I've mentioned our book basket before, and I'm happy to say that it's still going strong, sometimes finding new homes in our living area, but always remaining a regular part of the routine. At the end of December we cleared out what has now become a relatively large collection of Christmas stories to make space for the winter books.
I don't know what it is about winter as a setting, but it has inspired some really wonderful kids' books. Seeing as I'm so on top of things and haven't written about our seasonal book basket since last winter, I'll link to that post again for the majority of our winter book basket, but we've added a few new ones so far this year:
Brave Irene (Sunburst Books): Three words: we love it! This is such a wonderful story, and I can't recommend it highly enough. In a culture filled with too many children's picture books that feature bratty, selfish, lazy protagonists (I'm sorry, but it's true), this book is a real gem. The vast majority of the story brings us on Irene's terribly difficult journey through a snow storm to deliver a package on behalf of her sick mother. The relationships between the adults and the child in the book are presented so nicely (the most significant of which is that of the mother/daughter), and Irene is a great model of perseverance. There is one line that I find too harsh for a two and four year old so I modify it as I'm reading, but that fact doesn't detract from the book in any way.
Let's Play in the Snow: A Guess How Much I Love You Storybook: This book is OK. It comes from the creators of the Nutbrown Hare books (the most well-known of which, Guess How Much I Love You, I do not care for). I got it for Bojey at the thrift store to put in her box of books for Christmas. This is a book you should skip at the bookstore but maybe grab from the library if you have a very small child. Little and Big Nutbrown Hare play a back and forth game of I Spy out in the snow. It's not the most riveting of tales, but it is written at a simple and peaceful pace, which is nice for small children. I'm also a little conflicted about the wording in the final round of I Spy, in which the Big Nutbrown Hare declares that Little Nutbrown Hare belongs to him (her?). I want to be OK with it, but I'm a little uncomfortable with the idea of the child as a possession.
Bear Snores On: I can't believe I accidentally omitted this one last year. This book is so much fun. It chronicles an evening in which a number of Bear's animal friends (hare, mole, etc.) come into his dry cave and throw an impromptu party while he sleeps (hibernates). Near the very end he wakes up and his reaction to the party is darling. There's a great rhythm and almost musicality to the text--perfect for both of my girls. They're both squirming in their seats with excitement by the time we reach Bear's waking, and they both giggle at the outcome. This is a definite keeper.
The Tomten: Last year one of the chicks' grandmas handed down to us the two-volume, hardcover The World Treasury of Children's Literature : Book 1 (and 2). This set is truly a must-have (and from what I can tell, sadly out of print.) In volume two we discovered, this winter, The Tomten. This story is so lovely and peaceful. A small, hundreds-year old gnome-like man called The Tomten watches over the farm at night, talking to the animals in a language they can understand. No human ever sees him, but the children see his footprints in the snow. I did a little bit of research on this character and found various things--he is often, but not always, a Santa figure who delivers presents (in this story, he is not). I'd like to learn a little more about him in order to give the chicks (primarily Ninna, as she is older) a little more context. The Tomten is a sweet, comforting story.
Wow, that was so much fun; I can't wait to do it again. I just love writing about books.
And now (after I pay off those pesky late fees...) I'd like to make a trip to the library to get some more winter books. What winter kids' books do you love?