Going Christmas Crackers About Picture Books!

Xmas Book

Main image courtesy of debspoons at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As part of our family tradition every year I put together a little red box of goodies to give to my children on Christmas Eve. It always contains a new pair of pyjamas each (sprinkled with “Santa dust” of course), hot chocolate and mini marshmallows, a small toy, a Christmas DVD and some Christmas themed books. All the ingredients for a perfect snuggly evening together to prepare for a good night’s sleep before Santa arrives. So here are ten picture books I have included in the box in previous years. As with my Halloween book blog I have included a brief comment from myself and each book has been rated out of ten by my two boys now five and eight years old. In each case the first score is from my eldest. However getting a rating other than 0 or 10, or even a number within that parameter proved somewhat challenging this time! Is it too early in December to start on the mulled wine?

Harry and the Dinosaurs make a Christmas Wish – Ian Whybrow (author) & Adrian Reynolds (illustrator). Publisher: Puffin (re-issue ed. 2 Sept 2004). RATING: 8/10; 0/10.

If you’re a fan of Harry and his troop of dinosaurs, then you’ll love this old favourite. This got a zero rating from my youngest as Harry’s wish didn’t come true!

CLICK TO BUY Harry and the Dinosaurs Make a Christmas Wish

The Smelly Sprout Allan Plenderleith (author/illustrator). Publisher: Ravette Publishing Ltd. (4 Sept 2008). RATING: 12/10; 10/10.

Fantastic! This is well loved by all of us. So much so my eldest thought a ten rating just wasn’t enough! The wit and imagination of this author leaves us feeling so fond of the dear little sprout! Very much looking forward to reading his new one “The Christmas Carrot” (which is in their box for this year – shhh!).

CLICK TO BUY The Smelly Sprout

Stick Man Julia Donaldson (author) & Axel Scheffler (illustrator). Publisher: Alison Green Books ( 7 Sept 2009). RATING: 5/10; 3/10.

Despite the poor rating, I think I would struggle to find a parent who doesn’t like this book – but it’s not about us is it? My youngest was very quick to say that “too many sad things happened to Stick Man” for him to give it a high number. It just goes to show how children view stories very differently to adults.


How Santa Really Works Alan Snow (author/illustrator) & Maggie Bateson (paper engineer). Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books (1 Nov 2010). RATING: 11/10; 10/10.

The paper engineer deserves a medal! Beautifully constructed and the humorous annotations and illustrations make a superb pop-up book which neatly explains many unanswered questions.

CLICK TO BUY How Santa Really Works Pop-Up

Mr. Men, The Night Before Christmas – Roger Hargreaves (original concept) & Adam Hargreaves (author/illustrator). Publisher: Egmont (3 Sept 2008). RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

It’s hard not to love a Mr Men book and Roger Hargreaves’ son Adam has certainly adopted the same matter of fact humour we appreciate with this new series.

CLICK TO BUY Mr. Men: The Night Before Christmas (Mr. Men & Little Miss Celebrations)

The Snowman Raymond Briggs (author/illustrator). Publisher: Puffin (re-issue ed. 3 Oct 2013). RATING: 1/10; 0/10.

This book has been around for a while now and I threw it in to see if it still holds that same magical quality that originally captured children’s imaginations. Sadly my two were pretty unimpressed. Slow and boring was the feedback I got from them.

CLICK TO BUY The Snowman

Father Christmas Needs a Wee – Nicholas Allan (author/illustrator). Publisher: red Fox Picture Books (5 Nov 2009). RATING 10/10; 10/10.

This is both funny and educational by including counting and numbers within bright, bold illustrations. All qualities that contribute to this winning combination. We’ve read it so many times and yet it always gets a giggle.

CLICK TO BUY Father Christmas Needs a Wee

Aliens Love Panta Claus Claire Freedman (author) & Ben Cort (illustrator). Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books (1 Oct 2010). RATING: 6/10; 10/10.

For a theme that I feel is possibly verging on the repetitive now, it still manages to entertain with its easy rhyming quality and fantastic choice of underwear! Who knew pants were such an integral part of our world history.

CLICK TO BUY Aliens Love Panta Claus

1001 Things to Spot at Christmas Alex Frith (author) & Teri Gower (illustrator). Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd (28 Aug 2009). RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

I’ve included this as an alternative to the other classic picture books which proved a resounding success. It gets them reading but also occupies them for longer. A mixture of lively illustrations, words and numbers means it’s suitable for all ages.

CLICK TO BUY 1001 Things to Spot at Christmas

Slinky Malinki Christmas Crackers Lynley Dodd (author & illustrator). Publisher: Puffin (re-issue ed. 4 Oct 2007). RATING: 5/10; 10/10.

If the rating had been down to me I would give it a ten. The Slinky Malinki story lines are always very simple but the melodic rhyme and imaginative wording is inspired. Sorry Slinky my two boys are obviously dog people not cat people! So I think if Hairy Maclary had been the star of this book the scores may have been different!

CLICK TO BUY Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers (Hairy Maclary and Friends)

I hope this has given you some ideas for Christmas. What are your favourite Christmas picture books?

Where obtained: public or personal library.

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

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