Books play a really large part in Rosalie’s life; we regularly borrow books from the library and have a growing collection of children’s books that we own. We sit down and look at books every afternoon, and of course she has a bedtime story too.
I like to get books that tie in with things such as the seasons, holidays or celebrations, as I think it can be a great way for toddlers to engage with the world around them. Since we have started our Playful Learning themes, which will change each month, I thought I would also show you the books which we will have on our bookshelf each month to support the theme too.
This month of course the theme is Winter and Christmas, and here’s what’s on our bookshelf:
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Jim and I picked up our copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas when we were in Orlando and visited Islands of Adventure nearly eight years ago. We love the story, and the film, and I think the rhyme and patter of Dr Seuss books are great for toddlers.
There is a wonderful message in this book too:
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
A Christmas Carol
It really wouldn’t be Christmas without some version of A Christmas Carol making an appearance. The copy we have is written in verse but is very true to the original story and is a lovely version for little ones.
Classic Treasury Christmas Stories
This is a wonderful treasury which Granny bought for Rosalie last Christmas. It contains a mix of stories, including traditional ones such as The Elves and the Shoemaker, adapted classics such as The Little Match Girl and extracts from Little Women, What Katy Did at School and A Christmas Carol, as well as songs including The Twelve Days of Christmas. You can read a bit more about this classic Christmas Treasury in a blog post I wrote last year.
We use this a bit like an advent story book, where we read one story each day of advent from it. Depending on how well your toddler sits for stories you might find these a bit long, but the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous.
The Night Before Christmas
When I was growing up my dad would always read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve; we loved the magical scene it set and my sisters and I could recite the poem off by heart we loved it so much. This was a tradition that I really wanted to carry on with my own family, so we gave Rosalie this copy of The Night Before Christmas for her very first Christmas when she was only four days old!
There are so many versions to choose from, but I wanted one that was true to the original poem, as well as having beautiful illustrations – and I had quite strict criteria for what I wanted St Nicholas to look like!
The Gruffalo’s Child
It’s no secret that we love Julia Donaldson in our house, and so of course The Gruffalo’s Child has to feature on our bookshelf in December. It’s a fun snowy tale about a brave little Gruffalo and a cunning mouse. The rhyme and repetition are great for toddlers.
Another Julia Donaldson, which we will be doing a mini book study and role play on as part of our winter playful learning theme. I imagine that all toddlers who love sticks (which is probably all toddlers!) will love Stick Man. Although the whole book isn’t set in winter, the Christmas ending is wonderful, and Rosalie absolutely loves it when “Santa falls into the room with a thump”. Again, the rhyme and repetition are brilliant for preschoolers, enabling them to learn the story and join in.
You Make Me Smile
This is a delightful tale, similar to The Snowman, about a little girl who is thrilled to see the first snowfall of winter and makes a snowman with a twig smile so that they can share a special moment. She looks forward to making the snowman again as the seasons pass. Essentially it’s a book about friendship and how a simple smile can make someone happy. The pictures are wonderful and the words are minimal making it perfect for toddlers.
Mog’s Christmas Calamity
Rosalie had been enjoying borrowing Judith Kerr stories from the library when this one came out last Christmas, so I decided to buy a copy. It’s an enjoyable story where Mog causes a disaster on Christmas Eve whilst the family are asleep. Luckily they have some wonderful neighbours! It sends a similar message to The Grinch, in that Christmas is about much more than presents.
We have made Rosalie a book advent calendar this year, so her collection of winter themed books will be growing as the month rolls on.
I’d love to hear your recommendations for winter/Christmas books!