10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books

We all know the old standbys, but here is a list of Christmas books you may not have stumbled on.

Unusual Christmas Stories destined to become family favorites

This year I was on a mission to discover some new and unusual Children’s Christmas Books. We have recently moved and I’ve been visiting the Thousand Oaks Library. They have the most AMAZING collection of children’s books. There were shelves and shelves of Christmas Books, hundreds of them. I spent a recent afternoon reading and have culled out my 10 favorite new discoveries. I am an Amazon Associate and receive a small commission if you click on the illustration and purchase a book. Or you can support a local bookseller in your neighborhood, always a great option.  Either way, I hope you find a new family tradition among these books.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books

Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett

Jan Brett’s books are always gorgeous. The folktale and Scandinavian art charms children and adults alike. Not only are the illustrations of the main story beautiful, but the borders contain details about the Trolls pet hedgehogs. Truly, Brett’s books are works of art.

Beyond the visual, the story has a much needed message this time of year. The trolls start stealing Christmas decorations and presents from Trevi’s house thinking that then they can have Christmas. When they make off with the Christmas pudding Trevi follows them and learns that they just want to have Christmas too. Trevi sets out to show the trolls what Christmas is all about in a warm, fun tale you’ll want to share with your family.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas BooksSt. Francis and the Christmas Donkey by Robert Byrd

The story begins with Saint Francis of Assisi, known for his love of animals, coming across a grumbling donkey. The donkey is complaining of his lot in life carrying heavy burdens and being mocked for his braying voice. Saint Francis sits and tells the story of the donkey’s creation and how his pride led to the donkey’s place as a burden bearer. However, after the gentle rebuke the story continues with the role the humble donkey played in carrying Mary to Bethlehem. (While the story doesn’t include the donkey’s role in Christ entry into Jerusalem during Holy Week, parents could certainly provide that.)

With beautiful detailed illustrations, and a calm, warm rhythm to the story children will find this book engaging, as will animal lovers, parents and grandparents. A wonderful book for a gift, or as a donation to a church or library.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas BooksYou are My Miracle by Maryann Cusimano Love and Satomi Ichikawa

A wonderful story for even the youngest of children!  The illustrations evoke all the warmth of the Christmas season, and the story is told in a rhyming verse that emphasizes the bond between parent and child. A quick peek at the opening gives the tone of the book…”I am your parent, you are my child. I am your quiet place, you are my wild.”  Children will feel loved and wanted, parents will relate to the crazy love and life that only children bring.

The book is now available in both hardback, and a board book that is perfectly sized for a toddlers hands.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas BooksWho built the Stable: A Nativity Poem by Ashley Bryan

I was drawn to this book because of the vivid and bold illustrations, The author has said he was riding in an open jeep across the plains in Africa, the terrain and bumpy ride made him think of Mary’s journey to Bethlehem, and to question…who built the stable. He answers that question in this beautifully crafted poem. He envisions a young shepherd and carpenter, who recognizes in the infant Jesus another carpenter/shepherd. Filled with wonder and beauty this picture book captures the hope of the season.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books
The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna

My granddaughter is a fan of the Pout-Pout Fish, and I have to say it’s a pretty clever story, so I was pleased to find this Christmas version. If you are unfamiliar with the Pout-Pout Fish, he’s a glum, dreary guy that you can’t help but love. In this book he’s struggling with what Christmas gifts to give his friends.

Mr. Fish embodies the struggle that too many of us succumb to this time of year, trying to find something big, bright and perfect for each friend. His pursuit makes him forget that the most important part of a gift is that it is given from the heart. A sweet, simple story that will encourage children that they too can give heart felt gifts to those they love.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books
On Christmas Eve by Peter Collington

I admit to being enchanted by wordless stories, those captivating picture books that manage to tell a fanciful tale through pictures alone. Soft, old fashioned pencil drawings pull us through an enchanted drama that is dedicated to ‘chimney-less’ children everywhere.

A young girl’s Christmas dreams are fulfilled with the help of fairies. After going to bed on Christmas Eve, a tiny fairy enters her bedroom and confiscates her letter to Santa. After locating the house key, she admits her fairy assistants and the magic begins. Borrowing candles from the tree our tiny winged workers light a glowing path for Santa to follow. The illustrations conjure the perfect holiday fantasy and exploring the many intricate illustrations is a delight.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books
The Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett and Poly Bernatene

I am the mother of sons. Boys enjoy books with a bit of an edge, at least my boys did. The star of this book is Bradley Bartleby and is deliciously awful. His wealthy parents buy him everything he desires and he rules the household with his demands and tantrums. Everyone gives in to Bradley’s appalling behavior, everyone that is, except Santa Claus.

Bradley is incensed. Year after year all he gets from Santa are socks. So he makes a plan, he’ll trap Santa and steal all of the gifts. There are trapdoors, guillotines, dynamite, and tigers. Bradley is going all out to see he gets what he deserves. Oh, and he does get what he deserves. My favorite part of this story is that the author doesn’t feel compelled to wrap it all up with a transformed Bradley who is now filled with the Christmas spirit. Nope. Bradley gets socks…and some band-aids and antiseptic.  A clever, fun, and not so sweet Christmas tale.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books
Stephan’s Feast by Jean Richardson, Illustrated by Alice Englander

An appealing recounting of the Christmas Carol of good King Wenceslas. This retelling focuses on the King’s page, a young boy who is summoned by the King to see if he can identify the lone figure crossing the town square on a cold snowy Christmas Eve. The boy recognizes a poor farmer who comes into town to collect food scraps and firewood.

King Wenceslas bids the young page to gather supplies and the two set off into the snowstorm to deliver a feast to the man’s family. It’s a harrowing,and uncomfortable journey for the boy who wishes he could have stayed back at the castle. As they enter the poor man’s home, the King builds up the fire and lays out the feast. Over the course of dinner the page comes to a clearer understanding of what motivated his King to head off into the storm and the true meaning of Christmas.

A charming retelling of the classic story that would make a welcome addition your your Christmas library.10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books
The Money We’ll Save by Brock Cole

It’s the early nineteenth-century in a New York City tenement, and Pa, thinking to save money, has just come home with a young turkey to fatten up for Christmas dinner.  Of course, Ma knows this is a bad idea, and she’s right. It’s not that easy to raise a turkey in a crowded apartment building and Alfred, the turkey, isn’t really co-operating.  The neighbors are complaining and Alfred is making a mess, yet Pa manages to solve each problem as Christmas draws closer.

There is one problem however, that threatens to ruin Christmas completely, and the family has to join together to save the day.  Funny, charming, and satisfying, this holiday story is a winner.

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas BooksHurry, Hurry. Have You Heard? by Laura Krauss Melmed

A young bird is in the rafters when a baby is born. As the mother sings a lullaby the birds heart is filled to bursting. Flying out of the stable the bird spreads the news of the infants birth. A menagerie of woodland creatures gather to go meet the new baby. A charming story with sweet illustrations. While not your typical nativity story (the baby is never actually named) I found this book charming.

 

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  • Ellen Bayles

    Thanks so much for sharing these, Kelly. I’ll be putting a link from my blog for other bloggers who might be looking for good Christmas books.

    • kelly

      Thanks, it was way more work to write book summaries than I thought it would be.

  • eileen3600

    Wonderful list of book and reviews. Thanks for sharing.

    • kelly

      Thanks Eileen!