Treasures of the Snow

One of my favorite stories from childhood is Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John. This is a sweet, difficult story of families living on a mountain in French-speaking Switzerland. Hard feelings and frustrations lead to an unforgettable and unforgivable accident. How the two families, especially the children, work through the ramifications of the... Continue Reading →

Uncle Vova’s Tree

I am continually in awe of author Patricia Polacco's childhood. She must have grown up in a family rich in storytellers, because many of her picture books come from her own experiences, or family history. Uncle Vova's Tree is one such book. Some of her ancestors came from Russia, and celebrated the Russian Orthodox Christmas... Continue Reading →

Maria: A Christmas Story

The whole town of San Lorenzo is preparing for the annual Christmas parade.  Eleven-year-old Maria Gonzaga listens longingly to her friends' plans for their floats.  Their families are hiring designers to create breath-taking floats - and Maria longs to participate. But San Lorenzo's parade has long been for the wealthy Anglo ranchers, not the Mexican-Americans.... Continue Reading →

Kris Kringle’s Magic

Just how did Kris Kringle (aka Santa Claus) meet Mrs. Kringle (aka Mrs. Claus)?  How did he get started on his Christmas Eve tour? Diane Stringam Tolley gives her answers to these questions in Kris Kringle's Magic: The Story of a Boy Who Became a Legend. Rebecca, Mrs. Claus, tells the story of how a... Continue Reading →

Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker

If you're a fan of Mary Engelbreit's artwork, you'll really enjoy her book Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker. Engelbreit summarizes the story line of the famous ballet into a book format, lavishly illustrated in Engelbreit's signature style. If you plan to take a child to see The Nutcracker ballet this holiday season, this is a great way... Continue Reading →

Lemony Snicket Christmas Books

It does seem odd putting "Lemony Snicket" and "Christmas Books" together in a title. Snicket is best known for his children's book series A Series of Unfortunate Events - books which I tried reading.  However, I could not enjoy them because they were so depressing. So what inspired me to pick up Lemony Snicket's Christmas... Continue Reading →

Olive the Other Reindeer

Do you remember when Ramona Quimby (from author Beverly Cleary) suggested to her father that he turn on the "dawnzer light"?  Her family laughed so hard because she misunderstood the words to the national anthem - "by the dawn's early light." Olive, the dog, has a similar problem. As she walks through town during the... Continue Reading →

Great Joy

Kate DiCamillo, the author who brought us Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tiger Rising, and other great books, has now ventured into the picture book category. And nailed it. Great Joy tells the story of Frances, who is greatly concerned for the monkey and an organ grinder, who appears on the street below her apartment. She... Continue Reading →

The Peterkins’ Christmas

The Peterkins were a large family who lived long ago. They had a good friend, whom they called "The Lady from Philadelphia," whose kindness and wisdom often saved the family from disaster when their silliness got out of hand. Often, but not always. And the Peterkins' silliness makes for some delightful stories. (You can read... Continue Reading →

The True Gift

In The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan, Lily and Liam are glad to be at their grandparents' farm, preparing for Christmas.  They are looking forward to reading lots of books, visiting the "lilac library" in town, and baking Christmas cookies. But then Liam spots the White Cow in the meadow at Gran and Grandpa's farm. ... Continue Reading →

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