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We’ve shared our ‘books as holiday art’ in years past (do check out that earlier post, as it has even more cool/funny/beautiful picture books) and wanted to share a handful of photos from this year’s holiday book-o-rating; some stay the same from year to year, but we have a few new ones, including this year’s addition to our holiday collection, Here Come Santa Cat (hilarious; check it out), which looks as if it was made for our funky Christmas cat, a favorite gift from my sister-in-law years ago.

photo 1

My childhood favorite, Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree + our off-balance felt Christmas trees seems about right.

photo 2

Our snowy wooden trees always go with Eric Carle’s Dream Snow.

photo 5

Olivia Helps with Christmas, Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas and Babar and Father Christmas are making the mantel colorful this year (along with the 50 roses my friends surprised me with for a certain milestone birthday).



Our red-themed, tree-topped cake platter of books has a few variations this year:

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We hope you enjoy our take on making beautiful picture books part of our holiday celebration: Merry holidays, happy new year and jolly reading to you from LitKid and AKid@Heart!


This old-fashioned rhyming picture book, first published in 1966, was LitKid’s second pick from our collection for reading this holiday season.

Santa Mouse (written by Michael Brown and illustrated by Elfrieda DeWitt) is particularly special in our house because it is responsible for one of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions (pay close attention, and you’ll figure out what it is).


(Hermione, one of the ‘Lost in a Book’ kittens, has once again photo-bombed.)


I love this opening illustration, which always reminds me a little of another favorite from my childhood — Gus the Friendly Ghost (see our earlier post), in which a mouse inhabits a big old house.


This little mouse living all alone in a house doesn’t even have a name … but he does have a big imagination ~ and CHEESE.


Then he makes a new friend who gives the little mouse an important new job … and the trip of a lifetime.


And when Christmas Eve rolls around, we like to imagine Santa Mouse catching a ride down our chimney with the Big Guy … and we’re always prepared, just in case.


We hope you can find a copy of Santa Mouse and enjoy it this Christmas!

LitKid and I love reading the holiday picture books we’ve collected every bit as much now as we did when she was a little thing; taking them out of their off-season spot high in her closet is one of the first things we do to kick off the holidays.

We try to read one every night, and tonight she picked this one:


All of the books in the “If You…” series are fun; we love the holiday twist of this one, not to mention the movie theme, as watching schmaltzy movies is also one of our holiday traditions.


(Until we opened the book tonight, I had forgotten that Laura Numeroff signed the book back when LitKid was just 4 years old.)

Here is a favorite spread from the book (complete with kitten photobomb) … Happy holiday reading!



The Christmas Quiet Book

Written by Deborah Underwood; illustrated by Renata Liwska


Every year, we go to our favorite book place, Quail Ridge Books and Music, in search of one new picture book to add to our holiday collection.

This year – especially the past few months, with LitKid thrown into the much more demanding world of middle school – has felt nonstop, so when I spotted the title of this book, it had instant appeal.

Both of us loved what we found when we looked at each page of this simple but lovely book, which doesn’t tell a story in the traditional sense. Instead, it celebrates the many kinds of quiet you can enjoy in the midst of the holidays … the kinds of joys full-speed-ahead human beings often don’t take time to experience.

“Searching for presents quiet.”

“Getting caught quiet.”

“Hoping for a snow day quiet.”

And many more.

This was a shoe-in for our 2012 holiday picture book and will be kept in a prominent spot between now and New Year’s so we’ll be reminded to slow down and have those quiet moments.

We wish you and yours many quiet joys (including reading, of course) over the holidays and in the year to come!


As we mentioned in a post this summer, we like to use our picture books as artwork, brightening our window sills, tables and any other spots in need of a jolt of color and beauty. When December rolls around, our holiday picture book collection takes over. Among our favorites to display are the Auntie Claus books (see our review), Great Joy, Olivia Helps with Christmas, Dream Snow and Russell’s Christmas Magic. We’re happy to share a few photos of our holiday-book-art from both last year and this year (including our new display of festive red novels and nonfiction served up on a cake plate).


Auntie Claus

By Elise Primavera

Auntie Claus is one of our favorites because it draws you in automatically with the fantastic illustrations. When young Sophie Kringle decides to tag along on her aunt’s – that is,  Auntie Claus’s – mysterious annual business trip, she doesn’t know what’s in store for her.

She stows away in one of Auntie Claus’s boxes, and when the trip is over, she finds she’s at the North Pole! When she gets mistaken for the new elf, the search for her aunt is on. After weeks in the mailroom, she moves on to a more dangerous task: retrieving the Bad-Boy-&-Girl list. To find out more, you’ll have to read the book!

~ LitKid (the 10-year-old reviewer)

Note from AKid@Heart (the mom): We were at our favorite bookstore, Quail Ridge Books and Music, when Ms. Primavera visited a few years ago, and the backstory of how she created the art for Auntie Claus (on huge canvasses) was truly amazing. There are two other Auntie Claus books — Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas and Auntie Claus, Home for the Holidays – and they always figure prominently in our holiday “books as art” displays. Ms. Primavera’s illustrations are, in a word, gorgeous (an adjective I rarely use, but in this case, gushing is in order), and the rich, colorful covers brighten our holiday scene.  

Mouse’s First Christmas

By Lauren Thompson

Illustrated by Buket Erdogen

Last night, LitKid and I sleepily read our well-worn board book version of Mouse’s First Christmas, one we have both loved since she was a toddler.

The illustrations are velvety and inviting, and for me, the words are especially charming both because of their artful arrangement on the pages (on the candy cane page, the words take the shape of a candy cane) and because of the way that they have been made … cozy.

A few of the book’s descriptions:

… warm and melty

… jingly and glinty

… bright and flickery

… fine and silvery

… soft and felty

… tinkly and twirly

… whiskery and jolly

It’s a simple, lovely book for toddlers as well as former toddlers …

~AKid@Heart (the mom reviewer)

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July 2018
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