- The Night Before Christmas by Leonard Weisgard
We have several editions of this story, and I hadn't read this one to Miss Muffet on either of her previous two Christmas Eves, so I decided to use it this year. Both girls were present for the story, but I'm not sure either of them listened to the whole thing. It's long for little ones. Still, it's tradition to read it on Christmas Eve, and this version has a nice vintage feel to it.
- The First Noel by Alice and Martin Provensen
I also read this one on Christmas Eve, and I think it's a great introduction to the Christmas story for toddlers. Miss Muffet was not completely attentive to the story, but she enjoyed pointing out familiar things in the illustrations. I want to use this one again next year.
- The Story of Christmas by Felix Hoffman
We have a lot of versions of the Christmas story, and I had originally planned to read them all during the Christmas season, but it became too repetitive, so this wound up being the last one. It wasn't a particular favorite, though I think it is well done.
- Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella by Adrienne Adams
Miss Muffet is really into picture books based on songs, so she wanted to hear this one several times. I like the illustrations and the fact that the music appears along with the words for each verse, and not just on a page at the end of the book.
- They Followed a Bright Star by by Joan Alavedra, Ulises Wensell
My husband got this book out of the library and read it to me and Miss Muffet. It focuses on the people who followed the star, as well as the people who stayed behind to prepare for the arrival of the infant Jesus in different ways. It's on the long side, and I doubt Miss Muffet understood the whole thing, but it would be great for an early elementary audience.
- The Christmas ABC by Florence Johnson, illustrated by Eloise Wilkin
My mom sent us an oversized board book of this story, and I think I want to use it before Christmas next year, as it talks a lot about the preparations leading up to Christmas, as well as the religious significance of Christmas Day itself. Miss Muffet was enamored of the little girl on the front cover and kept flipping back to look at her.
- The Twelve Days of Christmas by LeUyen Pham
LeUyen Pham is one of my favorite illustrators, but this book doesn't have as much to it as some of her others. I like the illustrations later in the book best, mostly because they are not all of birds, and they show many different types of dancers, pipes, and drums. Miss Muffet liked it because it could be sung. I also read this to Little Bo Peep, who had no real reaction.
- Ben's Gingerbread Man by Niki Daly
Apparently I owned this book in childhood, but I don't remember it. The mother in the story has outrageously dated 1980s clothes, but the plot is just right for a two year old. Ben bakes a gingerbread man, and then puts it to bed on an easy chair to keep it safe, only to have his mother sit on it and break it. Then Mum bakes Ben a new gingerbread man. Little Miss Muffet helped make gingerbread men just before Christmas, and it was definitely her favorite part of the entire Christmas experience, so this was probably her favorite book of the list.
- The Huron Carol by Ian Wallace
Another singable book. I had to relearn the tune, since it's not a song I know that well, and that frustrated Miss Muffet, and she didn't really like the pictures that much. She may like this more when she is older and more familiar with the carol itself.
- Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
The rhyming in this book didn't quite work for me, but the premise is clever and fun. Mr. Willowby cuts the top off of his Christmas tree because it's too tall for the parlor. His maid takes the top to her room, but it's too tall for the spot she selected for it, so she discards the top as well. Smaller and smaller pieces of the tree find homes with different characters, until finally even the mice in Mr. Willowby's house have a tree of their own.
- Twinkle Twinkle Little Star by Julia Noonan
This was a late addition to our reading pile, which I found at the library. It's the traditional Twinkle Twinkle Little Star song, illustrated with Christmas-themed paintings. This would be great for a story time. If I happen to do a holiday story time for any reason next year, I'll keep this book in mind.
- I Like Winter by Lois Lenski
I chose this book at the library not realizing that the middle 50% of the story is all about Christmas. This one is also a singable book, but I had a hard time learning the tune. Miss Muffet liked it because it had Santa Claus in it, and also because it is a small book. Lenski did a book like this for each of the four seasons - I'll be looking for the others in the future!
- Asleep in the Stable by Will Hillenbrand
Miss Muffet is really into owls, so when I found this story at the library about an owl and his mother who live in the stable where Jesus is born, I knew we had to have it. As I suspected, Miss Muffet loved it, especially the fact that the owls kept saying, "Whoooo?"
- Small Camel Follows the Star by Rachel W.N. Brown
This was our Epiphany read. Miss Muffet loved it. She was really interested in the camel and thrilled to see Baby Jesus. The story takes some liberties with the Bible story, so I might not want to use it again until we have taught the story as it appears in the Bible, but it was an interesting take on the story of the wise men.
See what we read during Advent 2015 here.