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Christmas Selections from Our Town Library

As Advent is shortly around the corner I’ve been opening our Advent/Christmas book boxes and re-discovering old friends.  Many I have already shared at Aussie Book Threads and I have many more to share with you yet.   I thought for this post though, I’d share ones I borrow yearly from our local library.  Mmm must reserve before all my local friends click away;)

Stephen’s Feast – Jean Richardson 
A young page, Stephen travels with King Wenceslas in the cold and snow to take wood and food to a poor man’s dwelling by St Agnes’ fountain. The young thoughtless page is inspired to be more generous.  Based on the carol. We read on the Feast of St Wenceslas, December the 28th.

Very well written with beautiful pictures. One I’d like to add to our collection. 5 Star

Three Kings – Kurt Baumann 
A traveling lute player and a story teller meet, in the harsh winter they journey to the King’s Palace seeking refuge. They  find no welcome. They then journey with the King to visit a baby in a stable.
Pictures rather dull, 3 Star


The Nativity Story – Geraldine McCaughrean
The complete gospel stories of the Nativity; beginning  with Zechariah, Elizabeth, John; Mary and Joseph, the journey to Bethlehem, Shepherds in the field, the Stable tableau and the arrival of the three wise men.  It is a long book but covers all the Nativity gospel stories.
Another I would like to add to our collection. 5 Star

Great Joy – Kate DiCamillo
Set in snowy New York a young girl is moved by the plight of organ grinder and monkey out in the bitter cold.  She invites them to dinner and then to her Christmas Play.  A lovely story with rich illustrations. My children love this story. 4 star

Silent Night – Thomas Kinkade
The words of the traditional hymn, with bright pictures of a crisp New England feel.  3 Star

The Fourth Wise Man – Mary Joslin 

A lovely story of the fourth wise man seeking his way to Bethlehem.  Covers the symbolism of the gifts.  Bright pictures, another we would love for our collection.  5 Star

This is the Stable – Cynthia Cotten
Rhyming simple text with basic pictures. A sweet story but a bit ordinary. “This is the stable dusty and brown in a quite corner of Bethlehem town.” 3 Star

The Little Drummer Mouse – Mercer Mayer
The animals of the forest welcome the baby King, the mouse plays his acorn drum.  Fair length, busy pictures. 4 Star

Little One We Knew You’d Come – Sally Lyold -Jones

Pictures have beautiful gold edging but too angular for my taste.
I also found the text rather boring and repetitious. 2 Star

The Animals’ Christmas Carol – Helen Ward

A French Carol. ” In a darkening sky a star shone bright over Bethlehem one winter’s night, all the animals were present.”

Warm pictures, lovely text, a favourite each year. 5 Star

Father and Son – Geraldine McCaughrean

Long after the Star has set there was one person still awake in the dark stable watching over a sleeping babe. “Mine but not mine. How can I teach Him His words and letters: He who strung the alphabet together?”
Love the pictures and text, want to add to our collection! 5 Star

While Shepherds Watched – Jenni Fleetwood

Shepherd boy takes his lamb to see Baby Jesus.  Pictures are textual, story plot is passable but not that exciting. 3 Star

The Snow Angel – Christie Leeson

Two mice are playing on Christmas morning and see an Angel(goose) swoop, flutter and tumble to the ground. What can they do to help? Sweet story. 3 star

On this Special Night – Claire Freedman 

Written from the kitten’s viewpoint in the Stable with lots of animals.  Beautiful, warm, light pictures. 4 Star

Room for a Little One – Martin Waddell 
“That cold winters’ night a Little One came into the world with animals watching.” Simple text, warm pictures, a yearly favourite. 5 Star

Pashmina the little Christmas Goat – Anglea Kehlenbeck 

A hungry family finds a goat, they can’t bring themselves to eat it.  The goat gives them hair to sell. Soft pictures.  The story really didn’t really appeal.  3 Star

For Older Readers
The Christmas Mystery – Jostein Gaarder
A chapter book to read for each day of Advent.  Set in present-day Norway,  Joachim, a young boy finds a faded, handmade Advent calendar in a bookstore on the eve of December first, and begs his father to let him take it home. The next morning, when he opens the calendar’s first door, Joachim discovers not just the expected picture but also a tightly folded piece of paper, the first installment of the fantastic tale of a little girl’s journey through time and space to be present at the Nativity. Soon the girl’s story is making unexpected intrusions into Joachim’s own life, and he races to solve the mystery of the calendar before Christmas Eve.

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  • Eva

    Hello Erin, I'm just looking at your list again and checking my library to see what is available there. Have you ever tried Gaarder's book "The Christmas Mystery"? I didn't see your rating there. I do like his book "Sophie's World."

  • Erin

    We've borrowed the book for the first time so only just reading it this Advent, haven't decided on a rating yet. Not sure that it will rate a 5 from me but maybe a 3-4.

  • Eva

    Thanks, Erin. My two older children are reading it right now, they seem to like it, but I haven't had a chance to take a more thorough look. My mom used the German version in her classroom (4th grade). She shortened the stories a bit and used it then to teach some geography in addition to the advent preparation.

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