Another Christmas picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall
C is for Christmas was written by Michelle Medlock Adams and illustrated by Louise Hargreaves.
Little Lamb Books (AKA “the publisher of my book to be released soon”) released it in 2018 a few days ago. I received my copy and jumped right into reading it!
First, Hargreaves’ illustrations are A-DOR-A-BLE. They are tailor-made for preschoolers. The cover is beautiful with all kinds of critters crowded into the stable with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
C is for Christmas is, of course, an alphabet book. Most everything you can think of that is associated with Christmas is mentioned in these cute pages.
S is for SNOW
Though it’s not always possible,
white Christmases are grand.
The SNOW makes all things beautiful…
A winter wonderland.
I’m betting the little ones in your family will want you to read C is for Christmas again and again.
Another Christmas Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall
One Small Donkey: A Christmas Story was written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens. It was published by Tommy Nelson in 2016.
Dandi Daley Mackall has created an adorable story that uses the birth of Christ to help young children understand that none of us is too small. Not too small to help, not too small to be loved, not too small to be part of a family, not too small to be part of God’s bigger plan.
I love the last page:
One small donkey with a hee-hee-haw!
Cheering at the Savior’s birth—
One Small donkey with a giant heart
Welcomes Christ, our peace on earth.
Mackall’s rhyme is great. The rhythm was a little hard to follow in places because it doesn’t followt that sing-song nursery rhyme rhythm.
Meguens’ illustrations are simple, cute and sweet. I plan to give this book to my six-year-old granddaughter. I think she’ll cherish it!
In my opinion One Small Donkey: A Christmas Story is another hit for Mackall. I believe it will be another “read it again” favorite for young children.
• How to be silly.
• Ways to honor your child’s feelings.
• When to be a good loser.
• When to say “I’m sorry.”
• How to discipline without crushing their spirits.
• It’s more important for children to learn HOW to think than WHAT to think.
• To show approval and love regardless of the child’s performance or grades.
• When to lecture, and when to calmly question.
• When and how to point out the positive in a person or situation.
• Not to EVER withhold love. NEVER.
• How to exercise grace.
• To compliment every hand-made project or gift.
Another Christmas Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall.
Where Jesus Slept was written by Norma Lewis and illustrated by Katy Hudson. It was published in 2016 by Worthy Kids/Ideals.
This is also definitely a Christian Christmas book. It begins by quoting Luke 2:10B-11, and ends by quoting John 3:16. I like that.
Hudson’s illustrations are soft pastels except for the sapphire sky. The expressions of the animals and people look friendly and inviting.
Where Jesus Slept is a cute take on a very familiar story. It’s written in a circular fashion like “There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” I like that, too. Young children enjoy the story repeating the same phrases in the same rhythm.
It begins, “This is the bed where Jesus slept. This is the straw that lined the bed where Jesus slept.” Lewis continues to add characters to the story and then repeats the previous text.
I think your preschoolers will really enjoy this cute story of Jesus’ birth.
Excellent wisdom from the book Parenting Your Powerful Child: Bringing an End to the Everyday Battles by Dr. Kevin Leman we read on page 177-178:
The society we live in today is a dangerous one. There are plenty of big bad wolves out there that will devour your child without batting an eye.
What kind of foundation are you giving your kids? Sand? Straw? Twigs? Or cement blocks? If you use anything other than cement it’s not a good idea. I know that because [my wife] told me. She even proved it to me while she was laying brick around the house. I saw it with my own two eyes as I sipped a can of Pepsi.
So what does your child want the most?
• To feel valued.
• To be loved unconditionally.
• To be taken seriously.
• To contribute to your family.
Those are the foundations that are like cement blocks: firm and there to stay for a lifetime.
What kind of parent do you tend to be now? Authoritarian? Permissive? How might you change to be that balanced, authoritative parent you need to be—for your own welfare and for your child’s?
Proverbs 22:6 Amplified Bible
Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents], Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Another Christmas Picture Book Review by Jean Matthew Hall.
Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree was written by David Martin and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev. Candlewick Press published it in 2011.
Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree is a cute little story about a bunny who is tired of always being the smallest kid. On Christmas Eve he falls asleep under the tree and has a magical experience. He gets to be the biggest kid for a while. With the help of new friends Little Bunny also has a life-long dream come true.
Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree is about family, friendship, and self-worth, I think.
It’s okay to me, but I didn’t add it to my list of all-time Christmas favorites. It seemed slight—cute but no real meat to it.
If Little Bunny and the Magic Christmas Tree were being published today (2018) I suspect it would have much fewer words and maybe a theme or message with a little more depth.
Tune in next week, friends, for another Christmas Picture Book Review.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
Please pop in to read my guest post about Christmas Stories at Almost An Author.
We sit on the bed beside our child and listen as they pray before going to sleep. Why?
• Prayer is a great habit we’re trying to develop in them.• Prayer helps them relax and rest better.
• Prayer works.
• Prayer reminds them of the people they pray for.
But what about us parents? Do we pray before we fall asleep for the night? Maybe a beautiful memorized prayer might help US develop the habit of evening prayers, too.
Here’s a lovely and effective evening prayer by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Print it out, or jot it on a card. Read it each night before falling asleep.
My Lord God, I thank you
That you have brought this day to an end;
I thank you that you let body and soul come to rest.
Your hand was over me;
It protected me and preserved me.
Forgive all the faintheartedness, lack of faith,
And unrighteousness of this day,
And help me to gladly forgive those who have wronged me.
Let me sleep in peace under your protection,
And preserve me from the assaults of darkness.
I commend to you those close to me;
I commend to you this house;
I commend to you my body and my soul.
O God, may your holy name be praised.
“I will both lay me down and sleep in peace,
For Thou, Lord, only make me to dwell in safety.”
She’s done it again!
My sweet friend, Jill Roman Lord, has worked her word-magic again and brought the first Christmas night to life for young children. Her verses are in perfect rhyme and meter. Her insights into the celebration surrounding the birth of Jesus are not only cute and clever, they are probably quite accurate. I can’t imagine the animals around the manger NOT celebrating the greatest event in history, can you?
Kelly Breemer’s illustrations are whimsical and adorable.
I think any two or three year old will love snuggling on somebody’s lap with this book. Get your animal voices on and get ready to moo and quack your way through this great little book.
We often teach our children sweet little prayers to say before going to sleep. That’s important! It helps them build a habit of praying before retiring. It helps them learn to trust God. It reminds them that God watches over and protects them. These are important steps toward building their faith. When they are ready you can help them vocalize their own personal prayers to God. But until they are, a short memorized prayer is a wonderful teaching tool.
Here are a few to consider:
Father unto You I pray,
You have guarded me all day;
Safe I am while in your sight,
Safely let me sleep tonight.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I know You, Lord, my soul will keep.
Guard me, Jesus, through the night,
Wake me with the morning light.
Father, we thank thee for the night,
and for the pleasant morning light;
for rest and food and loving care,
and all that makes the day so fair.
Help us to do the things we should,
to be to others kind and good;
in all we do, in work or play,
to grow more loving every day.
–Rebeecca Weston – 1890
Jesus, tender shepherd, hear me,
Bless this little lamb tonight.
Through the darkness be down near me,
Keep me safe till morning light.
Lord, keep us safe this night,
Secure from all fears;
May angels guard us through the night
Till morning light appears.
I will lie down in peace and sleep,
For You, Lord, alone make me live in safety.
A picture book review by Jean Matthew Hall.
If I Had a Horse by Gianna Marino was published by Roaring Brook Press in 2018.
This picture book took me by surprise. The striking illustrations are almost nondescript. It’s clear they depict a child and a horse. But they also make it clear that it could be any child and any horse at all.
The jacket blurb says the book is about stepping beyond boundaries and bravery.
I can see that if I substitute the word “dream” for the author’s word “horse” in the title and text. So, I think the themes are daring to dream and pursuing those dreams with courage.
If I Had a Horse will be a great conversation starter for dreaming about the future and having the courage to do whatever it takes to accomplish it.