“Little Santa” by Jon Agee

Happy Holidays Everyone!

White or not,  I hope your Holidays are  joyous and bright! And warm. The last one is my personal wish. We are going to NY tomorrow and I must say, I’m freezing already. I will need a lot of hot chocolate (and other beverages) in the following days. Especially at my parents-in-law’s house with it’s cathedral ceilings. You just can’t heat that place up! Is the dislike of low temperatures symptomatic of getting older? It can’t depend on the upbringing as I had four proper seasons growing-up. It must be something to do with age. The Claus family from today’s book seems to confirm my theory.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus could not take the miserable weather of the North Pole any longer. They decided to move to Florida. Unfortunately not all of their children fancied the idea. Little Santa Claus would rather play in the snow than bathe in the sun. Lucky for Santa, a big blizzard complicates the move. The house is cut off by the snow. Yet, it is Little Santa who finds a way out through the chimney, meets a helpful reindeer and a bunch of elves, all ready to rescue the Claus family. The move to Florida happens as planned. However, someone has changed his plans…

If you want to know who decided to stay behind, you have to read the book. An amusing story about Santa’s fun childhood in the North Pole. Humorous cartoons with numerous curious details. Classic Agee. A great book to read this Christmas or any time.

Time to pack suitcases and get ready for the trip, so once again, Happy Holidays, Everyone! Stay warm in this cold season and see you on my pages next year!

 

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“Hubert Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent” by Lauren Child

I love the holiday season. But if there is one thing I just loathe about it is the commercials. We all know that advertising should be taken with a grain of salt, but this time of the year, we are talking a giant salt rock. You just NEED TO  have those leather boots and that designer purse IN TIME for the holidays. You simply HAVE TO get your wife that new car and your kids will have the best holiday ever ONLY if YOU BUY THEM the latest tech gadgets. Seriously? Is the key to Merry Christmas hidden in the piles of deals, novelties and must-haves at the ever so overwhelming shopping malls? Is the shopping frenzy a fool-proof recipe for a happy holiday? How much money are we supposed to spend this year to guarantee our success as a ‘gifter’? What about those who won’t find a tower of presents under their tree? Is the Christmas passing them by? Has Santa forgotten about them?

It might sound preposterous, but I think we need some kind of Grinch this Christmas. Someone who would take away all those flashy extras and fancy-wrapped redundancies, so that we could see again the bare beauty of this holiday and redefine its magic.

Today’s book is not about Christmas as such. But it is about happiness and what makes us truly happy.

Huber Horatio Bartle Bobton-Trent was a child prodigy. He was great at many things. His parents on the other hand, were great at playing board games, throwing parties and throwing their grand fortune away. Every time their genius son would come up with a genius plan to secure his family money, the effort would be wasted due to his parents’ love of fun. He would charge money to visit their mansion, but the parents would invite the numerous guests to a party, for example. Finally, Hubert decided to sell whatever was left and the family moved to a modest apartment building. Surprisingly, nobody minded. At least now the people loving parents had lots of neighbors to chat with. The family could be closer to each other and Hubert’s hot chocolate was still warm when he got to his parents’ bedroom to play games. After all, money was not the thing that defined Hubert’s family and it wasn’t directly proportional to their happiness. On the contrary, actually.

Let’s remember this as we prepare for this holiday season. Christmas is a time of giving, no doubt about it, but best gifts are in us. Let’s show it to our children this holiday season. Let’s give our loved ones our best. 

As far as the book, Lauren Child has proven her superb creativity once again. Witty humor,  engaging story, inventive illustrations.  One of a kind.

 

History of Arts- a series by Laurence Anholt

Is it already December 7th? I feel like I still should write something about the upcoming Holidays before you start throwing your Christmas trees aways. Therefore, with today’s post, I’m closing the Arts team. Armed with great books, I tried to convince you in my previous posts that learning through art can have lots of advantages for your child. From developing fine motor skills , to stimulating their imagination, and exposing  interest and talent in art, dabbing at creative activities at school or home is a win-win game for kids and parents alike. Today’s books are no longer meant to argue for the obvious benefits.  Today’s books, all of them written by Laurence Anholt,  are meant to introduce children to some of the greatest artists in the history of art and serve as an art lesson and inspiration. 

1. “Degas and the Little Dancer” 

 A wonderful way to introduce your child to Edgar Degas, a great French painter and sculptor,  a lover of horses and dancers. The book is actually about his most famous sculpture, a little dancer. By learning who was the model, your child learns a lot about the artists. A beautiful and touching story.

2. “The Magical Garden of Claude Monet” 

Lilly, a little girl from Paris goes to visit the country. She thinks she is visiting a regular garden and meeting a regular gardener, but in fact, she is chatting with the very Monet. A poetic lesson on impressionism

3. “Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail”

Shy Sylvette got convinced by her neighbor, Picasso, to pose for a picture.  Aren’t you curious to see the result? Would you like to be painted by Picasso? A great introduction to cubism. 

Surprise, surprise, there are more books by the same author about other great artists. Van Gogh, Cezanne, Mattise… A list is long. Definitely not boring, certainly not too difficult, actually, most engaging and educational. Quite a creative series. A delightfully colorful reading treat.