Days after Thanksgiving, as I drove through our neighborhood with my two little girls, ages 5 and 2, they pointed out the cheerful houses decorated with white twinkly lights, the red and green wreaths and candy cane lawn ornaments, the animatronic deer bending their heads to nibble at the ground, the blow-up penguins, snowmen, and Santas. My two-year old sighed heavily as she looked out the window. “Mom? See the Christmas? Our house is NOT Christmas.”
It’s true. Though I actually remembered to replace my Halloween wreath with a harvest-themed one, I can hardly believe it’s time to replace it with an evergreen. I’ve gone from raising my eyebrow at our ambitious neighbor hanging lights in August to fearing I’ll be dangling from the side of the house on December 21st, stringing lights in 20 degree weather.
No, our house is not Christmas. Yet. But I remembered the sage advice from Buddy, the lovable character from the movie, “Elf”: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” Thanks to the local radio station that begins playing Christmas music the day after Halloween, I cranked up the stereo and we all felt a little more Christmas.
So, to get us all in the spirit of the season, we are featuring a book that takes its title from the well-known, much-loved Christmas song, “Jingle Bells.” In Iza Trapani’s version, Jingle Bells begins traditionally with laughing happily through snow-covered fields, but then takes us on a magic ride around the world for a peek at the celebrations in other cultures. Your little reader will enjoy Trapani’s warm, colorful illustrations of the Polish family dining by candlelight and the smiling faces of the children in Kenya, the Phillippines, and Italy. Older readers will enjoy reading Trapani’s postscript, which explains more fully the traditions highlighted throughout the book. As you BookChat, discuss how your family traditions compare with those in the book or favorite customs you remember from your childhood.
And don’t be surprised if you and your readers spontaneously burst into song between verses (who can resist singing the chorus of “Jingle Bells”?). Whether your lights are hung or you’re still waiting to deck the halls, reading (and singing!) together is the perfect way to be Christmas with those you love.
Special thanks to Charlesbridge for making Jingle Bells available to read with your loved ones throughout the holiday season.
Don’t miss three NEW holiday additions to the Readeo library:
- Ricky’s Christmas Tree, by Guido van Genechten
- Little Snowman Stan, by Guido van Genechten, and
- Kevin’s Christmas, by Liesbet Slegers
Log in today or sign up for a free guest account to read our other holiday books, including:
- Angela and the Baby Jesus, by Frank McCourt
- Auntie Claus: Home for the Holidays, by Elise Primavera
- Bear’s First Christmas, by Robert Kinerk, illustrated by Jim LaMarche
- The Child in the Manger, by Liesbet Slegers
- The Christmas Baby, by Marion Dane Bauer, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey
- Christmas Delicious, by Lyn Loates, illustrated by Mark Jones
- Great Joy, by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
- Hanukkah Haiku, by Harriet Ziefert
- Ho, Ho, Ho Tucker, by Leslie McGuirk
- The Little Matchstick Girl, by Hans Christian Andersen, illustrated by Debbie Lavreys
- The Little Red Elf, by Barbara Barbieri McGrath, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet
- Looking for Christmas, by Peggy van Gurp
- Maisy’s Snowy Christmas Eve, by Lucy Cousins
- Olivia Helps with Christmas, by Ian Falconer
- Snow! Snow! Snow!, by Lee Harper
- Suzy Goose and the Christmas Star, by Petr Horacek
- Winter Trees, by Carole Gerber, illustrated by Leslie Evans
Happy reading–and happy holidays to you and yours,
That is so true. As an author and business man, I can relate to how you said “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”.I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you’re talking about. Can’t wait to read more from you!
Hi, Daniel! Thanks for the shout-out and for reading the blog! I LOVE hearing from readers, and it’s always great to get feedback (especially the positive kind!). Let me know what you think of January’s Book of the Month, and hope to hear from you again.