past, I’ve focused on the cultural aspect of holidays around the world — including this set of Christmas books. I’ve pulled together books I liked that focus more on the gift-giving aspect of Christmas rather then Santa or — I can’t even imagine presenting this in this area — the Nativity. These are books about gifts and giving, that happen to be at Christmas but aren’t so much about Christmas. I haven’t done research on this in years, so many of them are on the older side. I’d appreciate some new title suggestions to explore. Oh, and I like them too.
My Penguin Osbert, by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Joe gets a penguin for Christmas from Santa after years of misunderstandings, but having a penguin turns out to be a lot of work. This is one of my favorite books for the “be careful what you wish for” message, but it is handled with humor and grace.
Shall I Knit You a Hat? by Kate Klise
A mother rabbit knits a special hat for little rabbit, and together they decide to make some very creative hats for all of their friends. The book mentions Christmas, but otherwise is really focused on the giving aspect. A cute book, sweet and simple, with some humor in the illustrations as hats are made for the variety of animals.
Merry Christmas, Matty Mouse, by Nancy Walker-Guye
A little mouse is heading home from school with six Christmas cookies for his mom. On his way home he runs into some hungry friends and, one by one, gives all but one cookie away. In the end, mom and little mouse share that cookie, and then realize that they have the recipe to make more cookies. They make more and invite all the forest friends. Very sweet book about sharing and being kind.
Okie-Dokie, Artichokie! by Grace Lin
A Monkey gets so mad at his giraffe neighbor below him for being noisy that he stops talking to him. One day, near Christmas, he gets a package meant for the giraffe. He delivers it to Artichoke and finds out that they are ceiling pillows. Artichoke hasn’t been banging the ceiling on purpose, he’s just too tall! A book about gifts and misunderstandings, with a little bit of Christmas thrown in.
The Perfect Present, by Michael Hague
A bunny buys a toy for his sweetie, but it takes off without him. He chases it down the streets and around the town (letting kids look for it in the highly detailed pictures) and then it rolls in a snowball right to his sweeties house. There are Christmas colors and some decorations in the background, but actually only a couple of mentions of Christmas. Hague’s illustrations are amazing.
Jingle Bells, by Nick Butterworth
Two mice are threatened by The Cat. They make Christmas stockings out of glove fingers, but the Cat puts up a note at Christmas saying they went away. They decide to teach cat a lesson, that involves a noisy jingle bell as a present. A twist on the idea of the present, where the present they give the cat is actually much better for the mice.
The Christmas Crocodile, by Bonny Becker
A crocodile is left under the tree at Christmas and he wreaks havoc on the family. There’s a lot more text to this one than many of the other picture books, making it a good choice for classroom reading. Illustrated by David Small and very funny.
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