Holiday books to delight children

Christmas is less than a month away, and children are eagerly awaiting the magic and fun that this holiday brings. Reading wonderful holiday books together helps add to the excitement, such as those reviewed below.

Don't forget to look for next week's column, where readers across the country have offered suggestions of their favorite holiday books and favorite books in general. Amid all of the excitement and preparations, reading a good book adds to the warmth of the season!

Books to borrow

The following book is available at many public libraries.

"Max's Christmas" written and illustrated in color by Rosemary Wells, Dial Books, 26 pages Read aloud: birth to age 4. Read yourself: age 6Ð7.

Max is back to his antics again, this time insisting that he stay up to see Santa Claus coming down the chimney. Of course, his sister tells him he cannot see Santa Claus because nobody EVER sees Santa Claus. Max doesn't believe Ruby, and as usual, decides to take matters into his own hands.

When Ruby leaves Max's room, Max takes his blanket and sneaks down the stairs. He positions himself in front of the chimney and waits and waits and waits. Then at long last, Santa zooms down the chimney and into the living room. Max is surprised by his arrival, but no one is more surprised than Ruby when she comes looking for Max.

As lovable and spunky as ever, toddlers will want to read this Christmas selection over and over again.

Librarian's choice

Library: Carson City Library, 900 North Roop St., Carson City

Library Director: Sally Edwards

Youth Services Librarian: Cory King

Choices this week: "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff; "Peace Tales: World Folk Tales to Talk About" compiled by Margaret Read MacDonald; "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo

Books to buy

The following books are available at favorite bookstores.

"The Wee Christmas Cabin of Carn-na-ween" by Ruth Sawyer, illustrated by Max Grafe, Candlewick, 2005, 40 pages, $14.99 hardcover.

Read aloud: age 4Ð5 and older. Read yourself: age 7Ð8 and older.

"A hundred years ago and more," a newborn child was left upon a cabin doorsill in Carn-na-ween. The babe was known by all to be a tinker's child, but Bridget and Conal Hegarty named the girl Oona and raised her as their own. Oona was a beautiful and gentle child, accomplished in everything she set her hands to. But a tinker's child was marked - no one would be her friend and no young man would dare think to marry her. Oona dreamed that one day she would have a cabin of her own, but because she was a tinker's child, Oona spent her life going from cabin to cabin, lovingly caring for young and old, the sick and dying, in exchange for a place to sleep and a bit of food. When she was no longer needed, she was put out.

When Oona was a very old woman, a famine spread through the country. Oona's heart ached for the hungry children, so she decided to leave that cabin so that they might have her small portion. On a snowy Christmas Eve night, she took her few belongings and headed out into the night. She settled down in the snow near the bogland where it was said the Gentle People - fairies - lived. Although Oona had never seen a fairy before, she did that night, for they came to Oona to reward her for a lifetime of kindness to others.

Beautifully written and illustrated, this outstanding selection, first published in 1941, excels in every way.

"Dear Santa Claus" by Alan Durant, illustrated by Vanessa Cabban, Candlewick, 2005, 28 pages, $14.99 hardcover.

Read aloud: age 4Ð7. Read yourself: age 7.

Holly decides to write a letter to Santa Claus, and to her surprise, he writes back. Santa Claus wants to know what Holly wants for Christmas, but in a return letter to Santa, she isn't specific except to suggest that maybe he might need a helper on Christmas Eve. The two continue sending letters back and forth until Christmas Eve, when Holly realizes that Santa Claus has understood her Christmas wish all along.

Full of fun and five wonderful letters and gifts from Santa Claus tucked inside their own envelopes, children will love this magical holiday story.

n Nationally syndicated, Kendal Rautzhan writes and lectures on children's' literature. She may be reached at


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