Monday, November 30, 2009

Jingling Bells!

It's not quite December, but the Christmas season is already jingling in at my house. My husband loves Christmas and I'm doing good to get him to wait until December to start the Christmas carols. He plays them in his truck year round, but I make him wait in the house!

Our "stereo system" is a single CD player. We haven't mastered the whole ipod thing yet. The CD he puts in in the morning generally plays all day. Christmas CDs tend to be short, so by evening I've heard the same songs over and over all day. My patience for Frosty the Snowman wears thin and silence feels comfortable.

Picture books can be like that, too. My kids wanted the same ones over and over again. I can still quote the first few pages of Daisy Dog, a Little Golden book that my firstborn loved. That doesn't mean I loved reading it, though. For a picture book to stand constant re-reading, it needs to delight the reader, as well as the listener. It needs a theme that touches the heart. It needs rhythm, even if it's prose. It needs characters you love to come back to, again and again. Not an easy task.

One of my favorite Christmas picture books is Patricia Polacco's The Christmas Tapestry. I've read it many times and it never grows old. Of course, I'm a sap for a happy ending, and this one certainly delivers. A lovely blending of two families who celebrate both the Jewish and Christian heritage in the holiday season.

I highly recommend this one for reading aloud during the Christmas season.

For pure fun, you just can't beat Dori Chaconas' When the Cows Come Home for Christmas. Chaconas is a master of rhythm and rhyme. A delightful twist at the ends makes this one a keeper for Christmas story time.

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