Welcome to the Twelve Reviews of Christmas for 2013! For the first twelve days of December, I will post a review of a Christmas book that you and your family might enjoy. Some will be secular, and some will be religious; some will be for infants, and some will be for older readers. It is my hope that, over the course of the twelve days, you will find just the right Christmas book for your child to help make this season bright!
This very basic board book is a good start for the youngest readers as we start off this year’s Christmas season and the Twelve Reviews of Christmas for 2013!
The watercolor and pencil illustrations show first an object in nature, like a mouse, squirrel, or snow, then a Christmas ornament equivalent hanging from the branch of a tree. The first item, the real thing, is shown in a scene as though a photograph was taken and pasted into a scrapbook and a colorful, scalloped border applied. The ornament is shown on a sunny yellow background (revealed to be the walls inside the living room of the home where the tree is located). The images are kind of folksy and almost look like they have some fabric collage elements in addition to the pencil and watercolor. Almost every spread first has a single word (“Bird,” “Squirrel,” etc.) with the image in the nature scene then the phrase “[Item] in the tree” along with the ornament illustration. The second to last illustration shows a group of happy children in a bright yellow room with a crackling fire, stockings, cocoa, gifts, and the fully decorated tree (with each of the ornaments already introduced), and the final page shows them outside of the house (with the Christmas tree visible through a window) in the snow with the longest text of the book: “Pretty tree,/Sparkling bright./Christmas Eve—/Is it tonight?”
BoyChild’s Reaction: BoyChild is two and a half, and this book is recommended for ages 1-3–it was perfect for him! He actually caught on very quickly to the text pattern and was soon basically predicting what each page said. (For instance, he saw the bird illustration and said, “Bird. Bird in tree!” without prompting.) Some words he doesn’t yet know–sleds weren’t very common in mostly warm Texas!–but this book is a great introduction to that winter and Christmas vocabulary that will help him make sense of all that’s going on while we get started decorating this Christmas (and now that we’re in a winter wonderland kind of state)!