25 Reads of Xmas #18

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

Academics and curious readers alike will enjoy this week’s fascinating nonfiction read.

If you’re a fan of church history, Christmas past, or just little nuggets of music knowledge, this is the book for you. Ever wondered what wassail is from the song Here We Come a-Wassailing? And why do we sing an ode to the Christmas tree, with all of its glorious green branches, colorful lights, and urging folks to remember the spirit of the season? The stories behind these and other classic holiday songs are explored in detail. From their roots in ancient Christian history to their more popularized status in modern-day culture, this is the exploration of Christmas songs you’ve been waiting for.

Andrew Gant crafts one of the most interesting nonfiction holiday reads I’ve been privileged to pick up in a while. The Carols o f Christmas: A Celebration of the Surprising Stories is a treasure, especially for those with an interest in learning a little more this holiday season or just are struggling to find the perfect gift for the music-lover in their life. I highly recommend you pick this read at least once.

Advertisements
Posted in Kid's Lit, Kids Nonfic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

25 Reads of Xmas #17

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

For fans of the original film, this Tokyopop version of the classic will be a new treasure.

In this version, the story is as you remember. Halloween Town is a spooky land where the citizens to their best to craft a perfect holiday every October 31st. The resident head honcho, Jack the Pumpkin King, is tired of the exhaustive repetition and he’s not the only one. Sally, the mad doctor’s creation and our narrator in this version, watches as the one she longs for pines away – that is until he finds the mysterious Christmas town. Suddenly, he is enthusiastic and on fire once more, though Sally can’t be enthusiastic. Jack’s happiness is important to her, but so is the good of Halloween town, which seems dangerously on the edge of being lost. Can Sally rescue Sandy Claws before Christmas is ruined, even at the hands of the one she cares about most?

What I like about this version, besides the fact that it is a different visual style and framing, is that the story is told mostly from Sally’s perspective. Scenes get switched up a little and re-worked slightly so that they can be more from her view than anyone else’s.

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

25 Reads of Xmas #16

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

Looking for a more Bible-based Christmas tale? Told through the eyes of the animals who witnessed parts of the Nativity story, this is one of the most unique versions of the Christmas tale that you’ve never seen before.

It is a normal day for Ima, the goat, and Lila, the shepherd’s dog. They’re the caretakers of their master’s flock. Lila and Ima are the best of friends and they take pride in doing their job well, but this season as the weather grows colder, something else is afoot. A star has appeared in the sky and with it come all hosts of visitors: angels, men from the East, and nasty merchants who want to cook Ima up for dinner. Together, Ima and Lila will come out of this experience a little wiser and touched by a holy spirit unlike any other.

Certain Poor Shepherds is an one of the better crafted books that I’ve read this season. It definitely has an interesting premise, following the tale of two animals guarding a local shepherd’s flock who witness different pieces of the Christmas story. Authoress Elizabeth Marshall Thomas does an excellent job of following the separate tales of the goat, Ima, and the sheepdog, Lila. I recommend this read, especially if you are a family looking for faith-based works this holiday season.

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

25 Reads of Xmas #15

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

Ollie loves his job at the North Pole, working in the Games & Puzzles Department of the workshop. And he loves his best friend, Celia. And he loves the North Pole. Ollie pretty much loves everything about his life right now and he’d never want anything to change. That’s why he’s so alarmed when he finds out that Santa Claus is planning to retire – and he’s leaving the entirety of the North Pole to whoever can win his specially arranged challenges. Suddenly Ollie finds himself plunged straight into a race for the position of head honcho, along with BFF Celia, the three Claus children, and a host of other fellow workers. Can he win the position of Santa Claus? And if he can’t, in whose hands does the fate of the North Pole lie?

Caleb Zane Huett crafts a rollicking adventure sprinkled with good humor and Christmas cheer all around. The characters are likeable and Huett does an excellent job of writing an original story that can be enjoyed by children of all ages. If you’ve ever wondered what kind of mischief is gotten into up at the North Pole, this is the book for you.

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

25 Reads of Xmas #14

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

Christmas is fairly big in Greentree. Scratch that, Christmas in Greentree isn’t fairly big; it’s downright humongous. But even with all of the carols, lights, and holiday treats floating around, the last thing Nick Dashaway is thinking about involves the holiday season. Instead, he’s more concerned about his life, which is in desparate need of a jumpstart. If he’s ever going to get out of loserville, Nick’s got to get the attention of every kid at Greentree Middle School – and the upcoming talent show seems just like the right time to do it. He’s been practicing, but when the big moment comes the only thing he can do is take a deep breath and make a wish. Too bad Nick hasn’t been paying attention to the Christmas stories. Wishes are powerful in Greentree – and Christmas wishes are even more so.

Colorful, clever, and laugh-out-loud hilarious, Five Days of Famous is a unique Christmas tale that will entertain the whole holiday through.

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Reading

Just as a quick aside from our 25 Reads of Xmas series, today I’m posting a list of all the books we read from last holiday season. These Christmas picks are perfect for younger readers who aren’t ready to challenge the bigger books of 25 Reads of Xmas, so if you’re looking for some reading you can do with all of your littles, I advise checking out this list of reviews!

The Christmas HatTis the Season Day 1

If You Take a Mouse to the MoviesTis the Season Day 2

Missile ToeTis the Season Day 3

The Biggest Smallest Christmas PresentTis the Season Day 4

The Day Santa Stopped Believing in HaroldTis the Season Day 5

The Christmas Tale of Peter RabbitTis the Season Day 6

Mrs. Claus Takes a VacationTis the Season Day 7

Welcome ComfortTis the Season Day 8

Norman Rockwell’s Deck the HallsTis the Season Day 9

Captain Bling’s Christmas PlunderTis the Season Day 10

The Twelve Sleighs of ChristmasTis the Season Day 11

Samurai SantaTis the Season Day 12

The All-I’ll-Ever-Want-for-ChristmasTis the Season Day 13

Christmas in the MorningTis the Season Day 14

The Nutcracker in AmericaTis the Season Day 15

The Christmas Coal ManTis the Season Day 16

Rocking Horse ChristmasTis the Season Day 17

The Third GiftTis the Season Day 18

Rudolph the Red-Nosed ReindeerTis the Season Day 19

Rudolph Shines AgainTis the Season Day 20

The Legend of Papa NoelTis the Season Day 21

How Santa Lost His JobTis the Season Day 22

The Christmas ThingamajigTis the Season Day 23

My Penguin OsbertTis the Season Day 24

Twas the Day Before ChristmasTis the Season Day 25

Tell me in the comments about all the fun that you and your younger kids have/had reading through these and other wonderful Christmas books!

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

25 Reads of Xmas #13

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

Ballet fans will flock to this entertaining tale that introduces a new sort of Nutcracker tale.

All Georgie wants is for her and her best friend Kaitlyn to become the next Claras in their local production of the Nutcracker. When the final audition comes up, Georgie is prepared to dance her best with Mrs. Cavanaugh’s precious nutcracker. What she discovers instead is a magical world where the nutcracker isn’t just a simple ballet, but is instead a fantastic reality and the further into December practices she gets, the more the magical world keeps invading her normal life. Georgie finds herself transported to the enchanted land more and more. The nutcracker story is real and it’s invading not only her life, but also the lives of her friends and everyone around her. If Georgie, her BFF Kaitlyn, and new friend Noah don’t do something fast the Nutcracker ballet and regular life might be ruined forever.

Susan Adrian weaves a brilliant narrative that sparkles with creativity and life.  It’s an entertaining read that begs to be read over and over. Ballerina nuts will get a kick out of this tale and Nutcracker fans will find themselves enthralled by this imaginative take on a classic. I highly recommend you pick up Nutcracked for a wonderful time!

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

25 Reads of Xmas #12

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

If you’ve ever wondered where some of the greatest holiday traditions come from, Ace Collins’ insightful read will provide an entertaining look into some of the things most integral to Christmas. Why are poinsettias an integral part of the holiday? Why do we kiss under mistletoe? What is the significance of the colors red and green? With precise language and a sharp-witted eye, Ace Collins explores the impact Judeo-Christian values have had on our version of Christmas as well as how the holiday’s evolved from its previous incarnations.

Great for scholars of all kinds or just those who are looking to win a couple rounds of Christmas jeopardy, Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas is a must read.

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lock and Key: The Final Step

We interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you a very special book review, brought to you by the generous folks at Harper Collins.

You all may remember that I am slightly enamored with Ridley Pearson’s writing. Time and time again, Pearson has proved that he is adept at crafting unique stories with interesting twists.

In the final installation of the Lock and Key series, we pick up a few months after the end of Downward Spiral. Moria and James are still wrapped up in the mystery that they were first plunged into in The Intitiation. The plot begins immediately, plunging us deep into mystery with the death of a significant figure in the Moriarty’s siblings lives. During a rather perilous game of Capture the Flag, James and former friend Lexie come across a dying confidante from the Brotherhood of Scowerers. Forced to work together, James and Lexie will have to investigate who is the murderer, even as Moria struggles to penetrate her brother’s mysterious shroud to discover more about their family secrets. This thrilling conclusion draws all old friends, like Sherlock, and new friends, like Lexie, into the ever-tightening spiral of peril as the Moriarty siblings must face their destiny and past all at once – leaving only one question left: what really happened to James Keynan Moriarty?

You guys, I just cannot explain how fast I went through this book. When cracking the covers of Initiation, I was super eager. Given the fact that I tore through the last two, I could not wait to read this.

So.

You may be wondering what I thought? The results of my deep and extensive read-through? This book blew my mind. I did not expect the series to take this turn at all (no spoilers though!) The storyline is fresh, it’s exciting, and the pacing really drives home, although that may just have to do with the fact that I was so eager to read. The characters with the most development in this novel are James and Lexie, with Moria taking more of a backseat as the main character and instead stepping into the place of narrator. Honestly, if I had a single criticism, it’s that I didn’t get enough time with Sherlock and Moria, who have quickly become some of my favorite literary characters, especially when playing off of each other of James. Still, this was an excellent, excellent read.

A huge thanks should go to Harper Collins, as they were not only gracious enough to send me The Final Step, but also sent me the first two books along with a spy kit. I was so grateful to receive this entire package and I cannot tell you how much fun it was to look through all of these items. If you’re struggling to find anything for your kids this holiday season, you might want to take a look at picking up this series and a spy kit just like this one. It’s definitely a great series to read through no matter when you pick it up and I highly recommend you pick it up!

(Oh, and Ridley Pearson, if you’re reading this…more please!)

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

25 Reads of Xmas #11

Every day in December leading up to Christmas we’ll be reading a book to enjoy the season. Join us as we enjoy seasonal reads that are perfect to celebrate the holidays!

Looking for a heartwarming book? This sweet and simple read is written by the Newberry Medal winner of Sarah, Plain and Tall.

Lily and Liam cannot wait to get to their grandparents’ farm where they can read to their hearts’ content and enjoy the holiday together. Lily is especially looking forward to the holiday and all the traditions that go with it. But when Liam finds out that their grandparents’ sow isn’t doing well, he’s determined to make White Cow feel better. Lily hates the fact that her brother’s ruining Christmas, but she realizes the longer she stays, the worse White Cow gets. There’s no denying the fact that White Cow needs a cure soon. The only problem is finding one before Christmas and their return home!

Patricia MachLachlan spins a delightful tale that is at turns charming and heartwarming. It’s a Christmas story that will inspire generosity and kindness this holiday season.

Posted in Kid's Lit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment