Monday, December 18, 2006

Waiting For Christmas

For the past three or four years, I've noticed that the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has gotten alarmingly shorter and shorter. As I write this, it's exactly one week until Christmas Day. I fly back to my hometown, New Orleans, this Friday. My calendar tells me that Thanksgiving was over a month ago, but my mind thinks otherwise!

When I was younger, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas was annoyingly long. Isn't that true for most children? You can light the Advent candles every week or have a Christmas countdown calendar, but that doesn't make the time go that much faster.

Waiting For Christmas touches on that feeling from the perspective of two children. They just cannot wait for Christmas Day. It's not like they don't find ways to pass the time, however. A warm fire and hot cider are welcome treats after a hard day of sledding down hills. Looking for hidden presents is also a fun, but futile, activity. Finally, it's time to sleep and ultimately awaken to greet the Christmas day.

The text is quite simple; only a line per page. The gorgeous illustrations of this close-knit African American family are knockouts. It's a good read aloud for young children. Some "one line per page" books don't work well for storytimes/read alouds if there isn't much there to capture the children's attention. Occasionally, those type of books will cram so many words into one line that the meaning is lost on the children. Children can relate to this brother and sister pair, and the illustrations are expansive and rich in detail. I always include this in my holiday storytimes, and I usually have a mom wanting to check it out after storytime (I love it when that happens!).

I love books about Santa, but I also love books in which the main emphasis is on the family aspect of Christmas. The emphasis in Waiting for Christmas is definitely on the family (through the illustrations) and on the children finding ways to pass the time. A real winner.

If you're looking for some fun Christmas websites, check these out:

KidsDomain's Christmas crafts

Apples4theteacher's Christmas site

BlackDog's Christmas Fun and Games

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