Friday, December 23, 2016

7 Quick Takes: Advent Reading Round-Up Week Four

We have had a lot of repeat readings of Maple and Willow's Christmas Tree and Who is Coming to Our House? which I have mentioned in past round-ups, but this week, in the home stretch of our Christmas countdown, we also added a few more new-to-Miss-Muffet titles. Here are this week's highlights:

The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig and Diane Goode 

I had this book as a child, back when my elementary school chorus did a singable production of the Nutcracker, but had not thought of it at all in over 20 years until I saw a post about it on Instagram. Because Miss Muffet has been very interested in the story of The Nutcracker this year, and because of my own nostalgia, I put it on hold at the library right away. I've read it with Miss Muffet a couple of times, but she has also enjoyed listening to the ballet and looking through the book on her own. Its text and illustrations are both very preschool-friendly and much more cheerful than a lot of other adaptations.

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry 

I find the rhyme in this book tedious to read aloud, but Miss Muffet has been requesting multiple readings, so I've had to deal with it. In the story, Mr. Willowby orders a Christmas tree which is too tall for his parlor. When he cuts off the top of the tree, it is given to his maid. This smaller portion of the tree is also too tall for the place she has prepared for it, so she cuts off the top, too, and someone else picks it up, setting into a motion a long chain of treetops being removed and recycled. At the end of the book, when the chain finally comes to a happy conclusion, I asked Miss Muffet, who sighed contentedly, what she liked about the book. She said, "They finally stopped cutting off the top!" Evidently, she found this troubling.

Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren , illustrated by Ilon Wikland

This is not a chapter book like others in the series, but a little slice of life picture book about how the families of Noisy Village get ready for Christmas.We read it at bedtime, and Miss Muffet was completely silent the entire time, which is usually a sign of a good story. She wanted to look at the book again the next morning, and asked me if I could name all the kids in the first illustration. Then she wanted me to find the baby, Kerstin, on every page on which she appeared. I am starting to put some of the books away at this point, but I think we'll keep this one around until the end of the twelve days of Christmas.

Babar and Father Christmas by Jean de Brunhoff

My husband has a stuffed animal of Arthur, Babar's cousin, that has been around since he was a kid. Arthur has sort of become a mascot of our family, and we all enjoy looking for him in the Babar books. In this story, Arthur, Pom, Flora, and Alexander are dismayed that Father Christmas never visits the world of elephants, so they send him a letter asking him to come. When they don't get a response, Babar sets out on a quest to find him and discuss the situation face-to-face. This book is really, really long but Miss Muffet's familiarity with the characters and fascination with Santa Claus seemed to help keep her focused.

A Little Child by Jessie Orton Jones and Elizabeth Orton Jones 

When we brought out our creche, I also brought out this book which tells the story of Jesus's birth and childhood using various Bible passages. The illustrations portray a group of children acting out a play based on the text. It does include the Protestant version of the Our Father, which I read as it was printed, and Miss Muffet seemed a little puzzled by the debts and debtors, but otherwise, there was nothing in it that doesn't match the Catholic teachings about Christmas. The only real drawback is that the book is so old, I can't allow Miss Muffet to touch it because it would most likely disintegrate in her hands.

The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot, illustrated by Ruth Brown

I remember reading this book as a child after I already knew how to read independently. I suspected Miss Muffet was a bit young to get the full impact of the story, but I tried it anyway, and it went okay. She missed the fact that there were two cats - the mother, and the kitten - which distracted her from the overall significance of the story, but she listened attentively and seemed interested. I think she will get more out of it as we read it each year.

Pat the Christmas Bunny by Edith Kunhardt 

A conversation with my mom the other night revealed that she had sent this book to us and we had never opened it. So we opened it last night and both girls took an immediate linking to it. Bo Peep is a little bit confused by the difference between touch-and-feel books and scratch-and-sniff books, so she kept trying to sniff the bunny and the wool stocking and pat the candy cane. Miss Muffet became immediately interested in pretending to write her letter to Santa and pulling the toboggan down the hill. This is one of the few books we've read that I think they have both enjoyed equally.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment