What We’re Reading: I Love Christmas and Max’s Christmas

It is Wednesday again, and we have two quick Christmas-themed book recommendations today.

Baby and Toddler

from Catherine (Adventures with Kids)

I Love Christmas by Anna Walker

“My name is Ollie.
I love Christmas.”

ilovechristmasThis is a simple and charming story that describes what Ollie the zebra loves about Christmas – some of the things he loves are baking Christmas cake, watching Christmas lights and listening for Santa’s sleigh bells.  I Love Christmas has rhyming text and beautiful watercolour illustrations sure to catch your child’s eye.

This book provides a perfect chance to talk about the simple pleasures of Christmas.  You could complement the book by making a small album with photos of your child enjoying Christmas.


from Megan (Simple Kids)

maxschristmasIn this family, we are huge fans of Rosemary Wells.  The Max and Ruby series of books are amongst the most-loved and often-read in our home library.  Our preschooler can recite from memory most every one of the classic stories written and illustrated by Wells.  It’s no surprise then that one of our family’s favorite Christmas books is Max’s Christmas.

Originally published in 1986, Max’s Christmas marked Wells’s transition from board books to picture books.  (You can read more about her writing career here.)  I love that the charming illustrations reflect the earliest visions Wells had for Max and Ruby.  This book was published long before the books inspired the animated series, and both the illustrations and simple text are truly vintage Rosemary Wells.

The plot line here is simple: Ruby helps Max prepare for bed on Christmas Eve.  Max has many, many questions for Ruby, and even the ever-patient Ruby resorts to “BECAUSE!” for an explanation.  My girls find the teeth-brushing scene particularly giggle-inducing, especially the part where Ruby has to remind Max to “Spit, Max!”

Precocious Max manages to stay up and catch Santa Claus in the act of delivering presents.  We find that jolly old Santa also eventually gets flustered by Max’s many questions.  As a parent, I like that the emphasis of the story is not necessarily on the gifts, but more on the anticipation that surrounds Christmas Eve.  Anyone with any experience with little ones can relate to the way a barrage of questions can frustrate even the most patient amongst us!

If you have a chance to check out a copy of Max’s Christmas before Christmas Eve, I am confident your family will enjoy a peek into the home of Max and Ruby this holiday season.

Our Unsung Favorite: Carry Me

I have to confess to you all that when I asked for your favorite “unsung” children’s literature suggestions, I never could have anticipated such an overwhelming response!  You all showed up with more than ninety replies and oodles of book recommendations.  What an absolute delight!

It makes me feel a bit intimidated to share a favorite from our home library, knowing there are so many reading who have a depth of insight into children’s literature that far surpasses my own.  A promise is a promise, however, so I’ll take a moment to share.

carrymeYou and your children may already be familiar with Rosemary Wells, the author and illustrator of the Max and Ruby series.  Last spring, my oldest daughter went through a prolonged phase of choosing only Max and Ruby books at each library trip.  One day, we were browsing through the books by Ms. Wells and happened upon Carry Me.  It’s not a Max and Ruby book, but it does include a bunny family, so my skeptical daughter agreed to add it to our stack.  Both of us were absolutely enchanted by this short, sweet book of simple poetry and lush illustrations.

The first poem is called “Carry Me” and tells of all the ways Little Bunny wants his mommy and daddy to include him in their days.  “Carry me up the stairs and down, Hold me while you get dressed for town” and “Carry me over to hear the bees, stuff my pockets with early peas” are some of my favorite lines from this section. 

The next short poem is called “Talk To Me” and it lyrically illustrates the many ways we as parents can include our littlest ones in the conversation all day long.  “Green apple, sour.  Red apple, sweet.  How many shoes are on my feet?”  This section was the first that my daughter and I memorized and we still recite it together from time to time.

The final section is “Sing To Me” and Wells shares the simplest and sweetest poems for each season.  Each season has its own song and shimmery, silvery illustrations to lead little imaginations to think far beyond the text of each poem.

If you get the chance to check this one out from the library or to add it to your home library, I lovingly recommend it.  It truly embodies the philosophy of Simple Kids – utterly uncomplicated and completely charming. 

As promised, one of the commenters has been selected to receive a copy of Carry Me from my girls and I.  The randomly selected commenter is Sherri of Serene Journey!  Her recommended favorite is Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathman which looks to be something my younger daughter would absolutely adore.

Now, friends of Simple Kids, I have a favor to ask.  Several of you have mentioned that the books suggested on that post could prove to be such a valuable resource for our community, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if they were organized by recommended reading age?  I wholeheartedly agree!  As I am acutely aware of my own limitations, this is a project that would be quite an undertaking on my own.  Are there a couple of you who might volunteer to partner with me in this task?  The more who volunteer, the less time it should take for us to organize the list.  If you are interested in helping, please let me know via comment on this post or through email (simplekidsblog at gmail dot com).

Happy reading!