Full disclosure: this is a #secondthought on a #secondthought I had back in 2016, only this time I’m coming at it from the viewpoint of a grandparent.
My granddaughter’s first Christmas was last year and, at 8 months, she had no real idea what was going on. It was a just a big family gathering where the gift which most diverted her was the remote control car Himself got for her and which the grown-ups were happily ‘driving’ around the room. Her little eyes followed it everywhere. But now, at 18 months old, she just loves books – which obviously gives great joy to this reading grandparent. After my initial over-enthusiasm when I purchased every single children’s book on my daughter’s amazon wish list, I’ve been better behaved. But now it’s Christmas … and let’s be honest, there are Christmas book traditions to be started.
My first stop had to be the Christmas book “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C Moore …
I was drawn to a pop-up version in board book format, illustrated by Gina Bordicchia which I thought could be perfect for surviving enthusiastic young hands. I was disappointed, though, to discover that it’s an abbreviated version of the poem as, ideally, I’d wanted one copy of the book which would last throughout childhood. On the positive side – the illustrations are really rather lovely and the pop-ups look not just great but robust. As the book is relatively small, it would also work well for a small person’s hands. There are other board book versions, but I discounted them after reviewers commented about spelling errors (unforgivable) and glitter (no-one needs that stuff getting everywhere). I decided my best option was to buy this for one for the early years, and to buy another – more older-child-suitable version – in due course for keepsaking.
Then I came across an alternative version of the poem written by Kes Grey (illustrated by Claire Powell) which I think has may earn the right to go on my older-child-suitable version list alongside the traditional poem – and then realised this is exactly how I get into trouble over there being so many books …
Next, I checked to see if her favourite CeeBeebies characters – Sarah & Duck – have a Christmas book. Hurrah! They do, so Sarah & Duck and the Christmas Lights – also in board book format – leapt into my shopping basket. If you aren’t familiar with them (I wasn’t), all I can say is that they make my granddaughter smile.
Then, on a trip to my local National Trust property on a cold but gorgeous autumnal day, I wandered around snapping pics with my new (landscape-suitable) lens, before seeking sanctuary from the cold in the festively decorated shop. There were books … who am I kidding, of course there were. There, yet another in board book format was to be found leaping into my shopping basket – “A Christmas Wish: A Peter Rabbit Tale” – for after all, a person can’t go wrong with Beatrix Potter surely?
And there I felt I had to stop the actual shopping – for this year at least.
For next year, there are a number of books in consideration – Allan & Janet Ahlberg’s “Jolly Christmas Postman” for one. A number of people have recommended “Lucy & Tom’s Christmas” and “Alfie’s Christmas” by Shirley Hughes as nostalgic options. As someone who was more influenced by Christmas USA-style than by Victorian-style English, these don’t immediately tick my boxes, but an in-the-paper browse is probably required before making any final decision. I can see that seasonal book buying could become one of the many joys of being a grandparent.
© Debra Carey, 2018
In closing, we hope this festive season has provided you with some wonderful reading or some gorgeous writing materials (both for the luckiest of us) and that 2019 provides you with the time to make the most of them 😀