My dear bookish friends,
Picture books are a very special type of magic, especially around Christmastime. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t just for little children. Well, they can be for them, but adults can enjoy them just as much, and sometimes their deep meaning, the nuances that you only understand when you read between the lines, are even lost to the little readers, while we can thoroughly enjoy the beautiful illustrations AND pick up on the hidden message.
For this post I have collected three picture books I love that are perfect for Christmas. If you still need a present for somebody or just want to treat yourself, these three books are perfect for this very special, very magical time of year! Let‘s dive right in!
1. The Snowflake by Benji Davis❄️
“Wherever the wind takes us, we all find a place to land… A timeless Christmas story from one of today’s most celebrated and best-loved picture-books creators.”
One winter’s night, a snowflake was made. She skips between the clouds and has great fun – until it’s time for her to fall. The snowflake doesn’t want to fall – doesn’t know where to go – but the cloud reassures her, that’s what snowflakes do.
Down on Earth, Noelle is walking home with her grandpa, Pappie. She loves looking at all the big trees in the windows, lit up beautifully by lights and decorated with the most exquisite baubles. This year, Noelle’s family doesn’t have a tree. But then, Noelle finds a branch on the ground – her own little tree!
Will Noelle and the snowflake both find a way to be happy this Christmas?
I loved this little story, but it also made my heart heavy. It is beautifully illustrated, and I love that there are two separate storylines – Noelle and the snowflake’s – two characters with their own difficulties and facing their own battles, but by the end they find each other and make each other happy.
It isn’t explicitly stated that Noelle’s family is poor, there isn’t any talk of no presents in the stockings or not enough food on the table, but we do learn that Pappie says maybe they can have a beautiful tree like the ones in the windows next year. What I loved was that that didn’t keep Noelle and her family from making the best of the situation. Out comes the box with paper and old decorations, and together they make their own ornaments and decorate Noelle’s little branch!
I also loved that the little snowflake who feared falling so much, who was so scared and didn’t know where the wind would blow her, found her way. She fell and fell, she was scared, and yet, in the end, she, too, found a place to land.
2. The Christmas Department Store
“Christmas for Benji has lost its magic. This year, his family can’t afford a tree, or even a turkey. But then Benji stumbles upon the most extraordinary department store, where polar bears talk and the presents are out of this world!
A heart-warming story of love, laughter and family.”
The same kind of underlying theme here – Benji and has family cannot afford a tree, fancy Christmas food or presents, and Benji is sad. He would like nothing more than to make his dad feel joy, to make his grandma feel wonderful, and for his sister to be happy. All around him there are busy shoppers and happy families, but when Benji turns to head home he is standing in front of the most magical place he has ever seen: the Christmas Department Store!
Penguins at the door, waving him in, polar bears as his shop assistants, flamingos singing with him – how much more magical can it get? Together, they pick the most perfect presents for Benji’s family. But then the big day arrives and Benji sees the presents for what they really are and gets sad all over again. But his family shows him that no money in the world could be better than these presents.
Another meaningful, very touching and heart-warming story!
I loved the focus on the family in this one, and how much Benji was trying to think of them and their happiness first. However, I think you have to read between the lines more to get it, I still had some questions left over at the end, so I felt this was more powerful due to the illustrations than the obvious meaning. Kids will probably love it for the beautiful illustrations though, as they are colourful and so detailed, there is something new to discover every time you look!
3. The Night Before Christmas or Account of a Visit From St Nicholas by Clement C. Moore / illustrated by N. Puttapipat
I absolutely love my beautiful edition of the famous story. This edition, illustrated by N. Puttapipat, also has other Christmas stories like The Nutcracker (which has even more beautiful illustrations), but The Night Before Christmas (also known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas) will always be one of my favourite stories at Christmas.
Most people know the story – the child that gets up in the night of Christmas Eve while everyone is sound asleep – even all the mice! – because there is noise outside and then, all of a sudden, Santa comes down the chimney and fills the stockings!!
I love this festive, old-school story that will always portray the magic of Christmas in my eyes. It has everything – snow outside, the reindeer with the sleigh on the roof, Santa in the chimney, the magical feeling of him filling the stockings and then disappearing into the night again. It’s just lovely to read – for readers of all ages!
The illustrations are just black silhouettes with small red, green and gold details, which I think adds to the mysterious magic of the story. I guess this one is a hit or miss illustration-wise, but I sure love it.
A must-read on Christmas Eve, and one of my all-time favourite Christmas stories!
Do you have any favourite Christmassy picture books? Let’s chat!
Thank you all so much for reading, and of course Happy Christmas!