For those of you celebrating the Christmas season in a snowy climate, have I got the books for you! That will not be me this year, as am I spending the year in New Zealand, where temperatures can be in the 80s and 90s (that’s Fahrenheit, folks) on Christmas Day. Who knows, I might spend it on a beach! We’ll see. But, for the rest of you reading this from a place where it’s snowy and cold, here are my children’s winter book recommendations for you that have been published this season from Penguin Random House:
Board Books/Picture Books
Angela McAllister, illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith
I mentioned this one in an earlier post about books I was excited about being published in November, but it really deserves to be mentioned again, so here it is. All the others are new recommendations, I promise.
Publisher Description: When Tom wishes winter would never end, he meets another boy who shares his love of snow and ice. Playing together every day, Tom doesn’t care that spring hasn’t come—until he realizes the terrible effect the unending winter is having on his sick grandmother. When he realizes his friend is Winter’s child, he knows they must say good-bye if the seasons are ever to change.
Max and Marla
A new picturebook about a classic activity – sledding!
Publisher Description: Max and Marla are best friends. And aspiring Olympians! With their eyes on the prize, they know exactly what it’ll take to reach sledding success: preparation, practice and perseverance. So when rusty blades, strong winds and difficult slopes get in their way, Max and Marla realize true joy lies not in winning but in friendship. Obstacles turn into victories!
With delightful illustrations and charming text, Alexandra Boiger brings to life the story of two unstoppable pals—true Olympians who never give up!
The Reindeer Wish
Lori Evert, Per Breiehagen
Per photographs the scenes while Lori writes the text. Absolutely charming!
Publisher Description: New York Times bestselling duo Lori Evert and Per Breiehagen (The Christmas Wish and The Tiny Wish) sweep us back into their enchanting world with yet another breathtaking adventure featuring their daughter, Anja.
When Anja discovers an abandoned reindeer baby in the woods, she cares for it and raises it as her own. They become dear friends and have many adventures together, but as the reindeer grows he wishes to rejoin his kind. So Anja leads him to join the greatest reindeer of all—those of Santa’s sled team.
Toys Meet Snow: Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-Loving Rubber Ball
Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the chapter book series Toys, but this is most definitely a dynamic duo! Paul O. Zelinsky has won multiple illustration awards, so read this picturebook for its images alone (though the text is engaging, too!).
Publisher Description: Lumphy, StingRay, and Plastic—the toys from the beloved chapter books Toys Go Out, Toy Dance Party, and Toys Come Home—are back in a glorious full-color picture book, perfect for gift-giving this holiday season. Acclaimed author Emily Jenkins and Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator Paul Zelinsky have created a book destined to become a classic.
Children who have loved listening to the Toys trilogy, as well as those meeting the toys for the very first time, will be thrilled to see Lumphy, StingRay, and Plastic venture outdoors to play in the snow. Together the toys build a snowman, make snow angels, and, when day is done, head back inside their cozy house and wait for the return of the Little Girl.
The Little Snowplow
Lora Koehler, illustrated by Jake Parker
I’m pretty sure this is basically Otis in the snow.
Publisher Description: Big trucks may brag and roar, but small and steadfast wins the day in this cheerful story with timeless appeal.
On the Mighty Mountain Road Crew, the trucks come in one size: BIG. That is, until the little snowplow joins the crew. None of the other trucks think that the little snowplow can handle the big storms, but he knows that he can do it—and just to be sure, he trains hard, pushing loads of gravel, pulling blocks of concrete, and doing plow lifts to get ready. But when a blizzard arrives, will the little snowplow’s training be enough to clear the streets and handle unexpected trouble? Taking its place beside classics such as The Little Engine That Could and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, this tale of a plucky little plow will find a clear path to readers’ hearts.
The Thing About Yetis
What holiday/winter book post would be complete without a book about yetis? Here’s this season’s choice.
Publisher Description: Everyone knows yetis love winter. They love snowball fights and hot chocolate and sledding and building snow castles. But even yetis get the shivers, and even yetis get crabby from all the cold. So here’s a secret about yetis: sometimes they miss summer. Sometimes, they have to bring a little bit of summer to the coldest of winter days. Those yetis, they’re just full of surprises.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
illustrated by Alison Jay
I do so love the soft color palate and crackle design elements of Alison Jay’s work! Though published last year, there’s a new, less expensive hardcover that came out this October, so I’m cheating and including it on the list.
Publisher Description: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . .
In this beautiful edition of the classic festive song, a happy couple make their way to a lavish Christmas party, discovering wonderful gifts as they go. Alison Jay’s signature crackle-glaze technique makes this illustrated version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” luminous and magical: animals dart across the pages, ladies dance, lords leap, and wintery landscapes sparkle against warm, cozy scenes.
With hidden surprises on every page, this is a book for the whole family to treasure—and sing along to!—year after year.
When Santa Was a Baby
Linda Bailey, illustrated by Geneviève Godbout
I know nothing about this one, but it looked cute.
Publisher Description: Santa’s parents think their little one is absolutely wonderful, even though he has a booming voice instead of a baby’s gurgle, loves to stand in front of the refrigerator, gives his birthday presents away, trains his hamsters to pull a matchbox sleigh … and has an unusual interest in chimneys. The adorably funny portrait of an oddball kid who fulfills his destiny – and two very proud parents.
The Christmas Puppy
A vintage classic beautifully reissued for a new generation.
Publisher Description: This year, every child in town wants a toy dog for Christmas, but Santa runs out before he can get to Polly’s house! So instead, Santa makes the holiday extra special by giving Polly a sweet, lovable, real puppy. Polly—and the puppy—couldn’t be happier!
The Tale of Rescue
Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows
Who doesn’t love a good tale about a dog rescuing a family caught in a blizzard?
Publisher Description: When a blizzard traps a family outside in a whiteout, a cattle dog devises a stunning rescue in a moving, suspenseful, and gorgeously illustrated story.
A family—a mother, a father, and their ten-year-old son—have come all the way from Florida to the Appalachian foothills to experience the wonder of a snowy weekend. At a nearby farm, a cattle dog is working, as she does every day, driving her forty head of cattle from pasture to corral and back again. And then, suddenly, a blizzard descends. The family is trapped outside, disoriented in the whiteout. They are panicked, exhausted, freezing, and stranded in waist-deep drifts. From off in the distance, the cattle dog has heard their faint, snow-drowned cries. Her inexhaustible attention turns to saving them. This stirring tale is both a compelling story of survival and a meditation on the tremendous will of man’s best friend.
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
L. Frank Baum
I’ve never read these myself, but it’s hard to go wrong with a classic Christmas tale by the author of Wizard of Oz!
Publisher Description: L. Frank Baum’s The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus was first published in 1902, two years after his Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Drawing on the attributes of Santa Claus from Clement Moore’s 1822 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (“The Night Before Christmas”), Baum chronicles Santa’s life from his childhood in an enchanted forest—the same forest that is the source of all magic in the land of Oz—to his destiny of sharing gifts and spreading love to his fellow man. Along the way we witness him making his first toys, learn the origins of the Christmas tree and Christmas stockings, and discover the stories behind many Christmas secrets, like why Santa slides down chimneys, how he picks his reindeer, and how he delivers all his toys in one night. Later adapted into multiple animated films, and published here with the original illustrations from the first edition, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus evinces the charm, warmth, and fantasy that made L. Frank Baum’s Oz stories American classics.