A sweet little story about Little Bear and his family on the day before Christmas. The story takes you through a simple day of routine, prompting you to smell all of Little Bear’s Christmas activities! There are Christmas goodies, a fresh-cut pine tree, cocoa for carolers, and even a sweet surprise on Christmas morning!
This is one of those books we had growing up, but the smells faded (and got a bit musky) over time … you can imagine my delight that this is still in print, and comes with fresh smells! ULTRA NOSTALGIA!! The illustrations are also very cute and expressive, and have a very mid-century appeal to them.
DAY 16 – Madeline’s Christmas – Ludwig Bemelmans
“In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines …” the story starts just like all other Madeline books, and flows in lyrical rhyme as Madeline – the smallest girl in Miss Clavel’s boarding school -- handles the house while everyone is sick in bed! Madeline’s kindness to her friends and teacher is evident in this story, as she gently and bravely cares for the entire house … then a traveling rug merchant arrives, and Madeline buys twelve rugs to decorate! However, this stranger is chilled to the bone and needs some help thawing out. Madeline treats him with care, and he reveals himself as a magician! This sets the stage for a wonderous conclusion … the carpets transport the girls to their parent’s homes just in time for Christmas!
Christmas magic aside, Bemelman’s story and illustrations are downright magical. Madeline is always a treasure, leading us through her own little practical world where nothing can frighten her. She remains kind and compassionate, reminding us with sweetness that bravery shows itself in many ways.
DAY 17 – Merry Christmas Mom and Dad – Mercer Mayer
I have always loved Mercer Mayer’s little critter books and was so happy to find a Christmas book in the collection! In this story, Critter tells us a story about all the things he’s trying to do for his parents around Christmas … critter makes a wreath, helps with baking, picks out THE BEST Christmas tree, and helps to decorate … he even puts himself to bed early on Christmas Eve, leaving a special note to Santa about how good he’s been. Lucky for him, Santa isn’t the only one paying attention, and Critter is rewarded with the Christmas magic of a job well done.
We used to have “Just Me and My Dad” in our family library, and it was a huge bedtime favorite because it was so silly. This one is also a classic! I think the best part about the Little Critter series is the language used to write these books … Little Critter narrates the books in an active voice, never revealing his name, but inviting the readers to take a role in the story with him. This story does a good job reminding us how difficult it is as a young child to “be good” when you are excited for Christmas.