By Rosalie MacEachern
For The News
Every family needs a few Christmas books for children, whether brand new or dog-eared with use. The Christmas Wish (Random House, $21.99 hardcover) is one of this season’s new gems and there are other favourites, including many from Atlantic Canada.
The Christmas Wish is a stunning book that captures the magic of Christmas in gentle text and enchanting photographs. Writer Lori Evert and her husband, nature photographer Per Breiehagen, collaborated to create a story around their young daughter Anja who dreams of becoming Santa’s helper. On her journey across the snow-covered north she is helped by one animal after another but when she wakes on Christmas morning she is not sure what to believe.
The Christmas Dollhouse (Nimbus, $18.95 hardcover) by Richard Rudnicki is equally beautiful in text and illustration. It is a Depression-era Nova Scotia story based on the experiences of an Oxford family which includes a little girl who dreams of owning a magnificent dollhouse. For a poor family, beset by illness, it is gargantuan dream but kind people can make Christmas dreams come true.
Around for a few years now, The Little Toy Shop (Tundra Books, $21.99 hardcover) by Nova Scotia artist and writer Frances Wolfe is a charming book to delight young children and adult readers. It is about a very special toy shop which is home to Teddy and Bunny until they are separated by careless Christmas shoppers. They are happily reunited in the care of a little girl with a big heart.
A Bluenose Twelve Days of Christmas (Nimbus, $17.95 hardcover) by Bruce Nunn is a funny and localized version of the Twelve Days of Christmas carol. Positively joyful, it is filled with highland flings, coal seams, lobster traps, fiddle tunes and a Bluenose tied up at Pier Three.
Also by Bruce Nunn, Buddy the Bluenose Reindeer (Nimbus, $12.95) is the story of Nova Scotia’s own reindeer who fills in for Rudolph in a crisis. Buddy has a second adventure in Buddy the Bluenose Reindeer and the Boston Christmas Tree Adventure.
A Newfoundland Christmas (Pennywell Books, $9.95) is about a family that left the island and returns, despite the children’s grumbling, for Christmas. They quickly change their minds when they chop down their own Christmas tree, go for a sleigh ride and experience the season’s outport customs.
One Christmas in Lunenburg (Lorimer and Company, $19.95 hardcover) is an engaging story of two children, caught up in the excitement of Christmas Eve, wondering if it is true animals are given the gift of speech on this one very special night.
A Forest for Christmas (Nimbus, $19.95 hardcover) by Michael Harris is the story of a little girl in Lunenburg who believes in magic in the face of a businessman who plans to chop down a forest to improve his view. The question is whether Emily and her woodland friends can save the forest in time for Christmas.
The Magic Rug of Grand Pre, available only from libraries, is an Acadian Christmas story about a Christmas Eve adventure to find strands of wool to complete a hooked rug. The adventure takes two imaginative children to the various Acadian communities in Nova Scotia.
The Christmas Eve Ghost (Candlewick Press, $19 hardcover) by Shirley Hughes and set in 1930s Liverpool is about the richness of human kindness amidst poverty and hardship. Two frightened children run into the arms of a neighbour they have been instructed by their beleaguered mother to avoid and it turns out to be a Christmas blessing for all.
How Many Miles to Bethlehem (Orion Children’s Books) is a nativity story beautifully told and illustrated with modern twists.
Pippin the Christmas Pig, available in hardcover and paperback, is a delightful animal nativity story by acclaimed children’s author Jean Little.
On This Special Night (Scholastic, $18.99 hardcover) by Claire Freedman is another animal nativity story in which a mother cat and her kitten join a parade of animals following a bright star in the east, heralding peace, joy and love.