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scrounge: /skrounj/ informal verb: to actively seek [books] from any available source

Category results for '25-days-of-Christmas-books'.

Merry Christmas, and thank you for following along with our Christmas book countdown! It's been fun reading and writing, and we hope this series has been fun and informative for you as well. For the complete list of titles we've reviewed over the past few weeks, see the beginning page here.

For Christmas day, as our countdown comes to an end, we've chosen a simple and reverent version of Silent Night, one of the loveliest carols of all. This book simply includes the text of the carol (printed with music at the end), with illustrations that portray the cools of winter and the warmth of Jesus' birth. The illustrations present a mix of elements from modern day as well as from 2,000 years ago.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Joseph Mohr
Illustrator: Maja Dusikova
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

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On Christmas Eve (and the day before our countdown wraps up), what book could possibly be more fitting than an illustrated rendition of Clement Moore's classic poem? And while there are many wonderful versions of this poem as a picture book, I was once again drawn to Jan Brett's detailed and cheery illustrations in The Night Before Christmas.

This celebration of Santa's middle-of-the-night visit begins in a subdued manner but quickly becomes quite jubilant in its depictions of Christmas candy, tree ornaments, happy elves, abundant presents, rambunctious reindeer, and of course Saint Nick himself. With Christmas reds and dark blue sky standing out against winter whites, children are sure to appreciate all these visuals when perparing for a fitful night's sleep before Christmas!

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Clement Moore
Illustrator: Jan Brett
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

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"Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen..."

And that's about all I could have recited of this song, except a mention of "Saint Agnes' fountain," and several archaic terms like "thither" and "hence." Though I had heard it sung before, I'd never actually looked up the lyrics until now. Fortunately, this picture book version of Good King Wenceslas has helped to give me a much fuller image of what the song is about.

The text is simply the words to the song, with wintery illustrations telling the story of the king who looked out and saw a peasant gathering wood for fuel, and decided to bring him food and wine to bless his family on that cold winter night (I can appreciate that this book changes the original word "flesh" to "food" to avoid any confusion).

While there is no specific mention of "Christmas" in this song, the image of a king leaving his safe and warm castle to help someone in need is extremely reminiscent of the Christmas story. Although I've never celebrated Saint Stephen's Day, it is observed on December 26 (27 for some) by Christians around the world, and therefore I found this song, as well as its admonition to "bless the poor" very fitting for a celebration of Christmas.

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: John Mason Neale
Illustrator: Jamichael Henterly
Pages: 24
Content Advisory: None

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James Herriot wrote many wonderful animal stories for children, from his perspective as a veterinarian. While Herriot is present in his stories as the narrator, the focus is on his clients and their relationships with their unique pets and farm animals. One of my all-time favorites of his is The Christmas Day Kitten. It portrays both sadness at the death of an animal friend, as well as the joy of the new life of a unique and playful little kitten (I've also discovered that this may not be the best book to read while pregnant and feeling more emotional than usual!). 

As in Herriot's other stories, Ruth Brown's warm, realistic illustrations capture each scene and feeling perfectly. The text is a bit wordier than some picture books, so it might not hold the attention of very young children. While this story doesn't really get into the practical aspects of celebrating Christmas, it's still a sweet glimpse of the hope of life springing from sadness.

Scrounged From: My parents' house

Format: Hardcover
Author: James Herriot
Illustrator: Ruth Brown
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: Death of a stray/pet cat is described.

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When I saw Hannah's Bookmobile Christmas at the library, I knew I had to read a picture book that combines two of my favorite things: books and Christmas. When I was a girl growing up in Scotland, there was a bookmobile that would come to our little dead-end street every few weeks, and I used to love climbing up into the back of it and looking for more books. I haven't seen a bookmobile since, but I enjoyed reading this reminder that they do indeed still exist.

This story is about a girl named Hannah who likes to ride along with her Aunt Mary who, along with her cat named Dickens (!), drives a blue bookmobile named Blue Bird. We follow them along to several stops, witnessing the enjoyment and sense of community that are built around this mobile library. 

When a snowstorm keeps them from getting up a hill, Hannah realizes she might have to spend Christmas Eve stuck in the bookmobile. But really, is that such a bad thing? 

Scrounged From: Our local library

Format: Hardcover
Author: Sally Derby
Illustrator: Gabi Swiatkowska
Pages: 32
Content Advisory: None

More Reviews at Amazon

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