Books

BOOK REVIEW: Christmas Books for Kids

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“Santa’s Secret” by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Deborah Melmon
c.2019, Sleeping Bear Press
$16.99
32 pages

“The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood” by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, illustrated by Ellen Beier
c.2019, South Dakota Historical Society Press
$9.95
32 pages

“A Very Fiona Christmas” by Richard Cowdrey
c.2019, ZonderKids
$17.99
32 pages

“How Winston Delivered Christmas” by Alex T. Smith
c.2019, Silver Dolphin
$17.99
176 pages

You better watch out.

By now, you know why. You need to be especially good because it’s Christmas and because it’s also a time to be kind and generous. So why not share these great holiday books with someone you love?

You might have noticed that there are a lot of Santas! In “Santa’s Secret” by Denise Brennan-Nelson, illustrated by Deborah Melmon, a “sleuth” notices, and she aims to get to the bottom of why. With help from Grandma and a little magic, she learns that even Santa needs his helpers this time of year.

You know what you want for Christmas, but what do you need? Is it still fun to open presents when you know they’re full of clothes? If it was cold outside and you’d outgrown your things — as in “The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood” by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, illustrated by Ellen Beier — you know which you’d choose.

Eddie needed new boots. Virginia needed a new coat, too, but they knew the rules: as the children of the village’s Episcopal priest, they got last pick when the boxes came from the folks back east to the children on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation. In this classic book, rereleased for a new audience, it was time for a little Christmas magic…

Chances are, you know what Christmas is — or do you? In “A Very Fiona Christmas” by Richard Cowdrey, the Cincinnati Zoo’s most famous hippo is celebrating her first Christmas season. Fiona’s ready to have fun in the snow with her friends; she absolutely loves seeing shiny, flashy, decorations; and she’s eager to learn about Christmas but she doesn’t quite understand it. What is Christmas, anyhow? Where can she learn the answer? If you love seeing Fiona online, this is a book you’re going to love, too.

Finally, if your family observes Advent, then make a new tradition with “How Winston Delivered Christmas” by Alex Smith.

When Oliver puts his letter to Santa in the mailbox, he hopes that Santa will pay close attention to what’s in it. But the letter escapes, and it’s found by a small mouse named Winston, who knows that if it doesn’t get to Santa on time, one little boy will be disappointed on Christmas morning. That can’t happen, so Winston decides to go to the North Pole, where he can personally give Oliver’s letter to the Jolly Old Elf himself.

This book makes a perfect countdown to Christmas, with stories for every day of Advent as well as activities your child can enjoy. Also included: end pages with more classic Christmas favorites, songs, poems, and reminders for next year.

“Santa’s Secret” and “A Very Fiona Christmas” are both excellent new holiday books for preschoolers ages 2 to 6. “How Winston Delivered Christmas” is good for kids up to age 9, especially if they’re still believers. Children up to age 12 will enjoy “The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood.” And parents will love all these holiday books, so watch out for them.

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