Wintertime Picture Books, 2014

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”
–William Blake


FOX’S GARDEN by Princeesse CamCam. “Have you ever read a picture book multiple times, enjoying it with each and every read, and then find later that it was wordless . . . and you didn’t even notice? Now THAT is the mark of an effective title . . . You could easily see this book adapted into a ballet or similar wordless format. It’s a naturally beautiful tale . . . Let’s examine that word for a second. Beautiful. I don’t use it enough when I’m describing picture books. It’s not the kind of word you should bandy about for no reason. If I called every other book “beautiful” it would diminish the importance of the word and I couldn’t use it when something as truly stunning as this. It’s the kind of book that doesn’t feel like anything else you’ve seen or read. True and lovely and entirely unique. A book to borrow and a book to own.” — Foxes Garden Review of the Day by Elizabeth Bird, Fuse8, School Library Journal (Ages 3-8)

A perfect introduction to Winter.

Winter’s Coming: A Story of Seasonal Change by Jan Thornhill (Author), Josee Bisaillon (Illustrator). “Straightforward, approachable text, inventively illustrated in paper collage that exudes color and warmth … [a] sweet introduction to the concept of seasons, complete with a curious and likable heroine.”
– Kirkus Reviews

Winter Is Coming Hardcover – by Tony Johnston (Author), Jim LaMarche (Illustrator). “An empty sketchbook, freshly sharpened pencils, and binoculars set the stage for this luminous story about the powerful magic of being still and experiencing the natural world. Sitting in her tree house, using all her senses to witness the changing season, a girl sketches a variety of Northern animals and notes their habits as they forage for food. The short journal entries combine poetry with pragmatism, resulting in spare, elegant observations about nature: Dawn burns the sky./A flock of wild turkeys jostles by./They poke everyplace, muttering/food, food, food. Although the variety of animals that she sees within a single season is rather implausible, the respect she has for nature and the life cycle keep the text grounded: I know animals/are best left alone./Maybe the deer will find enough food./Maybe not./ Soon they move on, nibbling. Gorgeous acrylic and colored pencil illustrations show the wonder that the girl feels and evoke the experience of witnessing the layers of the natural world slowly revealing themselves as apparent stillness becomes full of life—wind rustling leaves, birds chirping, and scurrying insects. This book unflinchingly faces the fact that the cold is coming, the lean season is approaching, and there are endings within the cycle of life. A touching reminder about the beauty of the natural world. (School Library Journal, *STARRED REVIEW, ages 4-8)

WINTER BEES & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman (Author), Rick Allen (Illustrator). “Each poem brings a sense of humor, respect, or wonder to its subject.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Concluded with a glossary of big but fascinating words, this is equally suited to curricular units and cozy reads in front of a fire.”
—Booklist, starred review

“A work to be savored by young artists and scientists.”
—Kirkus, starred review

“Winter Bees distinguishes itself with a focus on the science of animal survival, coupled with superlative illustrations. Readers young and old will enjoy this winter journey and marvel at the wonders of nature.”
—School Library Journal, starred review

“A handsome, persuasive, and authentic ambassador for creatures in their natural state.”
—Horn Book Magazine

“A collection that’s as crisp as the first snowfall, Winter Bees is the pefect way to pass a chilly afternoon.”

“This author-artist duo makes winter wonder-filled.”
—Shelf Awareness

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his needs, is good for him. —Maya Angelou


THE YULE TOMTE AND THE LITTLE RABBITS by Ulf Stark (Author), Eva Eriksson (Illustrator), Susan Beard (Translator). In Sweden, a “tomte” brings gifts to children at Christmas. Grump the tomte—small, thin and white-bearded—lives in empty Tomte Cottage with only a sleepy bee for company. When the wind blows his signature red cap away, along with an old sign that reads “Tomte Co,” they are found by two young rabbits, who assume, along with everyone else in the crowded rabbit burrow, that the sign means a tomte is coming. A menu is planned, songs are composed—but as December rolls on and there is no sign of the tomte, tempers begin to fray. Finally, the two young rabbits take matters into their own paws and go out to find the tomte—with happy results for the animals and for the lonely tomte. The story is told in 25 chapters—one for each day of Advent—and with large and expressive illustrations of the bushy-eyebrowed tomte or goofy rabbits on almost every page, the book makes a wonderful classroom or family read-aloud.—Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (School Library Journal)

It’s an old-fashioned type of illustrated story (with a picture-book trim size) that doesn’t feel the least bit dated or sentimental.’ — The Horn Book Magazine

THE TRUE GIFT by PATRICIA MacLACLAN. “Newbery Medalist MacLachlan offers a quietly moving Christmas story that illustrates the power of children to change their world…. Floca’s delicate, full-page pencil illustrations complement the text with understated emotion.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“The simple, elegant prose tells a warm family story with a classic holiday theme. Floca’s graphite and ebony pencil drawings are lush with evocative detail and perfectly complement this lovely offering.” (School Library Journal)

“With MacLachlan’s well-drawn characters and Floca’s simple pencil and graphite drawings, it’s a poignant story with a classic feel.” (Publishers Weekly)

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas tree Came by special delivery. Full and fresh and glistening green– The biggest tree he’d ever seen. That was the trouble. The tree was so tall, it couldn’t stand up straight in his parlor. Mr. Willowby asked his butler to chop off the top of the tree. What happens to the treetop? Where will it be for Christmas? One of the best Christmas books ever, now sadly out-of-print.

I SAW THREE SHIPS by Elizabeth Goudge (Author), Margot Tomes (Illustrator). A moving, lyrical, and endearing chapter book, celebrating the magic as well as the mystery of Christmas, by Elizabeth Goudge, mistress of the art of storytelling. Charmingly illustrated with ink drawings by Margot Tomes, it is a perfect Christmas read-aloud for young children and parents looking for something slightly sentimental and bracingly wholesome.

‘The story is totally engrossing.’ –The Sunday Telegraph

‘I absolutely adored it. It had a cracking plot and a perfect tone throughout.’ –J.K. Rowling

THE POLAR EXPRESS by Chris Van Allsburg. For twenty years, The Polar Express has been a worldwide bestseller and Christmas classic. A perfect keepsake for any family, this beautiful edition can be handed down to each new generation of readers. Autographed copies are available for a limited time.

A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES by Dylan Thomas (Author), Chris Raschka (Illustrator). Fifty years after its first publication in book form, Dylan Thomas’s timeless prose poem is echoed by the rolling, evocative images of Caldecott Honor artist Chris Raschka — a beautiful gift for book lovers. First published in HARPER’S BAZAAR some fifty years ago, A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES showcases Dylan Thomas’s genius for language and remains the poet’s most popular prose work in the United States. Chris Raschka’s fluid torn-paper illustrations honor the poet’s words, evoking their musical cadences and bringing us a fresh appreciation for this most lyric work. “This beautifully illustrated A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES should bring Dylan Thomas’s work to a new generation of children.” — President Jimmy Carter


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