Picture Book Friends at Christmas
There can be more than a little cynicism around media companies pumping out favourite character brands to link with annual events. However, there are some much-loved characters in Christmas picture books where quality is not compromised. Here are some of my favourites:
Mog’s Christmas – Judith Kerr
This book is loved so much in my house that my children request it all year round. Poor Mog gets overwhelmed and confused by all the Christmas decorations and preparations. Since reading Mog’s Christmas (published by Harper Collins Children’s Books), I have never looked at my cats in quite the same way. They think just like Mog when the Christmas tree arrives.
Spot’s First Christmas – Eric Hill
Spot must be one of the best-loved picture books in the world. Babies and toddlers are drawn to the simple graphic style and familiar story themes. Eric Hill died earlier this year and it is fitting to think my family and I will be celebrating his beloved dog this Christmas.
Alfie’s Christmas – Shirley Hughes
It’s Alfie, it’s Shirley Hughes and it’s Christmas. That says it all – delightful! (Published by Red Fox Picture Books)
Maisy’s Snowy Christmas Eve – Lucy Cousins
There’s a point between the ages of 1-3 where Maisy is just adored. If your child is having a Maisy moment, then there are quite a few Maisy Christmas picture books to choose from. Maisy’s Snowy Christmas Eve (published by Candlewick Press) is my favourite. Poor Eddie the elephant gets stuck in the snow. Who will find him and how will they get him out?
Dear Santa – Rod Campbell
Following the successful formula of the popular lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo (published by Macmillan Children’s Books), it makes sense that a Christmas-themed picture book would follow. And it doesn’t disappoint. Lift up the present flaps to see what gift Santa has given. Some presents are too noisy, some too messy. But the last one is purrrfect! (Can you guess what it is?)
The Jolly Christmas Postman – Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The work of Janet and Allan Ahlberg should form the basis of any child’s picture book experience. Having recently finished the topic of People Who Help Us in my toddler Reading Fairy classes, I introduced parents to the story of The Jolly Postman. This story (published by Puffin Books) sees the Jolly Postman delivering letters to fairy-tale characters on Christmas Eve. A lovely one to share!
Pip and Posy: The Snowy Day – Axel Scheffler
Pip and Posy are the character creation of Axel Scheffler – the illustrator behind The Grufflo. Published by this year’s multiple award-winning publishing house Nosy Crow, the lively and humorous illustrations appeal to young children. For Christmas, Pip and Posy: The Snowy Day is a tale of the friends wanting to build a snow creature. One wants a snow-mouse the other a snow-rabbit. An argument erupts and the two have to resolve their differences. Happily for Pip and Posy, they do.
Lighthouse Keeper’s Christmas – Ronda and David Armitage
I’ve been reading the Lighthouse Keeper books (published by Scholastic Press) to my eldest son since he was nearly three-years-old. This book explores the consequences of Mr Grinling, the Lighthouse Keeper, and his great-nephew, George getting stranded in the Lighthouse during a big storm. But it’s Christmas Eve. How will Father Christmas know where to bring George’s presents? And how will they get their Christmas dinner?
Stick Man – Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler
I haven’t mentioned The Gruffalo in my collection because it is such a well-known and much-loved Christmas picture book already. Interestingly, my favourite Christmas picture book character by this creative duo is Stick Man (published by Alison Green Books). This is a dramatic tale of Stick Man who becomes lost from his home in a tree and his Stick-family. Various adventures ensue with dangerous consequences. This is a magical story with a heart-warming ending. Luckily, Santa re-unites Stick Man with his family just in time for Christmas day.