Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Advent Reading

I'm slowly amassing Christmas reading from our library, in preparation for Advent, which starts on Sunday. There is something so delightful about seeing all our old favourites, even if my kids are growing out of some of them.

(Ah, who am I kidding. They've grown out of most of my favourites)

First there was the Rosemary Wells Max series. We found this in print long before we ever saw the (vastly inferior) television program, and while we didn't buy quite all of them, we did get our favourites: Morris's Disappearing Bag, Max's Christmas, Max Cleans Up, Max's Chocolate Chicken, Max's Dragon Shirt (with our very favourite line: "It was a teenager; Max screamed."). I think I have them all memorized by now, along with her other series about the fluffy white MacDuff, a dog that likes sausages and rice pudding and gives very arch looks to babies.

Later we found Mary Calhoun's Henry series, about a Siamese cat that can do the most remarkable things. Max still sits through these. The artwork is gorgeous and evocative and that cat is (dare I admit this without being teased by my friends?) hilarious. Or perhaps you have to be a cat person to really appreciate Henry. He's so, err, like a cat.

Along the way there were Raymond Briggs, Tomie de Paola and Ezra Jack Keats. I still tear up at The Clown of God.

I wrote a post last year about our Christmas reading and listening, which you can reread here. There are a few books there you might like to read with your kids. And if you can bear to sit through our Christmas carol hilarity, here's another old post for you. I'm particularly fond of that one. It shows Max with his "I go to great lengths to humour my mum" game face on. I cling to these moments when he's mired in a BeavisorButthead impersonation, and remember that this too is Just a Phase.

Here are a few books I found today:

Henry the Christmas Cat by Mary Calhoun (manna from heaven for my cat-crazy kids)
The Magic Sleigh by Cynthia and Brian Paterson (this one is for FDPG)
It's Christmas by Jack Prelutsky
The Christmas Rose by Sepp Bauer (this is a great story if you happen to have Hellebores, aka the Christmas Rose in your garden, because they really do bloom at Christmas time)
Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti
The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon (of No, David! fame)
Toot and Puddle: Let It Snow, by Holly Hobbie (for younger kids)
Christmas by Jan Pienkowski (you must see the artwork in this book)
Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs (comic style artwork, very appealing to early readers)

I'd say these are mostly for the younger set, although my 11 year old sat through most of them quite willingly. Now he's off trying to recreate the silhouette artwork from Pienkowski's work.

No comments: