Holiday Gift for Book-Loving Children
For many people, there is no better Christmas gift than a good book. My Christmas just doesn’t feel complete unless I have a great new novel among my Christmas presents, and many of my other family members feel the same way. While both of my sons are too young to read on their own just yet, they are already showing signs that they have inherited the love of reading that is such a strong characteristic in my family, and I do everything I can to encourage that love. When Christmas comes around, the encouragement always come in the form of some new children’s books under the tree. Every parent knows that great children’s books are Scholastic Canada’s specialty, and I was lucky enough to be given the chance to review some of the company’s new festive titles for myself.
The wonderful thing about choosing books from Scholastic is that the variety is simply unbeatable. I received some titles from authors I was familiar with and others by writers that were unknown to me. Some books boasted incredible illustrations while others featured engaging plotlines. But all of the books had the child-friendly, fun-loving quality that makes Scholastic books so wonderful.
I really enjoyed the seasonal books I received. A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker was a patriotic version of the twelve days of Christmas and the boys loved the humorous illustrations and lyrical text, while I was kept entertained by some of the book’s subtle humour. On the final page, for example, all of the characters from the story were scattered throughout the branches of a pine tree. When I noticed that the ten (Toronto Maple) Leafs a-leaping were all desperately grasping for the five Stanley Cups that all seemed to be just out of reach, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon was another guaranteed child pleaser. Parents and children everywhere are familiar with the insatiable David and his propensity for mischief. Any child will be able to relate to David’s frustration as he desperately tries (and fails) to behave in the days preceding Christmas. Parents will be equally entertained by David’s hapless mischievous antics.
The final seasonal title I received was One Hockey Night by David Ward. This touching tale centred on what most people consider to be Canada’s best loved sport, hockey. But the story also featured themes of loneliness, learning and adjustment that many children can relate to. The story chronicles the adventures of two young children that have moved from Saskatchewan to Nova Scotia, and the kids’ sorrow at losing their friends, their school and, most of all, the frozen lake where they played hockey each winter.
Thankfully, with the help of their new neighbours, the children’s parents decide to create a surprise Christmas gift that will give the children back the game they lost, and introduce them to a host of new friends at the same time. I found this story to be so touching, and I loved the way it illustrated the way that a simple recreational activity can create friendships that last a lifetime.
In addition to the wonderful seasonal titles Scholastic offers, there are also many books that are sure to become year-round favourites. The Queen’s Secret by Frieda Wishinsky was a fun rhyming book that any girl would be sure to love. When a young girl wonders why the queen of her land would need to carry a purse, her mind creates all kinds of fanciful contents for the royal handbag. Imagine her surprise when she gets a chance to see the contents of the bag for herself and learns that she and the queen have more in common than she would have believed! Children will love the surprise ending in this adorable book.
Mad at Mommy by Komako Sakai is a beautifully written story that portrays the frustration young children often feel with their parents, and the love that binds mother and child together no matter what. I could see my son in so many of the whimsical bunny narrator’s complaints, and couldn’t help but feel a bit guilty when I read about the bunny’s frustration with always being asked to hurry up, even though Mommy never does. In the end, though, Mommy’s love for her son and her son’s love for her prove to be unbreakable, no matter how frustrating a mother may be sometimes. Parents and children alike will find themselves relating to this easy-to-read book.
This is Silly! by Gary Taxali is a fun reading book with plenty of rhymes and fun nonsense words to appeal to young children, but it is the illustrations that really make this book unique. With styles that are inspired by Dr. Seuss, E.C. Segar (the creator of Popeye) and 1930s advertising and typography, the beautiful artwork in this book is a feast for the eyes.
Finally, Too Much Stuff! by Robert Munsch explores the challenges of traveling with children in classic Munsch style. Zackary is a huge Robert Munsch fan and he loved the story of the girl that couldn’t stand to be parted from her dolls and bears on vacation. The way that the toys end up bringing happiness to other children is just heart-warming, and the reward the young girl receives for her generosity will have any child eager to share their toys with friends!
Scholastic books make a great gift for children from preschool to high school, and the quality and popularity of every book the company carries is what has made them a household name for so many years. With their incredible selection, any parent will be able to find a book that was meant for their child. Our society depends so strongly on reading that encouraging that love in your child is one of the most beneficial things you can do to ensure future success both in school and in life. Show your child how much fun reading can be and pick up a great new book from Scholastic for you and your child to enjoy together!
Buy It: To purchase any of the great picture books from Scholastic Canada, check your local bookstore or