Archive for the ‘Winter Children’s Books, Learning Games and Printables’ Category

Storytime Standouts Looks at a New Picture Book: The Hockey Song

Posted on October 9th, 2016 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts looks at The Hockey Song by Stompin' Tom Connors, published by Greystone BooksThe Hockey Song written by Stompin’ Tom Connors and illustrated by Gary Clement
Hockey-Theme Picture Book published by Greystone Books

OH! The good ol’ Hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ Hockey game.

An outdoor game of pick up hockey is the setting for this fun, energetic tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors’ widely known anthem. The well-lit rink is in a city and it glistens beneath the stars on a wintry evening. It feels as though it would be a the centerpiece of a community, drawing players from far and wide for a casual, drop in game.

Engaging illustrations show us the game from ice level and above, depicting players from various races who are young and old, petite and burly and male and female. It is fun to see more than one multi generational family group; moms and dads enjoying the game with their children.

The game begins with just two players on the ice but soon swells and, by the end of the song, the rink is crowded with enthusiastic hockey players. Some wear familiar NHL-style jerseys while others are dressed less traditionally. Some wear hockey helmets and others have toques, headphones, pony tales and stocking caps. Young readers will enjoy playing eye spy and noticing all sorts of interesting details about the dozens of players who finish the game.

Very good fun for children aged four and up. The Hockey Song would be a great gift for a hockey-loving grandparent to share with a newcomer to the game.

The Hockey Song at Amazon.com

The Hockey Song at Amazon.ca

Celebrate the Holidays with a Christmas Picture Book

Posted on December 23rd, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Christmas is just a couple of days away. In this post we look at two Christmas picture books that feature characters from popular picture book series


Pete the Cat Saves Christmas picture bookPete the Cat Saves Christmas written by Eric Litwin and illustrated by James Dean
Christmas Picture Book published by Harper Collins Children’s Books

Pete the Cat website

The first Pete the Cat’s picture book was (self) published in 2008. Now, there are several best-selling picture books about Pete and more will be arriving in early 2014.

In Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Santa is sick and in bed. He doesn’t want to cancel Christmas so he calls Pete the Cat and asks him to take care of his Christmas Eve toy delivery. Pete decides that despite his small stature, he can take care of the monumental job. Pete climbs into his mini bus and heads for the North Pole. With the help of some very cat-like elves, Pete loads up his minibus, he hitches up Santa’s reindeer and takes off.

Fans of Pete the Cat will enjoy his can-do attitude, his signature song and his enthusiasm for getting an important job done right!

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas at Amazon.com

Pete The Cat Saves Christmas at Amazon.ca

Llama Llama Holiday Drama Christmas picture bookLlama Llama Holiday Drama written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney
Christmas Picture Book published by Viking a Division of Penguin Young Readers Group

Llama Llama website

Poor Llama Llama. December seems to be all about waiting. The days just don’t pass quickly enough. There is shopping to do and there are choices to make. There are cookies to bake and presents to wrap. It is just too much!

To much music, too much fluff
Too much making, too much stuff!
Too much everything for Llama…”

Thankfully Mama Llama stops everything and reminds LLama that the best gift of all is spending time with someone we love.

Readers will infer that Llama Llama is excited about Christmas given the references to a December calendar and gift giving along with a tree, Santa and a Christmas stocking in the illustrations but the story itself does not refer to Christmas. In addition to Christmas references, we see a Menorah and Challah bread and Llama plays with a dreidel.

Young children and their parents will recognize that any celebration can be stress-inducing for adults and children. Llama Llama Holiday Drama is a reminder to slow things down and make lots of time for snuggles.

Llama Llama Holiday Drama at Amazon.com

Llama Llama Holiday Drama at Amazon.ca

The Night Before Christmas by Barbara Reid

Posted on December 9th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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The Night Before Christmas by Barbara ReidThe Night Before Christmas written by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Barbara Reid
Traditional Christmas poem published by North Winds Press an imprint of Scholastic Canada


Accomplished award-winning author-illustrator Barbara Reid rethinks Clement Moore’s traditional poem, imagining a large family of mice bedding down on Christmas Eve. Home is a snow-caovered hollow log, filled with small treasures including coins, buttons, wooden blocks, nails, popsicle sticks and spools. Youngsters will be captivated by the family’s repurposed home furnishings and the busy family. Poor Mama and Papa Mouse must be exhausted. As some their many children cavort in bunk beds, one reads a book under the covers and another hopes for a glass of water before going to sleep.

We like Ms. Reid’s choice to leave the traditional poem untouched but to replace an oft-seen illustration of Santa smoking a pipe with one of him enjoying yummy candy-cane.

Barbara Reid’s inventive take on The Night Before Christmas is one that will captivate children aged three and up. It will be enjoyed in a group read aloud setting but will be most appreciated by those who have a chance to carefully examine the wonderful illustrations created using Plasticine.

The Night Before Christmas at Amazon.com

The Night Before Christmas at Amazon.ca

A Non Smoking Twas the Night Before Christmas…

Posted on December 4th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Non smoking Twas the Night Before ChristmasTwas the Night Before Christmas written by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Elena Almazova and Vitaly Shvarov
Traditional Christmas poem (edited) [self] published by Grafton and Scratch Publishers

Wow – Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century may just be one of the most controversial picture books we’ve written about! Readers appear sharply divided on whether the famous poem by Clement C. Moore ought to be edited to remove references to smoking and a pipe.

In this recent adaptation of the classic poem, Pamela McColl has removed these stanzas from the poem we know so well.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

Is this censorship or is it a case of adapting a poem for 21st century sensibilities?

I am ‘mom’ to two boys and I share Ms. McColl’s aversion to smoking. Unlike her, I’ve never smoked a cigarette. In fact, despite reading Twas the Night Before Christmas dozens (if not hundreds) of times, I have never been tempted to try smoking tobacco or anything else. Smoking has never appealed to me and the fact that Clement Moore’s Santa Claus smokes a pipe has not influenced my opinion favorably or unfavorably about the habit.

For those who feel that Mr. Moore’s classic poem could sway an impressionable child, Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century may provide a solution. We suspect most children will not miss the lines from the poem, nor will they miss the pipe or the smoke – instead they will dream of sugar plums and a bounty of gifts delivered by an elf.

Disney-like illustrations will appeal to some children however others may ask why dozens of candles and a roaring fireplace are left burning while the family sleeps and a table lamp sits nearby. Those who look carefully will notice that some of the Christmas stockings change color.

This is a picture book that will appeal to some book buyers – simply because of the stance taken on smoking. Unfortunately, the illustrations are disappointing and lack artistry.

Visit the book’s website

Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century at Amazon.com

Twas the Night Before Christmas: Edited by Santa Claus for the Benefit of Children of the 21st Century at Amazon.ca

Gold Medal Winner 2012 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Best Holiday Book (the best children’s books published each year for the North American market)

Benjamin Franklin Award – Independent Book Publishers Association

Santa quits smoking in edited version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ – transcript of The Current radio interview with Pamela McColl

Score a Winning Hockey Picture Book!

Posted on November 15th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Hockey Picture book

My youngest son has played hockey since he was five years old. For years, bedtime stories included books about playing hockey. Many of these stories include great messages about friendship, teamwork, bullying and working together toward a common goal.


hockey picture book Clancy with the Puck
Clancy With the Puck written and illustrated by Chris Mizzoni
Hockey picture book (adaptation of a traditional story) published by Raincoast Books

Just as Casey could hit a baseball, Clancy is a star when it comes to hockey. When Clancy Cooke joins the Hogtown Maple Buds, hopes are raised for a Stanley Cup win. Alas, in the final moments of a playoff game, when Clancy takes a penalty shot, “The puck deflected off the post, like a comet to the sky. The Buds had lost the Stanley Cup – and the fans went home to cry.” A sure winner, especially for hockey fans and those familiar with the classic story of Casey at the Bat.

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.com

Clancy with the Puck at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Hockey CardThe Hockey Card Written by Jack Siemiatycki & Avi Slodovnick and illustrated by Doris Barrette
Hockey picture book published by Lobster Press

When Uncle Jack shares the story of the best hockey card he ever had, we take pleasure in a glimpse of the great Maurice Richard and a schoolyard duel against a tough hockey card shark. This is a book that made a lasting impression in our household – my youngest son is now a 13 year old bantam hockey player and just noticed me working on this post. He remarked, “Now that was a good book.”

The Hockey Card at Amazon.com

The Hockey Card at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Hockey TreeThe Hockey Tree written by David Ward and illustrated by Brian Deines
Hockey picture book published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.

This is a favourite wintertime picture book that beautifully captures a Canadian winter day. Set in Saskatchewan, Owen and Holly are excited because Humboldt Lake has finally frozen over and it is a perfect morning for a spirited game of pond hockey. The two children are excited to drive to the lake with their dad and before long their skates are laced and the three are laughing and playing together. Unfortunately, just as the family starts to talk about taking a break and enjoying a mug of steaming hot chocolate, Holly smacks at the puck and it flies across the frozen lake and disappears into an ice fishing hole.

The children are terribly disappointed that they’ve lost their puck and assume that the game will have to end. Dad is not quite so willing to concede. He helps Owen and Holly to find a fallen poplar tree near the lake. Once a suitable tree is found, dad saws a piece from the trunk to create a wooden puck and the hockey game resumes.

Brian Deines’ luminous illustrations include icy cold winter scenes that are made warm by his depiction of the joy of playing a favourite sport with friends and family.

A lovely book to share with young children, this is one of my favourite wintertime picture books.

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.com

The Hockey Tree at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book The Moccasin GoalieThe Moccasin Goalie written and illustrated by William Roy Brownridge
Hockey picture book published by Orca Book Publishers

Danny, Petou, Anita and Marcel live in a small, prairie town and they love to play hockey. They play road hockey when the weather is warm and ice hockey when the temperature cools and their outdoor rink is flooded. Everything changes when a new team is organized for their town. The four friends can’t wait to be part of the fun. They are devastated when only Marcel is selected to play for the Wolves. Anita is refused a spot because she is a girl, Petou is considered too small for the team and Danny is refused a place on the team because his disability means that he cannot wear skates.

All three children are terribly disappointed to be left out but, as the end of the hockey season approaches, the Wolves’ goalie is injured and the coach asks Danny to play.

The Moccasin Goalie is the first of a three book series. The Final Game is the second book. Victory at Paradise Hill is the third. Gorgeous illustrations – many using a pointillist technique – beautifully depict the joy of outdoor wintertime play. The story itself invites discussion of fairness, friendship and overcoming challenges.

Highly recommended for children five years and older.

The Moccasin Goalie at Amazon.com

The Moccasin Goalie at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book  Over at the RinkOver at the Rink – A Hockey Counting Book written by Stella Parthenhiou Grasso and illustrated by Scot Ritchie
Hockey picture book (adaptation of a familiar song) published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.

Exuberant fun awaits in this hockey-theme adaption of Over in the Meadow. Young hockey fans will enjoy discovering all the elements of a great game – anthem singing, on ice- officials, a close score, players defending and scoring, earnest coaching, an enthusiastic mascot and excited fans. The wintry outdoor rink setting adds to the festive atmosphere.

Good fun for children four years and older.

Over at the Rink: A Hockey Counting Book at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book SplintersSplinters – written and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester
Hockey Picture Book published by Tundra Books

Cindy loves to play hockey but it is an expensive sport to play and her family is poor.   Showing great determination and resourcefulness, Cindy is excited to finally earn enough money to join a neighbourhood team.  Unfortunately, at the rink, Cindy encounters three nasty Blister Sisters who make playing hockey very unpleasant. 

At her very first practice, she met the Blister Sisters. They could tell she was one good hockey player, and they were jealous.

They insulted her old equipment… Then they made her look bad on the ice… They could do this because their mom was the coach

Thank goodness Cindy has a fairy goaltender watching out for her. The fairy’s magic provides Cindy with a dazzling new uniform, gleaming skates and a Zamboni – to transport her to the all-star team tryouts. Cindy rushes to the rink and does not disappoint – she is a star.

Knowing that the magic spell will end once the final buzzer has sounded, Cindy rushes away from the rink, leaving a shiny skate behind.

Coach Prince is determined to match the shiny skate to the player who wore it during the tryouts.

Coach Prince went from locker room to locker room, trying the skate on every girl she could find. Finally she arrived at Cindy’s rink ensuring a happy ending for Cindy and her new team.

Splinters will have greatest appeal for children who are familiar with Cinderella. We love the idea of taking a familiar story, like Cinderella and retelling it with new characters and a contemporary setting. In a primary classroom, we suggest using Splinters as a jumping off point, inspiring young writers to imagine other situations for Cinderella to encounter.

Splinters at Amazon.com

Splinters at Amazon.ca

hockey picture book Z is For ZamboniZ is for Zamboni – A Hockey Alphabet Written by Matt Napier and illustrated by Melanie Rose
Hockey theme alphabet book published by Sleeping Bear Press

If hockey plays a part in your household, this enticing hockey alphabet book will appeal to the entire family. Young children will enjoy the simple rhymes while older children and adults will appreciate the more detailed information bordering the charming illustrations.

Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.com

Z is for Zamboni: A Hockey Alphabet at Amazon.ca

Free Hockey Theme Printables for Kids

Hockey Theme Writing Paper

image of PDF icon  Hockey Theme Writing Paper for Kids

image of PDF icon  Ice Hockey Picture Dictionary


Crouching Tiger highlights Tai Chi, Chinese New Year and Family

Posted on January 22nd, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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image of cover art for Crouching TigerCrouching Tiger written by Ying Chang Compestine and illustrated by Yan Nascimbene
Picture book about Tai Chi, Chinese New Year and a child’s relationship with his grandfather published by Candlewick Press

Link to Chinese New Year writing paper for kids

When Vinson’s grandfather leaves China and arrives in America for a visit, Vinson is excited. But, from the moment his grandfather arrives, Vinson is surprised and confused. His grandfather persists in calling him “Ming Da” and he dances in the garden slowly and quietly. Vinson is familiar with kung fu and, curious about the new moves, he asks his grandfather to teach him tai chi.

Vinson and his grandfather meet in the yard after school and Grandpa teaches Vinson. The young boy is impatient, he prefers kung fu’s kicks and punches. Tai chi leaves his knees tired and his arms heavy. Vinson wonders why his grandfather insists on speaking Chinese with him despite the fact that he knows how to speak English well.

When Vinson’s mom says that Grandpa is going to accompany Vinson to school, he is embarrassed. He chooses to read while on the bus. He and his grandfather sit together, each stealing glances at the other. Similarly, Vinson chooses to wear his headphones rather than talk with his grandpa. It is only when Grandpa’s surprising and athletic intervention prevents a serious accident that Vinson pauses to reevaluate his perceptions.

As time passes, Vinson becomes more adept at tai chi and soon Grandpa adds a new twist to their work. Vinson carries a long bamboo pole and learns the cat walk.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, Vinson’s hair is cut, the family cleans the house and enjoys a traditional meal. When Grandpa gives Vinson an embroidered red silk jacket, he asks him to wear it for the upcoming parade. Vinson is embarrassed. He worries that his friends will see him and he feels self conscious about the new jacket.

As Vinson and his grandfather approach the parade route, Vinson gains appreciation for how his grandfather is regarded in the community and the tremendous pride he has for his grandson. When the two of them arrive at the start of the parade, Vinson discovers that he will be responsible for carrying a long bamboo pole, teasing the parade lions by waving a dangling cabbage.

An Author’s Note at the conclusion of Crouching Tiger includes notes about tai chi and Chinese New Year as well as a small glossary.

Beautifully illustrated with pen and ink as well as watercolors, readers will notice small details such as Vinson’s untied shoelace and his body language when his father cuts his hair.

Crouching Tiger invites discussion about family relationships and respect for one’s heritage. In a classroom, it could be used as a Chinese New Year resource and will be particularly interesting to children who are learning about martial arts. On each two page spread there is a small illustration of a tai chi stance.

Best suited to children aged five years and up.

The Chinese American Librarians Association Best Book of 2011 and Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List for 2012

Crouching Tiger at Amazon.com

Crouching Tiger at Amazon.ca


A New Year’s Reunion, An Award Winning Chinese New Year Picture Book

Posted on January 18th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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image of cover art for A New Year's ReunionA New Year’s Reunion written by Yu Li-Qion and illustrated by Zhu Cheng-Liang
Chinese New Year picture book published by Candlewick Press

Link to Chinese New Year writing paper for kids

Maoman’s papa is a housebuilder. He works far from home and only returns to his family once each year. On the day he arrives home, Maoman is hesitant at first. He looks different to her. Once Papa gets his hair cut, the family makes sticky rice balls and it is time for Maoman to snuggle into bed with her parents.

As firecrackers explode nearby, Maoman drifts off to sleep, The following day, the family enjoys eating their rice balls together. They leave their home and go to visit friends. Maoman discovers that her friends are also outside and visiting.image from A New Year's Reunion

As Chinese New Year unfolds, Maoman sees a dragon dance and she plays outside in the snow with her friends. When she discovers her fortune coin is missing, she is devastated. Fortunately, the coin is not lost in the snow. Maoman finds it in her jacket and uses it to establish a lovely, heartwarming family tradition.

Beautiful illustrations lovingly depict Maoman’s family, her home and community. References to sticky rice balls, hair cuts, new clothes, firecrackers, a fortune coin, house repairs, a red envelope and a dragon dance provide all sorts of information about traditions associated with Chinese New Year.

A New Year’s Reunion was awarded a Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award by The New York Times Book Review in 2011 and it won the Feng ZiKai Chinese Children’s Picture Book Award.

A New Year’s Reunion at Amazon.com

New Year’s Reunion at Amazon.ca

This year (2013) New Year’s Day falls on Sunday, February 10

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart – A Sweet Treat for Valentine’s Day

Posted on January 13th, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

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Storytime Standouts looks at Lilly’s Chocolate Heart, a sweet story about Lilly (of Purple Plastic Purse fame) and her one remaining foil-wrapped Valentine’s Day chocolate heart.

image of cover art for Lilly's Chocolate HeartLilly’s Chocolate Heart written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

Lilly is a beloved picturebook character. Best known for Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse , she also appears in Lilly’s Big Day, Chester’s Day, Wemberly Worried and Julius The Baby of the World.

Before going to bed on Valentine’s Day, Lilly must decide what to do with her one remaining foil-wrapped Valentine’s Day chocolate.

image of foil wrapped chocolate hearts“Lilly wanted to find the perfect place to keep the heart. She looked under her bed, but it was too dusty. She looked inside her dresser, but it was too messy.

Those who know Lilly, will agree that she is exhuberant and sometimes just a little bit impulsive so finding the perfect place for the precious chocolate is quite a challenge.

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart will be a delicious treat for Lilly fans who will no doubt notice her purple plastic purse hanging from a dresser drawer handle and a painting of the purse that hangs on a wall.

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart at Amazon.com

Lilly’s Chocolate Heart at Amazon.ca

You will also be interested in our Valentine’s Day printables. Storytime Standouts is on Pinterest – Check out our Valentine’s Day Board



Christmas Picture Books – Carolyn’s List of Favourites

Posted on December 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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I can’t imagine the Christmas holidays without our special collection of Christmas picture books. Earlier this month, Jody shared her favourites. I have finally put together my own post. Jody and I both love The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham and read it on Christmas Eve. I decided to write about a different version of the poem and mention that reading the same text with different illustrations is great for youngsters. It encourages taking a thoughtful look at the illustrations and making comparisons.

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas early learning printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here. You will find more posts about Christmas picture books here.

cover art for Jan Brett's The Night Before ChristmasThe Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett
Christmas picture book published by Putnam Juvenile

This version of the classic Christmas poem is filled to the brim with wonderful extras. Each beautiful two-page spread is framed with details that might otherwise never be seen. As reindeer are prancing and pawing on the roof, we get a glimpse of some special tree ornaments, Santa Claus appears in the fireplace and anxious Pa quickly descends the stairs.

Fans of Jan Brett’s work will want to visit her website and discover an abundance of printables including coloring sheets and cards.

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at Amazon.com

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Jan Brett at Amazon.ca


cover art for The Polar ExpressThe Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Christmas picture book published by Houghton Mifflin

Long before The Polar Express was made into a movie, it was a Caldecott Award winning Christmas picture book. When a friend says, “There is no Santa,” a young boy hopes desperately that his friend is incorrect. On Christmas Eve, he goes to bed and listens intently for the sound of sleigh bells. He does not hear sleigh bells but rather hissing and clanging. He looks out his bedroom window and is amazed to see an enormous train, waiting outside his house.

A magical story, The Polar Express will encourage children and adults to believe in the magic of Christmas.

The Polar Express at Amazon.com

The Polar Express at Amazon.ca

Christmas theme printables for preschool and kindergarten

Posted on December 13th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Free Christmas Printables for Young Readers and Writers from Storytime Standouts

We offer all sorts of preschool and kindergarten early learning printables on Storytime Standouts. Today I thought I would put together a post that groups all of the Christmas theme printables for preschool and kindergarten together.





All of our early learning printables, including these Christmas theme printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to download it to access the files.

Many of our free preschool and kindergarten printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website, please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.



You will find our entire selection of printable alphabets here, our writing paper for kids here and all of our preschool, kindergarten and teacher printables here. You will find our posts about special Christmas books here.



Christmas theme printables for preschool and kindergarten

Enjoy these Christmas songs, rhymes and chants in your preschool or kindergarten classroom

image of PDF icon  Santa's Spectacles

Fun finger play for a Christmas theme preschool or kindergarten circle time

image of PDF icon  Five Little Bells

Adapt as a preschool or kindergarten felt board activity or fingerplay for circle time

image of PDF icon  The Lights on the Tree

A fun Christmas song for preschool or kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Gingerbread Theme - Poem and Song

image of PDF icon  Winter Snow Fingerplays

Winter snow fingerplays for preschool and kindergarten

image of PDF icon  Five Little Snowmen

Use as a fingerplay or felt board story

image of PDF icon  Frosty the Snowman

If you appreciate our free preschool and kindergarten early learning printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.comlink to Amazon or Amazon.ca.link to Amazon


Twas the Night Before Christmas Crossword Puzzle

image of PDF icon  'Twas The Night Before Christmas Crossword Puzzle

Challenge older children with this crossword based on the traditional Christmas poem by Clement Moore

Winter Word Search Puzzle

image of PDF icon  Winter Fun Word Search

A free printable Winter theme word search for children


Christmas Printables- Writing Paper for Kids

Young writers love our interlined paper

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Christmas Tree

Christmas theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Gingerbread

Gingerbread theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Santa, Sleigh and Reindeer

Christmas theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Snowman

Snow theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Christmas Picture Dictionary


image of PDF icon  Christmas Picture Dictionary

Free printable Christmas picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Winter Picture Dictionary

Free printable Winter picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.




Printable Alphabets

image of PDF icon  A Christmas Alphabet

An attractive free printable Chrstimas alphabet

image of PDF icon  A Winter Alphabet

Free printable wintertime theme letters for preschool or kindergarten



Christmas Picture Books – Jody’s List of Holiday Favourites

Posted on December 8th, 2011 by Jody

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Christmas picture books are in a class of their own.
At home, we always keep our Christmas picture books separate from the rest of the piles. We pull them out in late November and tuck them away at the end of the season with all of the other decorations. Just like when we unwrap each ornament that has been packed away for a year, pulling out each story is equally exciting. We forget which ones we have over the year or which new ones we may have purchased at the end of the season and stored away. Over the years, we’ve read many different Christmas tales, but some stay with you throughout the season and beyond.



The Night Before Christmas illustration by Christian Birmingham





Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here .






Here are some of my favourite Christmas picture books…

image of cover art for The Night Before Christmas The Night Before Christmas written by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
Christmas picture book published by Running Press Kids

The classic tale that we all know; I love reading this every Christmas Eve. It makes me think of my mom, who recites the words along with me as I read because she knows it by heart. I love that the wonderment of Christmas is displayed through an adult’s eyes.

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Christian Birmingham at Amazon.com

The Night Before Christmas illustrated by Christian Birmingham at Amazon.ca


image of cover art for Are You Grumpy Santa!Are you Grumpy Santa? by Gregg & Evan Spiridellis
Christmas Picture Book published by Disney-Hyperion

This is, hands down, one of the cutest Christmas books I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Just like anyone else, Santa can only take so much and finally becomes grumpy when nothing goes his way. The rhyme and the pictures are great. It never fails to amuse me, regardless of how many times I read it.

Are You Grumpy Santa? at Amazon.com

Are Your Grumpy Santa? At Amazon.ca




image of cover art for Queen of ChristmasQueen of Christmas by Mary Engelbreit
Christmas picture book published by HarperCollins

I have always enjoyed Mary Engelbreit’s illustrations. I often buy calendars with her pictures because they are sweet and have nice phrases on them. I purchased this book a few years ago and the illustrations are beautiful. It’s the story of a young girl who is working hard to finish her incredibly long Christmas list before Christmas Eve. Of course, in the end, she learns it’s not what’s on the list that counts. When I purchased this book, it came with a paper doll and clothes, which my children love as much as the book.

Queen of Christmas at Amazon.com

Queen of Christmas at Amazon.ca


image of cover art for Christmas Around the WorldChristmas Around the World by Chuck Fischer
Christmas Pop Up Book published by Little, Brown and Company

My mom gave me this book a couple years ago. You are never too old for a good pop up book. Just this morning, my youngest opened one of the pages and said, “Wow! Mommy, look at this Christmassy page!” Featuring a number of different countries, it includes pull outs, interesting facts, and beautiful images.

Christmas Around the World: A Pop Up Book at Amazon.com

Christmas Around the World: A Pop Up Book at Amazon.ca






image of cover art for Snowmen at NightSnowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner
Snowman Picture Book published by Harcourt

The illustrations in this story are very fun. It’s a favourite with my classroom kids, who like to imagine what a snowman could possibly do when no one is looking!

Snowmen at Night at Amazon.com

Snowmen at Night at Amazon.ca



image of cover art for Olivia Helps with ChristmasOlivia Helps with Christmas by Ian Falconer
Christmas Picture Book published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

I can’t help but love every Olivia book and pairing her with my favourite holiday is just a bonus. As they wait for Santa to finally arrive, Olivia finds many ways to help her mom. My favourite part is when she makes a special mini Christmas tree “centre piece”.

Olivia Helps with Christmas at Amazon.com

Olivia Helps with Christmas at Amazon.ca



image of cover art for How the Grinch Stole ChristmasHow the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Christmas Picture Book published by Random House Books for Young Readers

I love the rhyme, the characters, and I absolutely love when the Grinch’s heart grows! It’s such a cute and fun story. I’m very glad that my kids are no longer scared of it!

Grinch Printables from Seussville.com

How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Amazon.com

How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Amazon.ca

Aside from reading to my own children, I love the joy my students get from these picture books. Though we teach differently in the intermediate grades, there is no age, or grade, limit for enjoying these stories.


Spectacular Christmas Treat: The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition: A Pop-up Celebration

Posted on November 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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image of Christmas pop-up book The 12 Days of ChristmasLast evening my nine year old son and I snuggled up and shared an incredible Christmas pop-up book, The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition by Robert Sabuda. I was somewhat familiar with Mr. Sabuda’s artistry but this book is truly extraordinary. My son was enthralled and first called, “Daddy, Daddy, You’ve got to see this!” and then, “I have to take this to ‘share’ at school!”

The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition created by Robert Sabuda
Christmas pop-up book published by Little Simon



Truly a spectactular pop up book, The 12 Days of Christmas is a visual delight from beginning to end. Gorgeous, mainly white, paper cut outs of a partridge, turtle doves, french hens, include a music box, scissors and a snow globe. The final spread, which includes a lit Christmas tree, is fabulous.

Mr. Sabuda’s website is well worth a visit as he provides detailed instructions for ‘simple’ pops ups you can make.

The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition: A Pop-up Celebration at Amazon.com

The 12 Days of Christmas Anniversary Edition: A Pop-up Celebration at Amazon.ca


Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas early learning printables – You will find all of our Christmas and Winter-themed printables grouped together here. You will find more posts about Christmas picture books here.


Christmas Baking with Kids – Remember to Add a Pinch of “Love”

Posted on November 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Cooking and baking with kids is worth the mess

cover art for Kids in the Holiday KitchenKids in the Holiday Kitchen written by Jessica Strand and Tammy Massman-Johnson with photographs by James Baigrie
Cookbook highlighting Baking with Kids published by Chronicle Books



This is a wonderful time of year to engage young children in baking and cooking. Although messy at times, baking with kids and preparing yummy treats to share with others will create memories to last a lifetime – for you and your children. I remember creating sticky and lopsided gingerbread houses with my young boys. I think they ate more of the “decorations” than they actually managed to attach to the houses! Another year, we helped Grandma bake cookies because she was recovering from a stroke and couldn’t manage by herself. The kitchen was a disaster afterwards but the laughter, memories and delicious goodies more than compensated.

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen is a fun holiday book that is sure to inspire you and your children. Offering recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts as well as craft ideas, the photographs will have you reaching for cookie cutters, rolling pins and icing sugar.

Meet the authors and hear about the book on YouTube

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen: Making, Baking, Giving at Amazon.com

Kids in the Holiday Kitchen: Making, Baking, Giving at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts has many free Christmas printables – You will find our Christmas songs, rhymes and fingerplays here, Christmas interlined paper here and Christmas words with pictures here.



Ruby’s Wish is a Gem With an Important Message for Girls

Posted on November 3rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Ruby's Wish is a Gem With an Important Message for GirlsRuby’s Wish written by Shirin Yim Bridges and illustrated by Sockie Blackall
Picture book published by Chronicle Books



Many years ago, Ruby lived with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in a huge house in a city in China. At that time, girls did not typically have a chance to go to school but Ruby was fortunate. In her household, because there were many children, a teacher came and taught all the boys. Unlike her girl cousins, Ruby did not want to be married; she wanted to go to university. Each day, Ruby worked hard to study with the boys in addition to learning all of the household skills expected of girls.

Ruby’s Wish is beautifully illustrated and lovingly told. Based on a true story, Ruby’s Wish will be enjoyed by children five years and up.

Ruby’s Wish at Amazon.com

Ruby’s Wish at Amazon.ca

You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.

Don’t miss our page of quotes about diversity.



A Special Gem – Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time

Posted on October 30th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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A Special Gem for Newly Independent Readers Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet TimeHoundsley and Catina and the Quiet Time written by James Howe and illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay
Chapter book series for kindergarten – grade three published by Candlewick Press





When Houndsley and Catina are unexpectedly snowed in, Houndsley is quite happy to relax and enjoy The Quiet Time. Catina is not nearly as content. She has things to do and places to go. Eventually the two settle in and spend an enjoyable day playing board games, baking cookies and writing poetry. In the evening, they join their friends for a snowy outdoor concert. The musicians

began to play so softly that the notes fell on the listening ears like snowflakes on waiting tongues, gently, softly, there for a flicker before melting away.

Beautiful language and equally special illustrations are terrific for newly independent readers, the Houndsley and Catina books are also a very good choice for younger children who are ready to enjoy a longer read-aloud book.

Highly recommended.

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time at Amazon.com

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time on Amazon.ca


Rebus Chants

Posted on August 26th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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Have you tried rebus chants in your early literacy programs? I present programs for 4,5 and 6 year old children. I use a variety of materials and have had considerable success with rebus chants. The chants are usually poems where several words are replaced with pictures. They are great for emergent readers because there is frequently repeated, predictable text. The young child does not have to decode all the words – the rebus pictures fill-in-the-blanks.

There are many sources of rebus chants. This is one that I created

image of PDF icon  Counting Snowmen Rebus

My favourites are created by Vera Trembach and published by Rainbow Horizons Publishing. Ms. Trembach offers seasonal and theme-related chants – there is truly something for everyone.

Whether you checkout the Canadian Rainbow Horizons Publishing website or the American website , you’ll find free teaching units and detailed information including previews of the chant books.

A Picture Book About Friendship: You by Stephen Michael King

Posted on March 7th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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image of cover art for You by Stephen Michael KingYou written and illustrated by Stephen Michael King
Picture book about friendship published by Greenwillow Books

Light and breezy, You: A Story of Love and Friendship has got it right. The world is more colourful, more musical and more exciting when shared with a true friend.

In this picture book about friendship, Happy and engaging illustrations invite us to watch as a friends work together to transform a drab birdhouse into a bright and inviting home. When the work is done, they joyfully play music together and manage to endure the highs and lows that life brings.

The world is an exciting place, with ups, downs, around and arounds, and far-far-aways. But the most exciting place in my world is with… you.

Well-suited to very young children, You is a picture book about friendship and love. It would be a a great story to share before a parent or friend leaves on a trip.

Be sure to visit the author’s website (link above) and read about Stephen Michael King’s experience as a hearing impaired child and his path to becoming an author-illustrator.

You: A Story of Love and Friendship at Amazon.com

You: A Story of Love and Friendship at Amazon.ca


You may also be interested in our Valentine’s Day printables. Storytime Standouts is on Pinterest – Check out our Valentine’s Day Board

Zero Kisses for Me – Not Even a Tiny Bit Bleah

Posted on March 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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image of cover art for Zero Kisses for MeZero Kisses for Me written by Manuela Monari and illustrated by Virginie Soumagnac
Picture book published by Tundra Books

I have the good fortune to share read alouds with children regularly in my classes. I always look for engaging stories that will hook my students. Sometimes I am lucky enough to find a book that doesn’t just hook the kids – some books have children talking about the story a week later and begging for a reread. Zero Kisses for Me is one of those delightful books that children love to see, listen to and cheer about.

Life is tough when you’re always being kissed.” When you’re kissed before you go out in the rain and when you’re kissed and called, “Honeybunch” or “Flower Bud.” By the end of the day, you can be “tired of being everybody’s tootsy-wootsy… huggy-bear… kissy-snooks.” You might even demand, “No more mush!” And, you might exclaim, “BLEAH” – the perfect word to make a story memorable and a great word for young children to hear and relish.

Fun illustrations add to the atmosphere in Zero Kisses for Me and convey the little bear’s determination and frustration beautifully. A great read aloud for boys and girls, aged four to six, especially those who enjoy many, many kisses each and every day. Although not a Valentine’s Day book, this would be a terrific choice to reach for on February 14th.

Zero Kisses for Me at Amazon.com

Zero Kisses for Me at Amazon.ca

You will also be interested in our Valentine’s Day printables. Storytime Standouts is on Pinterest – Check out our Valentine’s Day Board


Our Free Valentine’s Day Printables for Kids and The Day It Rained Hearts

Posted on February 6th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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We think this picture book is a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day, enjoy it with our free Valentine’s Day printables for kids ~

Storytime Standouts writes about The Day it Rained HeartsThe Day it Rained Hearts written and illustrated by Felicia Bond

You are no doubt familiar with Felicia Bond’s lively illustrations in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Here she tells the story of Cornelia Augusta, a girl who is caught in a rather unusual rainstorm.

On The Day It Rained Hearts Cornelia collected hearts of all different shapes and sizes and then set to work making Valentines for her special friends. Before setting to work, she thinks carefully about each individual and she creates cards and gifts that suit each perfectly.

She found seven that were more or less alike and strung them together with a needle and thread.”I know just the right person for this one,” she thought.

The Day it Rained Hearts encourages thoughtfulness and creativity. A lovely choice for your young Valentine or for sharing at a February storytime.

Extension activities could include a search for hidden hearts, comparing and categorizing hearts and creating Valentine’s Day cards and gifts. Be sure to check out all of our free Valentine’s Day printables (below).

32 pages, Ages 3 to 5

The Day It Rained Hearts at Amazon.com

The Day It Rained Hearts at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts offers a free, printable  Valentine's Day picture dictionary

StorytimeStandouts’ free Valentine’s Day printables for Kids

Our free Valentine’s Day printables for kids are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Some of our early learning printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early learning printables here.



Storytime Standouts is on Pinterest – Check out our Valentine’s Day Board ~

image of Storytime Standouts' Valentine's Day Pinterest Board





Valentine’s Day Picture Dictionary and Writing Paper for Kids

image of PDF icon  Valentine's Day Picture Dictionary

Free printable Valentine's Day picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Happy Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Valentine's Day Swirling Hearts

Valentine's Day theme interlined paper for beginning writers.


Valentine’s Day Circle Time for Preschool

image of PDF icon  Counting Valentines

Great for a Valentine's Day circletime

image of PDF icon  Five Little Valentines

Use as a chant or felt board story


image of PDF icon  Valentine's Day Sequencing Activity

Cut this Valentine's Day Sequencing Activity apart and have children put it together in the correct order or print two and use as a matching game.

image of PDF icon  Valentine's Day Crossword Puzzle

If you appreciate our free Valentine’s Day printables for Kids, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Yong Chen’s A Gift, A Special Chinese New Year Picture Book

Posted on February 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

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image of the cover art for A GiftA Gift written and illustrated by Yong Chen
Chinese New Year picture book published by Boyds Mills Press



image from the Chinese New Year picture book, A GiftBeautiful, warm illustrations accompany a gentle, heart-warming story in A Gift.

Chinese New Year is usually spent with friends and family but, for Amy’s mom it is a time to feel homesick. Her brothers and sister live in far away China. When a package arrives from China for Amy, she and her mom are excited to open it and read the accompanying letter. The letter explains that, while working in a field, Amy’s uncle found a beautiful stone. Amy’s Uncle Zhong subsequently took the stone to his brother, her Uncle Ming, who spent many days carving and polishing the stone until his work revealed a lovely dragon. The carved dragon, a symbol of China, will be worn by Amy on a red string necklace, symbolizing luck.

Readers will note the contrast between Amy’s western-style family home and her uncles’ rural, Chinese experience. Many important details including an orange tree and a rice cooker in the kitchen, a Buddha statue in the garden, Chinese characters on a wall, sampans in a river, a water buffalo pulling a plow and Amy’s traditional costume will be observed by children and could be explored further.

Best for children aged four to eight.

A Gift at Amazon.com

A Gift at Amazon.ca

image of Chinese New Year Writing Paper for Kids

Storytime Standouts offers all sorts of writing paper for kids. You might be especially interested in our free Chinese New Year early learning printables:

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Chinese New Year #1

Chinese New Year theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Chinese New Year #2 (with Dragon)

Chinese New Year theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Five Chinese Dragons Chant






Please visit Storytime Standouts’ Chinese New Year Pinterest Board

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