We originally found these last year, but I’ve included the links to the free read alouds this year- enjoy!
What the Dinosaurs Did The Night Before Christmas by: Refe and Susan Tuma was hilarious! The staging and photographing of the dinosaurs perfectly compliment this entertaining tale of the antics that only the most mischievous of plastic toys can get into on Christmas eve night. From using the nutcracker to crunch up all the candy canes to collapsing and devouring the gingerbread house to knocking down the Christmas tree these dinosaurs had a blast impersonating Santa and ultimately bringing down the house before taking off into the night on a rocket propelled sled. I’m not going to lie, this was my son’s favorite pick!
Carla and the Christmas Cornbread by: Carla Hall was an adorably endearing tale of two little girls and their Christmas tradition of going to their grandma’s house and cooking up cornbread on Christmas eve. The night goes well- a delicious meal with grandma and grandpa, stories around the Christmas tree, cornbread cooked to perfection, and then tragedy! Carla accidentally eats part of the cookie that’s supposed to be for Santa. She feels awful, but Grandma saves the day by whipping up some last-minute surprise cornbread to replace the ill-fated cookie. Turns out Santa loves cornbread even more than cookies!
Vegetables in Holiday Underwear by: Jared Chapman was irresistible based on the title and cover art alone. I simply had to crack open to binding to explore this crazy, zany, off kilter little story about a pea that loved holiday underwear and his friend the broccoli that can’t understand why (the facial expressions on the broccoli are priceless). The ending perfectly fits the nonsensical nature of the book by establishing that perhaps baby vegetables are not quite ready for holiday underwear. Great for a silly laugh and wonderfully short sentences with big, bold font for your beginning reader.
When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! by: Laura Rader was a cute little tale about, as the name implies, poor Santa losing his ability to laugh and go ho, ho, ho. Doctors, friends, family, elves, pets all try to help Santa to recover his lost laughter to no avail and the more he tries to laugh and can’t, the crabbier he gets. Turns out all Santa needed was a nap and a little reminder that everyone is allowed to have a crabby day as long as they don’t forget the healing power of laughter.
Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas by: Julia Rawlinson was every bit as good as Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (which I featured in my fall book review). Altruistic little Fletcher the fox is back in this tale setting aside his own Christmas plans to help out his friends the rabbits who have moved recently. Fletcher is concerned that Santa will not have their new address, so he sets to work leaving a trail of arrows for Santa to follow. All Fletcher’s friends pitch in to get the job done before the sun sets and the rabbit family is so grateful that they throw a party to thank them. To Fletcher’s horror he discovers that while they were celebrating it was snowing outside and his arrows are all covered. The next morning all the friends return to the rabbit’s burrow bringing some of their gifts to share only to find that Santa prevailed despite the snow! The bunnies are delighted to see their friends again which turns out to be the best gift of all!
Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mamma by: Selina Alko is a wonderfully simple and straightforward explanation of what Hanukkah and Christmas are. It follows the traditions of a family that celebrates the uniqueness of both holidays in a fabulously blended and harmonious way.
Santa On The Loose by: Bruce Hale instantly brought my nineties childhood of Where’s Waldo books back to me. Your kids will have a blast hunting through the very ‘Waldo-esc’ Christmas scenes to find Santa Clause and his clues. Children must analyze the evidence and use critical thinking skills to solve which suspect is guilty of absconding with the world’s Christmas gifts before it’s too late!
Ming’s Christmas Wishes by: Susan L. Gong was set in California in the nineteen thirties. Though the story takes place in the past, I feel that many people today can, unfortunately, still relate to the cultural insensitivity and segregation that Ming feels as the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Ming decides that if she won’t be allowed to sing in the choir, then she at least wants a Christmas tree, but the idea does not go over well with her mother. Ming’s father intercedes and takes her up to Grandfather’s Mountain where she learns that the pine tree is a symbol of long life and strong character and thus should not be cut down. Together they dig up the sacred tree and bring it home to live out it’s long life with them.
Santa in the City by: Tiffany D. Jackson did a wonderful job exploring the trials and tribulations of kids as they reach the age where some of their peers have stopped believing in Santa. Deja’s mom does a fabulous job answering the tough questions like how Santa gets in if there’s no chimney or how Santa parallel parks his reindeer on the busy city streets. In the end Deja finds a special message from Santa himself proving that he really did come to visit Deja in her city.
Enjoy these books and others for free at your local library this holiday season! Stay warm and toasty!