December 18, 2014

Antarctic rabbits

Tom Crean's Rabbit: a True Story from Scott's Last Voyage

by Meredith Hooper & Bert Kitchen

Tom the Sailor is trying to find a nest for his pet rabbit. It can't share a hammock with the cat, sit on a perch like the parrot, or live in the cold, dark hold. Eventually he finds Little Rabbit a nest in the hay, next to the ponies. It's Christmas in Antarctica, and Little Rabbit has a present for Tom - seventeen babies!

Crean was part of Robert Falcon Scott's fateful 1910 expedition aboard the Terra Nova. This story is based on an entry in Scott's diary. 

The Antarctic landscape is the perfect backdrop for an appropriately wintry holiday read. 

December 16, 2014

Mexican Christmas legend

Here are two different versions of a Mexican Christmas legend. They tell the stories of two young girls who do not have a gift for the baby Jesus. Both gather weeds to bring into the church and since they are gifts from the heart, the weeds miraculously transform into the brilliantly-coloured poinsettia.

The Legend of the Poinsettia
by Tomie DePaola

Lucida is the young girl whose prayer at the altar turns weeds into flowers. De Paola's folk-style artwork lend warmth to his words.

The Miracle of the First Poinsettia: A Mexican Christmas Story
by Joanne Oppenheim
illustrated by Fabian Negrin

In Oppenheim's story, the transformation occurs as Juanita carries the weeds down the aisle. Negrin's beautiful pictures are dark and luminous. 

Both stories are wonderful additions to any holiday-themed library.

December 10, 2014

Fishy Christmas story

Carl the Christmas Carp
by Ian and Vladyana Krykorka

Not everyone eats turkey for Christmas. In Prague, Czech Republic, the usual fare is fish. In this tale, a boy named Radim helps his father pick out a nice fat carp for Christmas dinner. They keep it in the bathtub. Radim soon names it Carl and starts feeling sorry for it. When Christmas Day arrives, he decides to set Carl free.  

A charming holiday story that will appeal to those who love animals. As well, the lovely, wind-swept pictures cheerfully evoke the scenery and people of Prague.

December 3, 2014

Rabbits celebrate the season

Winter Moon Song
by Martha Brooks
pictures by Letica Ruifernández

If you look carefully at the moon, you may see the image of a rabbit. How the rabbit got there is revealed in this quiet, thoughtful picture book. A young rabbit prepares to sing in an annual concert to lighten the darkest time of the year. The song is performed beautifully, but the rabbit feels that it can be better. So begins a new tradition.

Martha Brooks' version of the Moon Rabbit creation story has the tone of an ancient story told by a wise elder. Meanwhile, the serene watercolors by Letica Ruifernández provides an air of timelessness. The combination makes for a tender bedtime story.