Monday 26 November 2012

Review: My Top 5 Winter Books for Littles

~ by Kendal

On the 1st December, we will be changing our Seasons Table over from Autumn to Winter. Although Autumn will always be my favourite season, I've never been so excited to acknowledge it passing into Winter. It means the festivities can truly begin, and now Ava is at an age where she can really appreciate lots of different things about this season

Next to our table (which is actually our fireplace) and our Christmas tree, we keep a basket of books that are particularly fitting for this month - books that celebrate the season and Yule. We plan to read some of these books every night, sitting next to the tree, and perhaps sipping a little hot chocolate, all the way through December. So let me share what are our favourite Winter books are this year, in no particular order.

All of these books are in our Amazon store if you want to find out more - just click on the title!

1. The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren

We got this for Ava last year, but she is starting to really appreciate the story - A story about a strange little creature that only animals and small children can see, who walks about the silent farmyard at night checking on the animals and sleeping humans, and dreaming of warmer summer days. We love this story because it captures some of the magic and strangeness of snowy, silent Winter nights.

2. Winter by Gerda Muller

The Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter books by Gerda Muller are one of my favourite series of all time. We got these for Ava when she was very young, but because there are no words, just beautifully depicted seasonal scenes, you can make up the story as you go along. These days, Ava is the one who makes up the story and she really loves these books. They take pride of place on our Seasons Table.

3. The Mitten by Jan Brett

This was the first book Ava was ever given as a gift. It's a story about a boy whose Grandma knits him a pair of mittens. He loses one, and gradually different animals find their way inside, stretching it huge.

It's quite a simple story but the animals make it a firm favourite with Ava and it is a brilliant book to read out loud. It has a very enchanting, nostalgic feel.

4. Ollie's Ski Trip by Elsa Beskow

We got this book recently because, frankly, we're a little obsessed with Elsa Beskow, and although it is quite wordy, Ava has been quite taken with it. The pictures are lovely and the story is as magical and simple as all of Elsa Beskow's stories are - A boy who is given his very first pair of skis and decides to use them to set off on a Winter adventure to see Jack Frost and King Winter, who shows Ollie his Ice Palace where all the presents are made. (A nice alternative to Santa Clause if, like us, you don't do Santa!)

5. The Story of the Snow Children by Sybille Van Olfers

Ava's Solstice book last year was The Story of the Root Children which we instantly fell in love with, so this was one of her winter books this year. It is whimsical and has a simple, yet heartwarming tale. The snow children are dancing snowflakes, who promise a girl they will take her to meet the Snow Queen, and off she goes to meet a princess and enjoy a beautiful feast. It is a classic and a perfect tale for young children.

What are your favourite Winter books?


  1. I love book related posts! I've started doing baby book reviews on my book blog, too :). The Winter one mentioned here is particularly appealing.

    I'm not sure if we will do the Santa thing or not. It hasn't been an issue this year, but might be more so next time, as Freddie will be nearly two then. I don't like the idea of lying about it (my partner agreed at most we would evade the truth, we definitely wouldn't lie) or of the typical stocking filled with plastic crap... But I do wonder if choosing not to do it will make Freddie feel (even more?) isolated from his peers and what is a big cultural symbol at this time of year. Hmm... How have you "got around it" with Ava? x

    1. In addition to Kendal's response, I am also writing a blog post about the who 'Father Christmas' issue.

      Emi, x

  2. I think it's a tough one because I don't want her to feel left out either but what I particularly dislike about Santa is that he is used very much as a 'if you behave, Santa gives you presents' or 'if you're bad, Santa won't come' etc. He is a symbol of the ultimate reward/punishment and I *hate* that. Having said that, we are treating him as we are all fairy tales, myths etc - 'Some people believe in a man called Santa Clause who...'. But we wouldn't be telling her that he sorted her presents since we're trying to raise her to feel that this time of year is about giving, about making for those we love, spending time etc, and we want Ava to feel that that in itself is magical. We do call the process of gift making 'elving' and I think we'll tell Ava that some stories tell us there are magic elves who help us when we make things for those we love....I do love the idea of magic and fairy tales, but I don't want to lie to her.

    It's a tough one! It has helped that we celebrate Yule - which is the entire for December for us, and includes Solstice and Christmas (not just Christmas day)

    -K xxx

  3. Lovely post, very handy!

  4. We love The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats... We have this version of The Snow Queen which is Morgan's new favourite book: (she's nearly six)... You mentioned most of our other favourites.

    We have a couple of really great nativity stories too: Father and Son being my favourite. We also read The Night Before Christmas (we take the approach to Santa that you plan on) and The Real Saint Nicolas is a favourite too.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations - We have just ordered The Snowy Day along with a few others as part of our December book order for Ava! Very excited to read it :)


  5. My favourite book is called First Snow by Kim Lewis It has great illustrations and reminds me of being little, growing up in the country and proper winter weather. I love reading this book.

    1. Yes that is a lovely one - all of her books are beautiful, tender without being sentimental. :)

  6. I will check it out Laura, I don't think I've come.across it before. Thanks!

    -K x