Archive for Holiday

Merry Christmas, Mr. Mouse

Written and Illustrated by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner

Hidden pictures add to the excitement of this new book by the creators of, Snowmen at Night.

This rhyming story tells of a mouse family that moves into a nook under a kitchen floor. Their first discovery is special cooking and decorating done by the people of the house. Without missing a beat, Mr. Mouse hurries back to the nook and begins the same party preparations for his own family.

Grade one and grade two readers will enjoy reading this story on their own. Preschool listeners will be awed by the bright colored multi-layered illustrations. There are even hidden pictures on every page, with answers provided on the backside of the cover. What a neat idea!

Everyone will enjoy recognizing the everyday items carried into the nook by the mice to be used for their own furniture, clothing and snacks. Perhaps a discussion will follow about other household items to see how they could be used by others. What an interesting look at spatial relationships to see Mrs. Mouse using a birthday candle as a living room reading lamp.

Librarians, teachers, and parents should put this on the purchasing list right away. Literacy skills will be met in the core curriculum standards in multiple areas. Picture clues, rhyming words, predicting outcomes, and cause and effect, are just examples of the skill practice possible.

Buy on Amazon

  • Merry Christmas MouseTitle:  Merry Christmas, Mr. Mouse
  • Authors/Illustrators:  Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner
  • Publisher:  Dial Books, 2015
  • Reviewer: Elizabeth Swartz
  • Format:  Hardcover, 32 pages
  • ISBN:  978-0-8037-4010-5
  • Genre: Picture Book
  • Grade level: PreK to 2
  • Extras: Hidden pictures in the illustrations.

Turkey Claus

Written by Wendi Silvano

Illustrated by Lee Harper

Buy on Amazon

In a sequel to Turkey Trouble, also by the duo of Silvano and Harper, Turkey finds that he may yet be the centerpiece for a holiday meal. Though he made it safely through Thanksgiving without being eaten, Turkey now overhears Farmer Jake and his wife, Edna, discussing a Christmas turkey dinner.

Turkey heads to the North Pole in hopes of Santa Claus solving his dilemma, but he’s turned away by elves protecting Santa’s time on the day before Christmas. Silvano and Harper cleverly adorn Turkey in fun, holiday-themed disguises to hopefully gain entrance to Santa’s presence. Though he strikes out with most of his disguises, Turkey finally sneaks in, hidden in a gift, and Santa saves the day. Turkey, dressed as Santa, delivers Gobblers Pizza to the farmer and his wife, just in time for dinner.

The illustrations are charmingly delightful, and the elves comments to Turkey are sarcastically humorous for adult and children’s entertainment, yet seriously explanatory to solve the mystery of each disguise. “Candy canes don’t have beaks,” explains the elf when Turkey is surprised that he’s discovered.

Parents and teachers will enjoy adding this humorous second grade book to their holiday reading list for must-read-alouds. Following the story, adults can use this website to find a three-dimensional turkey craft. After the children complete a turkey craft, supply them with various Christmas arts and crafts supplies (be sure to supply some unusual, atypical crafty kind of items to stir their imaginations) for each child to create a holiday-themed “disguise” for Turkey. Then, pair each child with a friend to act out an elf-scene from the book. Encourage one child to use his turkey to say, “May I please see Santa?” Have the (elf) partner reply with, “No turkey is getting in here today!” When the “turkey” says, “How’d you recognize me?” the (elf) partner replies with an acceptable answer to match his/her disguise.

Children will enjoy reading this unique Christmas story (most Christmas stories don’t have a turkey dinner as the theme of the book) during the December season as a fun twist to the usual holiday-ish kind of story. The story will stir their imaginations, and kids will find themselves attempting to think of other disguises for Turkey, because after all, who wouldn’t want to gain entry to Santa’s presence?

  • Turkey ClausTITLE: Turkey Claus
  • AUTHOR: Wendi Silvano
  • ILLUSTRATOR: Lee Harper
  • PUBLISHER: Amazon Children’s Publishing
  • REVIEWER: Julie Lavender
  • EDITION: Hard Cover, 32 p.
  • ISBN: 978-0761462392
  • GENRE: Holiday/Christmas
  • LEXILE: 500

The Visit: The Origin of the Night before Christmas

Written by Mark Kimball Moulton
Illustrated by Susan Winget

Buy on Amazon

In this new edition of the story behind the beloved Christmas poem, Moulton and Winget create a beautiful keepsake. Written from the oral history provided by Clement Moore’s great-great-great-granddaughter, Ms. Dinghy Sharp, Moulton captures the spirit and wonder of “The Night before Christmas” through poetry similar in rhyme and meter to the original. Moore wrote the original as a gift to his sick daughter. He never dreamed it would become the beloved classic that it is. The author begins with Ms. Sharp’s firsthand memories of her grandfather, then has the grandfather relate his memories, and on back. Much of the language in the original is outdated, and Moulton deftly explains terms like “coursers” and why Papa needed to tear open the shutters and throw up the sash. Moore himself was known as Papa and was sought out to tell stories to children. Why did everyone hang the stockings by the chimney? The description of Saint Nicholas and the sleigh came directly from Moore’s neighbor and the sleighs used of the time. Winget’s gorgeous illustrations make the book a memento. Readers will feel part of the worlds of 1936 and 1822 and can spend hours looking at the details in the pictures.

The book works well as a read aloud for small children and as an independent reader for late second to early third grade readers. Possible reading activities include learning about the first Saint Nicholas, a poetry unit, and discussing family oral history. The author’s website ( highlights this book and his other work.

  • VisitTitle: The Visit: The Origin of the Night Before Christmas
  • Author: Mark Kimball Moulton
  • Illustrator: Susan Winget
  • Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2013
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Format: Hardcover, 54 pages
  • Genre: Picture book, Holidays, Christmas, Poetry, History, Creative Nonfiction
  • ISBN: 978-0-545-03532-3

Caleb’s Hanukkah

Written by Lisa Bullard
Illustrated by Constanza Basaluzzo

Buy on Amazon

Caleb has been practicing, and this year he is going to win at the dreidel! As schools seek to teach about diversity and tolerance, it is essential that students learn about holidays that span the many cultures of America and beyond. Caleb’s Hanukkah is a fantastic book for introducing a young elementary class to the basic principles of Hanukkah. Second graders will find this book easy to follow and comprehend. It is structured in a short chapter format, and on each page, there is information that relays Caleb’s story and Hanukkah traditions, but each page also has notes in tabs that offer detailed explanations about various aspects of Hanukkah. The storyline of this book would be well-suited for reading aloud, but the information tabs are better for individual reading. I love that this book introduces the Jewish history behind Hanukkah and not just the ways that contemporary Jews practice Hanukkah.
» Read more

Trick or Treat

Writtten by Leo Landry 

Buy on Amazon

Trick or Treat is a fun picture book for kids whether they have it read aloud or are able to read it independently.  Second grade level readers should have no problem reading independently and the illustrations and the twist at the end of the story will keep them engaged and turning the page.

Teachers will appreciate this addition to the first or second grade classroom library especially during the month of October because it is such a fun Halloween book with a hint of scary without being offensive to parents or too frightening to the reader.

Trick or Treat is a wonderful example of a story that has levels of comprehension and meaning told with few words. It is not just an ordinary Halloween party story but a party with unexpected human guests. The fact that the main character was not expecting two children to appear is just one fun twist to what the author shares throughout the story.

The book offers the teacher an opportunity to ask great questions of the reader to test second grade reader comprehension and also to encourage students to write their own fun Halloween stories. The ending itself offers much room for classroom discussion because it leaves the main character in a cliff hanging predicament, a perfect time to ask the students what they would do.

From the invitation on the jacket flap to the hysterical twist at the end of the story, the story will be enjoyed by adults and the young readers who master the pages.

  • trick or treatTitle: Trick or Treat
  • Author: Leo Landry
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-547-24969-8
  • Reviewer: Terri Forehand