Dec 10, 2011

Christmas Picture Book Round-Up

A round-up of new Christmas-themed books out this Fall 2011.

'Tis the season, after all.

The Third Gift
by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
9780547201955, Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), $16.99


From two extraordinary talents, a beautifully crafted picture book for the Christmas season.

The three wise men, or the three kings, are familiar figures in the Christmas tradition. Newbery medalist Linda Sue Park has taken the brief biblical references to the three as the starting point for a new story. In it we meet a boy who is learning his father’s trade; a man who gathers resin from certain trees; a merchant in the marketplace; and three strangers in brightly colored robes who are shopping for a gift for a baby. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline with exquisite paintings, this simple, moving tale of ordinary people involved in an extraordinary event brings new resonance to the well-known gift list of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas
by Elise Primavera
9780547576794, Sandpiper (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), $7.99

It’s getting toward Christmas at the Bing Cherry Hotel, and Auntie Claus is preparing for her annual "business trip." Just before she is ready to leave, her favorite nephew, Christopher Kringle, begins to have doubts about the family business. Chris decides to take matters into his own hands: He plans to get on the Bad-Boys-and-Girls List on purpose! Even after his older sister, Sophie, reveals that their great-aunt, Auntie Claus, is really Santa’s sister, Chris needs to see for himself, in order to believe.

Follow the Star: A Pop-Up Christmas Journey
by Andy Mansfield
9781452103587, Chronicle Books, $19.99

Open this elegant pop-up book and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas! Lyrical words describe how the Star of Bethlehem lit the sky over the first Christmas, and how it shines still today: as families gather, as gifts are given, as we celebrate our love for one another, and as we wish for peace and joy for the world. The beautiful diorama-style format invites the reader to follow the star that shines every year during this special season, all over the world, in our homes and hearts.

The Story of Christmas 
Text based on the King James version, illustrated by Pamela Dalton
9781452104706, Chronicle, $17.99

Pamela Dalton s exquisite, intricate scissor-cut illustrations wonderfully illuminate The Story of Christmas. Deeply reverent, richly detailed, and teeming with life, Dalton s images follow the story of the Nativity from the appearance of the Angel, to the shepherds who came from the fields, and to the three wise men who followed the star to pay respect for their new king. Working in a Pennsylvania-German folk-art tradition, rich with lovingly rendered animals and figures, Pamela Dalton has created a book that takes a deserved place among the finest celebrations of Christmas.

Over the River and Through the Wood
by L. Maria Child, illustrated by Matt Tavares
9780763627904, Candlewick, $16.99

Matt Tavares's lavish illustrations illuminate this definitive edition of a beloved seasonal classic.

The horse is ready, the air is bracing, and everyone is bundled into the sleigh. So let the wind blow and the snow start to fall! This family is off to Grandfather's house for a delicious feast. Matt Tavares, with his keen eye for detail, fresh and surprising perspectives, and all the warmth and coziness of a big holiday dinner, illuminates the original text of Lydia Maria Child's verse about Thanksgiving Day, which has marked the start of the holiday season for generations of children.

Santa's On His Way: A Changing-Picture Book
by Ruth Martin, illustrated by Sophy Williams
9780763655556, Templar (Candlewick), $12.99

In the week before Christmas, Santa has so much to do!

Watch Santa and his elves as they make all the presents, groom the reindeer, and prepare for their most important night of the year -- Christmas Eve. With tabs to pull to change the pictures, readers can watch them get everything ready day-by-day, until finally Santa's sleigh takes off into the sky on Christmas Eve.

A Christmas Tree for Pyn
by Olivier Dunrea
9780399245060, Penguin, $16.99

Christmas is coming. In the craggy rocks on the snowy mountainside, tiny Pyn has her heart set on decorating her very first Christmas tree. But, "No Christmas tree," Papa says. Still, Pyn won't take no for an answer. She knows that a Christmas tree is just the thing their cottage needs to make the season festive and cheery. Pyn is determined to find the perfect Christmas tree - no matter what. With this story of the love between a father and daughter, Olivier Dunrea captures the true spirit of Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas
by Laurel Long
9780803733572, Penguin, $16.99

The astounding talent of Laurel Long brings this beloved song to life with breathtaking style. Set against a lush countryside, each day brings a new gift elegantly rendered. And like in the verses of the song, the previous gifts are repeated in every illustration, giving this striking artwork a hidden aspect, culminating in a staggering spread featuring them all. Readers will pore over every page, searching for golden rings, turtledoves, and all the rest, secretly tucked into each stunning painting. Laurel Long's unparalleled style makes this exquisite volume a treasure that will be cherished for years to come.

The Scrawny Little Tree
by Ed Mehler, illustrated by Susie Pollard
9780843198607, Penguin, $6.99

Originally published in 1973, The Scrawny Little Tree tells of a destitute little boy who has always wanted a Christmas tree. He finally has saved enough to buy a little tree all his own, one with scrawny limbs and very few needles. But the boy's love for his first Christmas tree is not affected by its diminuitive stature. His love and the magic of Christmas combine to make a strange and wonderful thing happen to the town . . . Told in rhyme and with retro illustrations, The Scrawny Little Tree is sure to become a favorite holiday tale!

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