So perhaps these reviews are a bit early. But my guess is that some of you have already added a favorite Christmas album to your iPod and have been sneakily listening to it in the car and on your morning runs. So, let’s just be brave and admit that we’re ready for the season of Christmas, yes?
Perhaps you’ve read these classic Christmas stories, but in case you haven’t, read on, friend!
The first is the The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. When a new man moves to town and starts working in an old storefront, Lucy, a curious and brave little lady, decides to approach the man’s shop to find out what he’s doing and asks if she can help. He puts her to work and together they are able to prepare the town for a really fantastic store and deliver the good news with a very special candy. While the illustrations are a teensy bit old-fashioned, the story is absolutely not and keeps kids attention to the very last word.
I have the board book edition, which I surprisingly prefer to the hardback. Perhaps because Little Anaya is such a wrecker, I’ve begun to value things that are indestructible.
The other one is The Legend of St. Nicholas: A Story of Christmas Giving by Dandi Daley Mackall. In it, a little boy named Nick, who is obviously a typical kid who wants things for himself more than he wants to give to other, overhears Santa telling the story of St. Nick (which is his real name). We learn that St. Nick is a man who was left a lot of money when his parents died, and decided to use that money to buy others’ gifts to make their material wishes come true.
So anyone who knows us knows that we’re slightly or more than slightly uncomfortable with the connection between Christmas and giving presents. While I appreciate the encouragement for kids to move from the “getting” to the “giving” attitude that this book highlights (and the bit of historical fiction it shares), I’m not a huge fan of reading books like this to the kids as a “feel good” story. Instead, I could maybe see reading it to start a conversation about how the idea of Santa got started, or even to discuss the importance of giving to others around the world who are in true need. But let’s not pretend that St. Nick and present day Santa are anything alike :). However, if you are into the Santa thing and want to go that route, you’ll probably like this book. It’s well written and a good story about focusing on giving instead of receiving.
Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for these complementary copies in exchange for my honest opinions!
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