Seasonal Charms

Authors Highlight Special Moments for Parent and Child During the Holidays.

            Let’s Play in the Snow
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram

Best for: Ages 0-5

If you’re not familiar with Guess How Much I Love You, you’ve probably been under a rock for the past decade. This tale is a “Guess How Much I Love You Storybook” that follows Big and Little Nutbrown Hare as they play a game of I Spy in the snow. If you were to describe this book in one word, touching, sweet, cute and gentle might be in the running, but charming would be at the top of the list.
            As the Nutbrown Hares walk through the snow, the pages of this book give readers a beginner’s lesson in nature, connecting spiders to their webs, trees to leaves and so on. This is a wonderful addition to the Guess How Much I Love You family of books that parent and child will thoroughly enjoy.

What’s good: Simple text. Simple lessons. Simply charming.
What’s bad: Nothing. It’s a great follow-up adventure for the Nutbrown Hares.

            The Christmas Quiet Book
By Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Renata Liwska

Best for: Ages 4-8

What’s the best kind of quiet? For many it’s snuggle time. And this book is perfect for a quiet snuggle time. Set against the holidays, Underwood book explores many different kinds of quiet. My favorite was the “broken ornament quiet.” I know that sounds strange, but my children and I had a broken ornament moment, and this particular quiet spoke to us. Liwska’s sweet pencil drawings add personality and charm to this quietly pleasing holiday tale. From mittens to gingerbread houses, you and yours will surely find a favorite “quiet” as well.
            You may have missed this title, published a couple of years ago, but it’s a great addition for holiday bedtime—or if you just need a quiet moment away from the busy Christmas rush.

What’s good: Interesting scenarios to help children to contemplate quiet.
What’s bad:  The ending lacks the emotion of the rest of the story.


            Bad Magic
By Pseudonymous Bosch
Best for: Boys, ages 11-14

             We’ll call Bad Magic a companion to the “Secret” series. The first in a series of its own, this story follows Clay, Max Ernest’s 12-year-old brother. Max Ernest is older and mysteriously out of the picture. This is but one of Clay’s issues. When he is punished for writing graffiti on the wall of his school (he claims he didn’t do it), Clay is sent to a camp for troubled kids. But it’s no ordinary camp. Tucked away on a South Pacific volcanic island, this camp has more mysteries than all of the campers can count together. But only Clay is curious enough to find out the answers. Spanish-speaking llamas, intelligent honeybees, ghost girls, pickpockets and a strange link to Shakespeare’s The Tempest make Bad Magic a very entertaining story. Bosch weaves in snarky comments and semi-modern references to make this tale fun for all ages.

              What’s good: Clever plot twists.
              What’s bad: Overuse of the word “sucks.”

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