The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski is a classic from the ’90s and another of my favorite Christmas children’s stories. It’s the tale of a grumpy wood-carver who is asked to carve Christmas figures for a widow and her son. As he carves the pieces, the widow’s son points out the significance of each piece with a child’s innocence.
The story is beautifully illustrated by P.J.Lynch and appeals to all ages. It would make a wonderful Christmas gift – which is how we came to own it. Thank you, Jan and Mike Terry!
Wojciechowski, Susan, and Patrick James Lynch. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. Candlewick Press, 2015.
One Wintry Night By Ruth Bell Graham is one of my all time favorite Christmas books for children. It’s a wonderful story set in the Smokey Mountains about a boy who injures his ankle in a wintry storm and finds refuge in a stranger’s home. The woman of the house tends to his sprained ankle and to his questioning heart.
Ruth Bell Graham tells the Christmas story from creation to the cross with stunning illustrations by Richard Jesse Watson. Not a picture book length, but rather written in short chapters, this book is a must read for all.
Graham, Ruth Bell., and Richard Jesse Watson. One Wintry Night. Thomas Nelson, 2012.
For those of us living in Florida, a winter wonderland of snow sounds very appealing, but John Rocco gives us a different perspective in his beautifully illustrated book, Blizzard. The first few days of snowfall don’t cause alarm, but after a week of heavy snow, one young boy decides he must take action to save his neighbors. Rocco’s story is delightful and sweet. The book is based on his own childhood memory of the Blizzard of ’78 in New England.
I recommend Blizzard for those who’ve experienced forty-inch snows as well as those of us who miss the winter weather.
Rocco, John. Blizzard. Disney-Hyperion, 2014.
I recently went to the library to see what was hot in the Children’s section and came across What Happened to Merry Christmas? by Robert C. Baker. The book isn’t new, but it is a timely story about a young boy named Sam who’s teacher tells him “There won’t be any Christmas.” Sam ‘s mother helps him to understand Christmas can be found all around him this time of year. They set out to find Christmas in the decorations and traditions around the
This story is perfect for children in the early elementary years (kindergarten – second grade). I’m returning my copy today, so I know there’s at least one copy available!
Baker, Robert C., and Dave Hill. What Happened to Merry Christmas?Concordia Publishing House, 2007.
I was strolling through a small bookstore in Orlando and came across Giraffe Problems, by Jory John. The wonderful cover caught my attention so I picked it up and began reading. The story is about Edward, a giraffe who doesn’t like his neck – it’s too long, too bendy, too dopey, too patterned, etc. I called my twenty-two year old daughter over and we read it together. I laughed so loudly, my daughter scolded me. This is a delightful story about accepting our unique design. I highly recommend the book. I guarantee you won’t be able to read it without laughing alongside your kids.
John, Jory, and Lane Smith. Giraffe Problems. Random House, 2018.
Dragon Masters reviewed by Christie Thomas and kids!
The Dragon Masters series from Scholastic miraculously engaged all three of my boys. In it, four children are brought to the castle in the Kingdom of Bracken because the “dragon stone” has chosen each child to train a specific dragon. Together, the children solve problems, learn to connect with their dragons, and thwart bad guys. Because there are illustrations on each page, this series was instrumental in helping my 7-year-old bridge the gap between short picture books and chapter books. My 4-year-old, who is notorious for interrupting multiple times whenever we read, sat still and listened carefully to each book. Even my 9-year-old and I got into the stories. I found myself reading the stories in the car or after bedtime, just so I could keep up with the plot! Half the main characters are brave, intelligent girls, so this series has broad appeal.
We like them because we like dragons! Jackson, age 4
You never know what’s going to happen next. Ethan, age 9
I like it because it’s interesting. Oliver, age 7
Christie Thomas is also featured on our Home page as the Bedtime Devo Mama. For more about Christie go to ChristieThomaswriter.com.
West, Tracey, and Graham Howells. Rise of the Earth Dragon. Scholastic Inc., 2014.
Doreen Cronin delights readers with this silly story about cows who find an old typewriter and begin leaving requests for Farmer Brown. When he denies them, the animals go on strike. This is a story which will have everyone laughing. (Caldecott Honor: 2001)
Cronin, Doreen, and Betsy Lewin. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. Simon Spotlight, 2016.
I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb is a perfect bedtime story to reassure your children they are loved. Since before birds flew over rainbows…The declarations of love for her child coupled with lovely illustrations make this a book you will be asked to read again and again.
Kotb, Hoda. I’ve Loved You since Forever. HarperCollins Canada, Limited, 2018.
This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen is a 2013 Caldecott winner is about a small fish turned hat-thief. The incongruity of the situation and the illustrations make this story so much fun to read. Klassen continues to delight both parent and child with his award-winning stories.
Klassen, Jon. This Is Not My Hat. Walker Books, 2014.
Otis, by Loren Long, reminds me of stories I loved as a child. It tells of a relationship between an old tractor and a little calf. Much like Mike Mulligan’s Steam Engine, Otis is overshadowed by newer machinery. Otis captures hearts with his simple devotion.
Long, Loren. What Does Otis See? Penguin Young Readers, an Imprint of Penguin Random House, 2015.
In her wonderful story, Thankful, Eileen Spinelli reminds us to be grateful for the things we often overlook in our lives. The poetic rhythm and rhyme make it a fun book to read and re-read.
Tyger, Rory. I Love You, Grandma. Tiger Tales, 2017.
I Love You, Grandma by Rory Tyger, is a thoughtful board book you will want to buy for your grandchildren. With rhyme, Tyger captures the lovely relationship between children and their grandparents.
Tyger, Rory. I Love You, Grandma. Tiger Tales, 2017.