Posts Tagged ‘Christmas books’

Celebrate the Holidays with a Christmas Picture Book

Posted on December 23rd, 2013 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail
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

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

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

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

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

Christmas Picture Books – Carolyn’s List of Favourites

Posted on December 23rd, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

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

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

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

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail


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

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

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

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

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.



How About a Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas?

Posted on November 23rd, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinrssmail

Storytime Standouts looks at picture book Fletcher and the Snowflake ChristmasFletcher and the Snowflake Christmas written by Julia Rawlinson and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
Christmas picture book published by Greenwillow Books, an Imprint of Harper Collins





It is Christmas Eve and Fletcher Fox’s rabbit friends have moved into a new burrow. Fletcher suddenly realizes that Santa won’t know about the rabbits’ new home. Together with his forest friends, Fletcher uses sticks to leave a trail of arrows for Santa to follow through the woodland. Unfortunately, a snowfall on December 24th conceals the signs the animals left for Santa. What happens next is truly magical…

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas uses rich description and evocative, pastel illustrations to tell a heartwarming story of friendship. A great addition to your holiday bookshelf. A highly recommended Christmas picture book for children aged four and up.

Fans of Fletcher will also enjoy Fletcher and the Falling Leaves and Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas at Amazon.com

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas 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.



More News

Learning the Alphabet

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia Lam

Awake Beautiful Child written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Gracia ...

Classic Picture Book: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom written by Bill Martin Jr. and ...

Alphabet Recognition Game for Preschool

[caption id="attachment_16404" align="alignleft" width="300"] Diecuts With A View Alphabet Scrapbook ...

Phonemic Awareness

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Storytime Standouts Tips for Getting Ready to Read While in the Car

Some of the keys to learning to read are noticing ...

Developing Phonemic Awareness: How’s Your Nose, Rose?

You won't regret using wordplay to support your child's phonemic ...

Phonemic Awareness – Questions for Your Child (2)

The focus of our last few posts has been phonemic ...

Rhymes, Songs & Fingerplays

Songs for a Summertime Storytime

This summer I presented two different early literacy programs for ...

Father’s Day Wordsearch Printable

Here is one of our many free PDF printables for ...

Kindergarten Springtime Fun – Writing prompts, printables and more

Celebrate warmer days with some kindergarten springtime funHere are some ...

Translate »