The Rainbow Christmas
by Kate Heath & Susannah Gorman

After the year we’ve had, Christmas 2020 was always going to be a bit different. So many of us have had to say goodbye to friends and family, thousands of jobs have been lost and we all have big decisions to make about whether we should risk seeing the people we love on Christmas Day.

Amongst all of the mayhem, this tiny self-published book is a little beacon of joy. It’s just 10 pages long (and more of a pamphlet than a book) but it sums up the current situation perfectly.

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The Robin and the Reindeer
by Rosa Bailey & Carmen Saldaña

Time for another chapter book review!

It’s Little Reindeer’s first winter and she’s astonished to see snow falling from the sky. Her whole world is soon covered in a thick white blanket, changing once familiar surroundings into something strange and new.

Her herd set off in search of shelter and the calf is given the great honour of walking alongside their Leader. As the flakes start to flurry and the snow gets deeper Little Reindeer pauses to look at the enormous moon – but when spots a shooting star and turns to tells her friends she realises that she has become separated from the group. All she can see are little white tails bobbing far off in the distance.

Cold, tired and alone she tries to get her bearings but it’s no use – Little Reindeer is lost. However a chance encounter with a kindly little Robin gives her hope. Together they navigate the wintry terrain with the help of a little bit of woodland magic.

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If Christmas Were A Poem
by Ronnie Sellers & Peggy Jo Ackley

Most of our Christmas books are adventure stories with a hint of humour but nestled in amongst them is this traditional rhyme which celebrates the joy of the festive season (and makes me feel super nostalgic!).

What are your favourite Christmas traditions? In this beautiful book we follow a young girl as she tells us all about the things which make the holiday season special for her. We see carol singing, dancing and evening trips into town to see the lights. There are crafts and gifts and special times spent with friends and family.

As she waxes lyrical about Christmas she also ponders what makes it so wonderful. It’s not just about people and presents or even the nativity. It’s all these things and so much more.

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The Night After Christmas
by Kes Gray & Claire Powell

Everybody knows what Santa does on Christmas Eve, but have you ever wondered what happens when his work is complete? This fab rhyming story gives us a sneaky peak into what happens in the North Pole on Boxing Day, and it’s a lot more energetic than you’d think!

If I was Santa I’d probably spend Boxing Day recovering in bed, as I imagine that travelling around the world delivering so many presents to so many children would be pretty tiring work. Santa obviously has a lot more stamina than I do though as he chooses to spend the day partying!

First he sits down to a celebratory dinner with Mrs Claus and then the festivities begin. Hundreds of Elves gather in their festive jumpers and twinkling lights are strung on the trees. What follows is the most Christmassy of Christmas parties you could possibly imagine! There are owls, giant crackers and sweet treats galore. There is music, dancing and they even turn on the Northern Lights!

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Can’t See Santa
by Mandy Archer & Chris Jevons

It’s Christmas Eve and little Mouse has finished all of his preparations for the big day. Everything is ready for Santa but there’s just one problem – Mouse can’t find him anywhere!

With over 40 flaps to lift and explore, this is the perfect book for busy toddlers. On each double page they are invited to help Mouse try and locate Santa, his reindeer and a selection of gifts.

They can peek under the tree, through windows, under tables and behind doors. They will find spiders hiding underneath plates, frogs in the fruit bowl and hamsters nibbling on cheese –  but they definitely won’t find Santa and his team.

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The Most Wonderful Gift In The World
by Mark Sperring & Lucy Fleming

When Esme and Bear finish opening their Christmas presents they are surprised to discover one last gift hidden away at the back of tree. It’s a small box wrapped in red paper with a beautiful golden bow. Who could it be for?

The tag reveals that the intended recipient is Little Bunny Boo-Boo – but they don’t now who that is! Saddened by the prospect of someone missing out on a gift, they pull on their hats and coats and head out in to the snow. Fortunately they spot a sign for Little Bunny Boo-Boo’s house straight away but it looks like the journey might be a tiny bit tricky….

First they have to slip and slide down a treacherous path and then they have to walk through a howling gale. When they come to a deep snow drift they consider giving up but they know in their hearts that they need to get the gift to its rightful owner.

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Peas On Earth
by Jonny Marx & Lindsey Sagar

This chunky board book is a perfect festive read for babies and toddlers. Written in upbeat rhyme, it follows a group of adorable little peas as they count down to Christmas.

At the start of the story we have five peas, but page by page we lose one as they head off to complete their final preparations for the big day. One bounces away in pure excitement, one leaves to sort out the decorations, one visits Santa’s Grotto and one goes to bed early – leaving just one smiling pea sitting on top of the tree giggling as she watches Santa’s legs come dangling down the chimney.

Will all the peas make it back in time to open their presents?

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The Most-Loved Bear
by Sam McBratney & Sam Usher

Do you ever read a book to your child and find that the emotion in the story catches you by surprise? The first time I read ‘The Most-Loved Bear’ I found myself struggling to hold back the tears as it really struck a chord with me. It’s absolutely beautiful!

A long time ago a little girl called Mary Rose buys a bear for sixpence from her local toyshop. She names him Growly Bear because he makes a little growling noise when you tip him upside down. Her Mother embroiders the letters ‘G’ and ‘B’ on to his paws and together the little girl and her much-loved bear have many adventures. Until one day she leaves him on a train…

Growly Bear ends up in the Lost Property Office and when he isn’t claimed he is sold to a little boy called Ronnie who loves him just as much as Mary Rose did. They play together for many years until the boy is too old for toys. The bear is donated to a second-hand shop to make room for Ronnie’s new hobbies.

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Monster Christmas
by Giles Andreae & Nikki Dyson

It’s early December and Santa is feeling tired. Lifting heavy sacks of toys every year has taken its toll on his back and his knees so he thinks it may be time to retire. He carefully writes out a job ad for someone special to take over his role and throws it on to his magical fire.

At the exact moment the parchment hits the flames, someone else is making a big decision on the other side of the world. A little Monster from Monster Land is telling his parents that it’s time for him to see the world and try to do some good. As he talks, Santa’s letter drifts in to view and the Monster realises that this is the perfect opportunity for him to spread his wings.

In the North Pole Santa puts the monster through some rigorous training and soon he is ready to go out and spread some Christmas joy. Monster Christmas is about to be unleashed on the world! He’s very excited but his first appearance at a Grotto doesn’t quite go as planned. The children and parents take one look at his green fur and run away screaming.

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The Christmas Next Door by T.A. Creaser, Samuel Langley-Swain & Christine Cuddihy

The majority of Christmas books focus solely on the good things about the day – family, food, presents – but as parents we know it can actually be quite stressful. There’s so much to think about and for many people Christmas can be tinged with sadness because of an empty chair at the table or the financial strain. 2020 has been awful in so many ways so these issues will no doubt be exacerbated this year.

This is why i’m glad we discovered ‘The Christmas Next Door’. It celebrates the joy of the festive season whilst acknowledging that sometimes things don’t quite go to plan!

When Grandad arrives to spend Christmas with his family everyone is very excited, but he has a few challenges to overcome before the big day arrives. Autistic Lily is anxious about being in the school play, Max is stressed about visiting Santa’s Grotto because he thinks he might be on the naughty list and Mum and Dad are running around trying to get everything prepared.

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