Christmas is almost here. The decorations are up, and we're getting into the holiday spirit. There are lots of family-friendly activities happening in the community, and many are presented by the Beaufort County library system. In the excitement and hustle of the holiday season, take time to get cozy with your children, and enjoy reading together. The library has many wonderful holiday books; here are some of our favorite "Season's Readings" titles.
"Santa Claus the World's Number One Toy Expert," by Marla Frazee
This giggle-inspiring story depicts the challenges of Santa's difficult year-round job of being not only the No. 1 toy expert, but also the No. 1 kid expert. A day in the life of Santa includes careful research, inventory, decision-making and toy-testing. Children are sure to love the illustrations showing Santa covered in Post-It notes, falling asleep at the computer, playing with puppets or attempting to use a pogo stick. Can you guess which gift Santa picks out for himself?
"Snowmen at Night," by Caralyn Buehner
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Although we don't usually have snow in Beaufort County, snow books remain a perennial favorite during the holiday season. Have you ever wondered what snowmen do after their builders have gone to bed? The snowmen in this cheerful book make snow angels, compete in races and have a snowball fight. Younger children will enjoy the bright illustrations and simple rhyme, while older children will enjoy spotting the hidden pictures. You also might want to share the author's other books, "Snowmen at Christmas" and "Snowmen All Year."
"My Penguin Osbert," by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
Determined to avoid previous years' "misunderstandings," a boy writes a very specific letter to Santa requesting a real penguin. Lovely watercolor illustrations express the child's joy of finding a just-right gift under the tree and playing in the snow with his penguin. Unfortunately, there are soon unpleasant compromises like taking cold baths or having creamed herring for breakfast, causing the boy to regret his request. This be-careful-what-you-wish-for tale has a clever resolution to surprise the reader.
"How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas?" and "How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?," by Jane Yolen
The books follow the format of a popular picturebook, "How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?" as dinosaurs who live with people demonstrate for children what not to do. Young readers will chuckle at recognizing the misbehavior, each incident highlighting an aspect of holiday celebrations. Bold illustrations feature fill-up-the-page dinosaurs ripping presents open, fussing during prayers, and eating Santa's cookies but by mid-story settle down and surprise us with good manners.
"The Night Before Christmas" paintings by Eric Puybaret
The beloved poem is featured in many holiday books but check out this version for the CD. The book includes a CD of three recordings: The poem is sung first set to melody by Noel Paul Stookey, followed by an absolutely charming retelling as Mary Travers reads the book aloud, then a performance by the trio in their trademark harmony. Young readers and listeners will delight in poring over the book's lush dreamlike illustrations while listening to the accompanying CD.
Your local library has many more books to share with you. We also have a variety of things to see and do throughout the holiday season, from DIY gingerbread houses to a model train display, you're sure to find an event you and your family will enjoy. Please visit us in person or check our website www.beaufortcountylibrary.org.
Melinda Vest is the children's manager at Bluffton library.