Do you have a favourite Christmas picture book?
I can't decide on one - there are just too many brilliant and beautiful ones. But I keep looking...The range of picture books today, the sheer talent that bursts from the shelves sometimes has my draw dropping. And Christmas brings out some of my favourites.. The playful illustrations, the clever text, the whimsy and romance and fun are all so very heartwarming.
In my past life as a Youth Services librarian I used to eagerly look forward to the weeks before Christmas when I'd start on Christmas themes. As they couldn't be religious, I kept to festive books, and of these books based on the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas quickly took centre stage. Here are some I had to get my own copy of...
The Twelve Days of Christmas: illustrated by Jane Ray
The illustrations in this book seem to me perfection. I'm a big fan of Jane Ray, and this is beautifully done. The colours and details sing to me. Is it sappy of my that I like a tinge of romance even in my picture books? I suppose it is... but I love seeing the true-love appearing in different windows and in the corner of the page through the book... until he appears on the last page on the girl's doorstep with one perfect rose...
(Although someone needs to discuss with True-Love the benefits of discussing pets before presenting them as gifts!)
The Twelve Days of Christmas, Anniversary Edition, A Pop Up Celebration by Robert Sabuda
What can I say? I love this book. I love pop-ups and these blow me away. I've always found pop-ups work especially well for reading to large groups of children... and I love seeing the awe on kids faces when the tree with lights flashing pops-up at the end!
The Twelve Days of Christmas, Written by June Williams, Illustrated by John McIntosh
This one is an Australian version: it begins with the gift of an emu up a gumtree - who is of course stuck, then as the rest of the animals arrive (nine wombats working, eleven numbats nagging) they work together to help the emu get down the tree. Funny and sweet, with a real Aussie flavour.
The 12 Bugs of Christmas A Pop-up-Christmas Counting Book - David A. Carter
This one is an almost guaranteed favourite with kids. Carter, who has also done Birthday Bugs and Bugs in Space, has succeeded with a true crowd winner with The 12 Bugs of Christmas, guaranteed to make kids (and adults) giggle and with some truly amazing pop-ups.