Seven Super Christmas Picture Books
Published on: 12 December 2022
Our Writer-Illustrator in Residence Nick Sharratt shares some festive books to snuggle up with.
I’ve been down to my local bookshop to check out what Christmas picture books are out there this year, and there are so many to choose from! I had a nice long browse. Good bookshops are very happy for you to browse. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice either – the staff in independent bookshops in particular can be extremely knowledgeable and may have some very helpful suggestions for books to suit the specific child you’re buying for.
These are the books that took my fancy most, the majority of them just published this year.
Tiny Reindeer by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros
Reindeers appear in lots of the books I’ve picked, but this book features the weeniest one. Tiny reindeer doesn’t know how to help Santa at Christmas as he’s much too small for sleigh-pulling and all the other regular tasks in the run-up to Christmas Eve. But when he stumbles across a little girl’s letter, he becomes a reindeer on a mission! The delightful, spontaneous-feeling illustrations have a lot of fun with Tiny’s size and bring extra charm to the touching story.
What the Ladybird heard at Christmas by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks
Macmillan Children’s Books
A seasonal addition to the phenomenal What the Ladybird Heard series, created by two stars of the children’s book world. Once again, the ladybird must pit her wits against those two troublemakers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len. As always with Julia, the plot and the humour are pitched perfectly for small children and the text is a joy to read aloud. The illustrations are really bright and jolly and I was very taken with Lydia’s photo-collage Christmas tree (I do find them tricky things to draw with all their branches!). If you look very carefully, you might be able to spot a tiny Julia and her husband out for a stroll in one of the pictures.
We Disagree about this Tree by Ross Collins
A splendidly silly tale with uncluttered, wonderfully expressive illustrations. Bear and Mouse have different opinions about how to decorate the Christmas tree. Hilarity and chaos follow as they compete with their baubles, lights and tinsel, and the poor tree takes a real battering. There’s a happy resolution in the end, of course, and some brilliant creative rhyming with the word ’tree’. I take my hat off to Ross for getting the word ‘Manatee’ into a Christmas book!
Kid Christmas: of the Claus Brothers Toyshop by David Litchfield
The amazing artwork really does seem to glow in this sumptuous book, which tells the story of Nicky Claus, who works in a toy shop with his brothers. After encountering children living on the streets, he’s determined that every child will receive a toy on one special night of the year and sets about making that happen with a bit of magic and some flying reindeer. Any idea who Nicky might grow up to be in later years? A heart-warming story with illustrations that will entrance.
Nibbles’ Christmas by Emma Yarlett
Little Tiger Press
Nibbles the book monster is a greedy little character who enjoys eating his way through stories – quite literally. There are actual holes in the pages of Emma Yarlett’s ingenious Nibbles books where the cheeky chap creates lots of amusing havoc with his chomping. And now he gets a Christmas board book to sink his teeth into. As well as the holes that work so brilliantly, there are flaps to lift and a counting theme too, so plenty to keep little ones entertained. And it’s a really nice size for small hands.
Merry little Christmas by Sally Symes and Nick Sharratt
Another festive board book with holes, this time for putting your fingers through, to make wiggling legs for a collection of Christmas characters: a snowman, a reindeer, a Christmas tree fairy, a gingerbread man and Santa, of course… With a gentle rhyming text and fun sounds to say on each page (‘ting-a-ling’, ‘flip flap flip! ‘Yum-yummy-yum!’) this book is guaranteed to engage and amuse babies and toddlers. The cheerful pictures are by, oh yes, me!
Christmas Street by Jonathan Emmett and Ingela P Arrhenuis
This is a stunner of a book. It opens up concertina-style to become a great long street of beautifully drawn, brightly coloured shops, each one with two flaps so you can discover what’s going on in each store, and in the rooms upstairs as well. There’s an alphabetical theme and lots of festive words to learn, but the artwork and flaps alone would keep a child entranced for ages. And as an extra bonus, you can flip the book and discover another fabulous winter frieze-style scene on the back. Fabulous!
Thank you to The Book Nook in Hove for their assistance.
Check out our list of Hanukkah books too!