Thursday, December 22, 2016

Variations on a Theme: Christmas Classics (Again)

This Thursday is so close to Christmas that I feel like I have to make this month's Variations on a Theme about Christmas classics. Now, these are not your traditional classics but, rather, a list of books I think of when I think about this holiday.

Some of these are repeats from my December 2015 post, but these are classics for a reason.


The Polar Express
Chris van Allsburg

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole. Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.

Holidays on Ice
David Sedaris

Holidays on Ice collects six of David Sedaris' most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And, oh, what a book it is!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss

The Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small, hates Who-ville's holiday celebrations, and plans to steal all the presents to prevent Christmas from coming. To his amazement, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday. 




The Night Before Christmas
Clement Clarke Moore

Since it was first published anonymously in 1823, “The Night Before Christmas” has enchanted children with the story of St. Nicholas climbing down the chimney and filling all the stockings before springing back to his sleigh. Many families read the poem every year, and now they have an edition to treasure. The cherished verse, faithfully reproduced here, is accompanied by Charles Santore’s lavish illustrations.

A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens

In October 1843, Charles Dickens ― heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher ― began work on a book to help supplement his family's meager income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favorite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill. With its characters exhibiting many qualities ― as well as failures ― often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge's eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warmhearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England's greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.

The Jolly Christmas Postman
Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Fifteen years ago, long before anyone else thought of tucking actual letters and notes inside a book, Little, Brown published The Jolly Postman by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. This wonderful book gave children a chance to read letters sent from one fairy tale or Mother Goose character to another. Among the funny notes was one from Jack, who lolled on a sun-drenched island, thanking the Giant for the gold that let him afford such a nifty vacation. All this amusing correspondence was deftly illustrated and the book attracted hordes of eager readers. 

More Christmas Classics
A Charlie Brown Christmas - Charles M. Schultz
Christmas - Peter Spier
The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans
The Little Match Girl - Hans Christen Andersen
Madeline's Christmas - Ludwig Bemelmans
The Wild Christmas Reindeer - Jan Brett

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