Part of our efforts to enjoy the winter holidays with kids, and distract us from the facts that:
a) we have cabin fever
b) we are a long way from anywhere warm
c) I have a cold, and
d) the whinging has (occasionally) reached fever pitch
is to pull out the WINTER THEMED picture books. I have chosen some titles that, like all good picture books, have a story that resonates with readers of all ages. The illustrations fire up the imagination with winter scenes that instantly transport you in to their world. And there is something that will capture a small piece of your heart in each of them. I promise!!
So straight after a big bowl of porridge in the morning, Arch and I curl up on the couch, sip hot chocolate and read a few favourites. It doesn't generally snow in Sydney, but the icy winds are enough to take us there...
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson (illustrated by Axel Scheffler) warms the cockles of your heart (whatever they are) by taking you on the wild wintery (mis)adventures of Stick Man who has become separated from his Stick Family. Lonely and lost, Stick Man tries his best to get back to his Stick Lady Love and their stick children three... Whether you had a pet stick as a child or not (I did!) the multiple uses of sticks, will ensure you never look at them with quite the same disinterest again. Julia Donaldson has a true gift for rhythm and rhyme and characters that entrance and delight. This is definitely one of her best.
This book along with some of my other winter-pics does tie in with Christmas - but this story is an all-year favourite.
It's Snow Day by Richard Curtis (illustrated by Rebecca Cobb) is another heart warmer on a chilly winter's day. Living in the Southern Hemisphere, I have no experience of snow days, when (bliss!) school is called off due to icy weather. But in this book, it happens! However, one boy, Danny, and one teacher, Mr Trapper, turn up. So what happens when the strictest teacher and the worst student are left alone together? Well needless to say, things don't look good. Slowly over the course of the day, things start to change. Bonding over building a snowman two lonely people find that their unhappiness starts to thaw... Get this book quick. You'll love it.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis (Illustrated by Christian Birmingham) is an abridged version, which would never be my first choice for this epic story. Definitely read the full version to your kids. It will grab their attention and imagination with a glowing heart of gold and life-changing allegories that touch hearts of all ages. That said, the beautiful pictures by Christian Birmingham are a glimpse into the world of Narnia that complement the story perfectly. Enjoy.
Don't Call Me Little Bunny by Gregoire Solotareff has been one of my favourite picture books for years. Written and published originally in France (1988) with used copies available on Amazon it is a quirky and edgy tale about a little bunny with 'tude. Living high up in snowy Alps, Jack Rabbit, affectionately known as "Little Bunny" by friends and family alike, is frankly, sick of his nick-name. In an effort to show that he is not cute and cuddly, Little Bunny (sorry, Jack Rabbit) takes to a life of crime. Making a true friend along the way, Jack realises there's more to life than being angry about a nick-name that doesn't change who he really is. Pictures are fantastic, and the humour is top rate.
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner (Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal) showcases a beautifully detailed and illustrated secret world of what lives in and under the snow. It's a little like a documentary in picture book form - who knew there was so much going on in a world of white? My five-year-old loves this and never tires of it.
Dream Snow by Eric Carle is my last choice, and yes again it is a Christmassy story. The wonderful and whimsical illustrations and creative extra extra bits (clear plastic overlay pages add snow to the scenes) bring to life the magic of the snowy sneason (sorry, season). You'll find more to love with Carle's colourful characters and gently funny tale. Kids will squeal with delight at the vibrancy and special surprise on the last page. It is a timely change before spring hits and you have to start reading the very hungry caterpillar again!
Happy Winter Reading!!!
Here's a link to my post this time last year on The Top Ten Holiday Tasks to Keep Everyone Happy. Check it out!