Dec 192010
 

The Polar Express
by Chris Van Alsburg

One couldn’t select a more delightful and exciting premise for a children’s book than the tale of a young boy lying awake on Christmas Eve only to have Santa Claus sweep by and take him on a trip with other children to the North Pole. And one couldn’t ask for a more talented artist and writer to tell the story than Chris Van Allsburg. Allsburg, a sculptor who entered the genre nonchalantly when he created a children’s book as a diversion from his sculpting, won the 1986 Caldecott Medal for this book, one of several award winners he’s produced. The Polar Express rings with vitality and wonder.

Watch the trailer

Ideas, lessons, printables, games, party fun, and much more

Lesson plans and activities

Lessons, resources and integrated units

Scholastic Lesson plan

Ideas, guides, activities and integrated units

Buy the book

Dec 172010
 

Merry Christmas, Splat
Written and Illustrated by Rob Scotton

The third hilarious story about Splat the Cat, the irresistible character from Rob Scotton, bestselling creator of Russell the Sheep Splat the cat can’t wait for Christmas and is SURE he’s been good enough for Santa to bring him all the presents on his Christmas list. But just in case Santa needs reminding of what an exceptionally good cat he is, Splat makes himself EXTRA helpful around the house. It’s tiring work being helpful, but when Splat goes to bed on Christmas Eve he’s kept awake by a worrying thought…Just how good do you need to be for Santa to visit? A charming Christmas story perfect for any eager child awaiting Santa’s arrival.

Dec 162010
 

The Jolly Christmas Postman (The Jolly Postman) (Hardback)
By Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Illustrated by Janet Ahlberg

It’s Christmas Eve and the Jolly Postman is delivering greetings to various fairy-tale characters – there’s a card for Baby Bear, a game appropriately called ‘Beware’ for Red Riding Hood from Mr Wolf, a get-well jigsaw for hospitalized Humpty Dumpty and three more surprise envelopes containing letters, and cards.

A Genre Study of Letters With The Jolly Postman

Questions to ask before, during, and after reading

Activities

Language arts/Reading – Historical fiction

Library Letter Writing Unit Plan

Dec 142010
 

The Night Before Christmas
by Clement C. Moore, Illustrated by Mary Engelbreit

The full text of the familiar poem is illustrated in Engelbreit’s crisply decorated style. A large trim size (11″ x 11″) allows each highly embellished spread to hold a plethora of detail. Engelbreit’s visions of sugarplums translate to a busy-bright patchwork of checks, plaids, paisleys and chintzes in this oversize volume. From the opening stanza’s view of the non-stirring mouse’s hole (a cracked teacup is his bed, a potholder his doormat, and a paintbrush is his broom) and throughout the verses, the artist adds lots of elves and ornamentation. The cast of rambunctious elves accompany an exceptionally jolly St. Nick as he leaves assorted old-fashioned candies and toys inside a home decorated in a spectrum of Engelbreit’s trademark patterns and prints. Santa is not pictured as “dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot”; he’s wearing a checked coat with fur trim and what appear to be leather bowling shoes. He does twinkle a lot, though. Kids -and adult fans of the artist -will enjoy poring over the copious details.

Activities:

Make a mini-book of the poem

Christmas Compare and Contrast- “The Mouse Before Christmas” vs. “The Night Before Christmas.”

Night Before Christmas“- “Students will learn about story writing, authors purpose, and the history of some of our Christmas traditions.”

Visions of Christmas

Thought Audio

This big, multidisciplinary lesson called “Night Before Christmas” is on Writing and Much More

Literacy Development Activities

Reading activity

“Twas the Night Before Christmas”: Retelling through thinking maps

Christmas Stockings

Lesson suggestions

Word sheets and Fill the blank

Similes and Metaphors

Dec 132010
 

The Little Drummer Boy
by Bruce Whatley

The Little Drummer BoyAnnie’s grandfather carves the Little Drummer Boy from the leg of an old oak table as a Christmas gift for his small granddaughter. And throughout her life, Annie’s favourite decoration travels the world with her and always hangs on the Christmas tree at her house, close to the top. Seasons and fashions come and go and Annie has children and grandchildren of her own – but the pair remain together, although as they age they both start to fade. But they put that down to being well loved.