Friday, December 2, 2016

7 Quick Takes: Advent Reading Round-Up Week 1

Last year, during Advent, I had an elaborate schedule for reading both secular and religious Christmas books, listening to hymns, and reading the Bible stories for the Jesse Tree. I didn't follow it that closely, and halfway through the season, I ended up abandoning most of my plans. This year, I decided to make things more manageable by scheduling only the Jesse tree readings. (I also switched from this set of ornaments, to this one.) Beyond that, all I have done is pull a stack of Christmas and winter-themed books that suit my girls' current ages, from which we are reading one or two per day.

So, in addition to The Catholic Children's BibleMy Baptism Bible Catholic Edition, and Celebrating Advent with the Jesse Tree, which are our sources for Jesse tree readings, we have also read these books this week:

A New Coat for Anna

This story about a little girl who has to wait an entire year for a new winter coat is a good start to Advent, because it establishes that sense of anticipation, and it also shows how the kindness of a series of strangers contributes to Anna's eventual happiness when she receives her coat. In the end, Anna hosts a Christmas party for everyone who helped her mother to make the coat, and she even goes to thank the sheep who provided the wool. Miss Muffet was not old enough to appreciate this book last year, but she did seem to follow the story more closely this year.

Baby's First Christmas

It is not Little Bo Peep's first Christmas, but she loves photographs of everyday objects, so I brought this book out for her anyway. She wouldn't let me tell her the names of most of the objects, as she really just likes to turn pages. Later, when she was not being carefully supervised, she tore into the spine of the book with her teeth and ate some of it. So... the most I can say about this book is that it looked delicious to her.

The Christmas ABC

We have this as an oversized board book, and both Miss Muffet and Bo Peep love it. I would probably call it the favorite of this week. The rhyming text doesn't do a whole lot for me, as it's an alphabet book and there is no cohesive arc, but Eloise Wilkin has been a family favorite since I was a kid, and I do enjoy the illustrations. Bo Peep spent a good part of the week meowing at the book, which I don't fully understand, since there were no cats on the page that prompted her to do that, but she also seemed appropriately interested in Baby Jesus, so that's something.

Deck the Halls

Last year, I tried to have a strict moratorium on Christmas songs and music until Christmas Day, and wound up barely singing or listening to any Christmas music at all.  This year, I have decided to sing more of the traditional songs around the house so the girls have a better chance of learning them. I know it is in the spirit of Advent to build up anticipation, not to celebrate Christmas for a month before the day arrives, but for me, that anticipation is actually strengthened by the music. We played Christmas music all during December when I was a kid, and it just made me want Christmas to come that much more. So... I took out this singable book and taught the girls to sing "Fa la la la la." Even Bo Peep chimed in!

If It's Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws! 

I took this out because I think I may use it for a story time about winter in January, and then decided to just sing it to the girls. Bo Peep like it, Miss Muffet was in the throes of a tantrum and chose to scream rather than listen. I have the book out for them to peruse on their own time, however, and both girls have spent time flipping through it. It's not my favorite, but it is a solid story time book, and it's a board book, so it's (relatively) safe for Bo Peep to handle.


When this book first came out, my mom thought it might be about waiting for Santa Claus to come. It's not, but it is a book about anticipation, so of course it's a good Advent read! My mom gave me a copy of my own for last year, and I usually keep it in a cabinet where little hands can't rip the jacket and stain the pages, but for the sake of Advent, I pulled it out and we'll be reading it sometime today.

The Animals' Merry Christmas

Lastly, we are slowly reading our way through this collection, one story at a time. I counted last night and found out there are actually 18 total stories and poems in here, so we may need to step it up a little, since there are other collections I also want us to get to,  but it's been nice to have a short two- or three-page story to read each night.

Seven Quick Takes is hosted every week by This Ain't the Lyceum.

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