These little Christmas books by are among my favorites because:
a. They are tiny, and who doesn't love tiny things?
b. This very actual set of books was mine when I was a child, so the nostalgia factor weighs in pretty heavily.
c. Each book has a really cute story and all are wonderfully illustrated.
First there is, of course, the requisite Night Before Christmas, which I can't show you because the book disappeared sometime between being opened and read and this photo shoot (one drawback of tiny things--they get lost). Suffice it to say it's illustrated in sweet black-and-white drawings, and you can't have too many copies of this classic. What I especially like about it is that mama in her kerchief and the narrator in his cap had just settled their brains, and that the narrator heard St. Nicholas exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Happy Christmas to all..." Now, I don't know if this version is more true to Moore's original or not, but I tend to think that settling down, and before he drove out of sight, and Merry Christmas to all are dumbed down versions for us modern folk, and I resent that. Yes, I know I'm petty.
Next, there is a Christmas ABC called Angels & Berries & Candy Canes, which is delightfully illustrated, and is not at all forced or insipid like so many alphabet books. Each picture has several elements that go with the letter and at the end is a kind of stream-of-conscious list of all the wonders of Christmas in alphabetical order.
Third, A Firefly in a Fir Tree is a retelling of The Twelve Days of Christmas from a mouse's perspective. What would a mouse want for Christmas? Perhaps three thistle dusters. Very cute and fun.
Finally, my very favorite, A Christmas Stocking Story, is the tale of a group of animals who get their stockings mixed up and thus receive gifts intended for another animal. It's written in rhyming couplets and is just a cute, fun, story. (Did I say that already? Cute & fun? Well, they are. Cute. And fun.
And the best part of all? Because they are so tiny, they take no time at all to read, which means putting kids to bed all that much sooner. Now that makes me merry.
It appears that the tiny version of the whole set--A Christmas Nutshell Library--is out of print, but can be gotten for between $63 and $277 at Better World Books (zoiks! Perhaps I should find that missing Night Before Christmas and keep these books up on a high shelf with the breakables! (I did find a few much cheaper sets on Amazon, which I do not like to promote them for various reasons). It also appears that a A Firefly in a Fir Tree and A Christmas Stocking Story have been reprinted (and perhaps re-illustrated, based on the covers) and can be had for a few dollars each. Both would be excellent additions to any holiday book collection.
Now it's your turn!
Speaking of tiny books, I'd like to get E or Z a copy of the mini version of Ollie's Ski Trip for a stocking stuffer. But if I get a book for one, I need a book for the other. So I'm looking for something of comparable size and story type/quality. I already have several Elsa Beskow minis (Children of the Forest, The Sun Egg, Peter in Blueberry Land and Around the Year). We also already have an extensive collection of Beatrix Potter books and Flower Fairy books. (Hmm, that sounds like a lot of books; perhaps they don't need any more!) What else comes in a tiny version that you and your kids love to read?