roundup children's christmas books

November 30, 2008|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,

The Lump of Coal

By Lemony Snicket; illustrated by Brett Helquist

Harper Collins / 40 pages / $13 / ages 4-8

"Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you'd see." Such a beginning is not typical for holiday stories, but fans of Lemony Snicket will not be surprised. The author who presented the Series of Unfortunate Events of the Baudelaire children is back with a Christmas story about a lump of coal that dreamed of becoming an artist. Having been knocked out of a bag and into the yard by a wild animal, he takes off for town, where he pursues his dream at an art gallery and a Korean barbecue before running into a fat man dressed in a red suit who has need for a lump of coal. Miracles really do happen, even if they're of the Lemony Snicket sort.

The Christmas House

By Carol Bullman; illustrated by Jim Madsen

Ideals / 32 pages / $16.99 / ages 4-8

Busy neighbors take time out of their holiday bustle to listen to the Christmas music coming from the little dilapidated house down the street. Inside is the family that has just moved into the neighborhood. Their only furniture is the old piano. But those who have stopped to listen - Mrs. Links who's been shopping, Mr. Jacobs who's been walking the dog, Thad who's been skateboarding and Anna who's been selling hot chocolate - not only meet their new neighbors, but find the true meaning of Christmas.

A Pirate's Night Before Christmas

By Philip Yates; illustrated by Sebastia Serra

Sterling / 32 pages / $14.95 / ages 4-8

"'Twas the night before Christmas aboard the Black Sark, not a creature was stirrin', not even a shark!" If Clement C. Moore's classic is wearing a little thin, try this colorful version for pirate lovers. You'll discover that even pirates have Christmas wishes, and on Christmas Eve Sir Peg will arise out of the sea with a sleigh pulled by sea horses. He comes to deliver coins, hardtack and other prizes for all the good pirates. The final pages include a helpful glossary so your little buccaneer can learn about pirate words like the crow's nest, poop deck and spy glass.

A Snowman Named Just Bob

By Mark Kimball Moulton; illustrated by Karen Hillard Good

Ideals / 32 pages / $18.99 / ages 4-8

This 10th anniversary edition relates the story of how an unexpected snowstorm brings the flakes that turn into Bob, the snowman. When the child asks how to find the snowman amid the flurries, Bob gives his wise and memorable answer: "Friendship is a simple thing. The clue is just to start, as long as it is built on trust and love from in your heart." Karen Hillard Good's whimsical illustrations add to the book's charm.

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