'Tis the Season

Cindy: The earlier that retail stores start playing Christmas music the more I resist the season. Lynn and I are both in denial that the holidays are upon us, but the reality is starting to hit. I haven’t really begun my shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking, etc. (who am I kidding, I don’t even have LISTS made yet). Perhaps everyone I know will get books…there have been plenty of extraordinary ones this year for all ages. In the meantime, we have a couple holiday books to tell you about.

Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama (Random/Knopf 2012) by Selina Alko is the perfect book for a family that celebrates more than one holiday tradition. As the title indicates, Sadie’s family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah. They light the menorah and decorate a Christmas tree.  Latkes and milk are left for Santa made from Grandma’s recipe. Songs, food, decorations, and presents (lots of them with eight nights of Hanukkah AND Christmas day) integrate both traditions. Daddy Christmas and Mama Hanukkah both help in holiday preparations…the efforts truly are shared by all. The collage and gouache illustrations have lots of details to enjoy and are bright and cheerful, perfect for this happy, drama-free holiday presentation. The story ends with a timeline of holidays that await throughout the year to come and a recipe for Cranberry Kugel Dressing for a turkey.

Lynn:  There’s hardly a decoration stirring yet at my house but I have hopes of roaring into the season this weekend!  Giving me inspiration is my favorite little dinosaur, this time taking on Xmas in Dinosaur Vs. Santa (Disney/Hyperion 2012).  Having triumphed over bedtime, the potty and the library, Christmas doesn’t stand a chance against Dinosaur’s energy.  I definitely need some of that at my house!  From the tree decorated just around the bottom, to a letter to Santa to the tremendous challenge of going to sleep on Christmas Eve, Dinosaur’s efforts will make parents and young readers laugh out loud.

Bob Shea, as always, does some really funny things both with the wonderful text that begs to be read – or roared –  in unison to the bright exuberant illustrations.  Dinosaur starts out in orange pajamas and from then on has on a series of  wonderful Xmas sweaters and then green and red striped pajamas that little kids recognize as having been inflicted on them.  Dinosaur EVEN does something dinosaurs shouldn’t do – sneak down for a peek at Santa!  Be assured – a happy ending closes out the story.  Roar roar roar – this one is on my order list for the small dinosaurs arriving at our house for the holiday.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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