It is officially December! This morning I showed Frida our new rotation of books, which are all about winter and the holidays we celebrate (Chanukah and Christmas). I have been so excited to rotate in our winter books this year! I think because it has been a difficult summer and autumn for us, winter this year feels a bit like a fresh start, and I have been really looking forward to the festive season.
As well as rotating fresh books onto the shelves, I hung up Frida’s advent calendar and we also put up our – tiny, fake – Christmas tree. We bought this tiny tree last year when our cat was a small kitten, to test the waters (verdict? He goes wild for baubles.) This year after some deliberation we’ve decided to stick to the tiny tree; partly because the cat still goes wild, and partly because buying a bigger tree – even a real one – just for the sake of it seemed a bit wasteful. Frida is just as delighted by a small tree, and was it really worth getting an “impressive” tree (and taking up space in our small house) so I could share pretty photos of it and delight guests? Nope. I’m not saying we’ll never get a real tree again, but for now I’ve made my peace with tiny tree.
Anyway. Back to books! Many of these books are Montessori-friendly, but as I have written before I am not strict when it comes to books and many of Frida’s (and our!) favourite books include elements of fantasy, namely talking animals. I am more interested in whether the language is rich, whether the plot is interesting, and how the characters in the story interact with one another.
(Excuse the cheesy lights – I found the in the back of a cupboard and thought Frida would enjoy them!)
Top row L-R:
The Snowman. A winter classic. Montessori friendly, if you accept that the little boy was dreaming!
Winter Story. The Brambly Hedge books are really wonderful, with spectacular illustrations and sweet plots. Although these are not Montessori friendly as they feature talking mice, I would defy anyone not to fall in love with the illustrations.
Robin’s Winter Song. A sweet story about a little Robin’s first winter.
Mog’s Christmas Calamity. Mog the cat causes chaos at Christmas. We love this story! Mog doesn’t talk so I feel that Mog books are Montessori compatible, but each family to their own.
Paddington and the Christmas Surprise. Paddington is such a British institution, and we really enjoy reading the various Paddington stories together.
Middle row L-R:
Winter Hedgehog. A story about the smallest hedgehog in the wood, who decides to stay awake rather than hibernate because he wants to see the wonders of winter for himself. The illustrations are very lovely.
Little Christmas Tree. A beautiful book filled with lots of flaps to peek under. Montessori friendly.
The Polar Bear. A very special factual book about polar bears. This is a stunning book, and would make a wonderful winter gift for a child. Montessori friendly.
Stick Man. Stick Man goes for a jog, but a series of unfortunate events leave him in peril far from home. Will he be home in time for Christmas? Not for Montessori purists unfortunately.
Eight Candles to Light: A Chanukah Story. A simple picture book depicting a family celebrating Chanukah in different ways. Montessori friendly.
The Mitten. A winter tale of a lost mitten which becomes a shelter for a surprising number of animals! Quite Montessori friendly; there are no talking animals, though the story is not realistic as a lot of animals squeeze into one mitten! Last year we had a lot of fun acting this out with a glove and a basket of wooden animals.
Bottom row L-R:
Alfie’s Christmas. A sweet, realistic Christmas tale; we love Alfie stories. Montessori friendly.
Chanukah Lights Everywhere. A beautiful book about a family celebrating the eight nights of Chanukah. Montessori friendly.
Mog’s Christmas. More mischief from Mog, who is scared by a Christmas tree and all the commotion of the festive season.
Together At Christmas (Melrose and Croc). Frida really enjoys the gentle Melrose and Croc stories. Their relationship is very lovely, and I like how kind they are to each other. Definitely not Montessori friendly though as these feature a talking dog and crocodile!
Winter. A stunning picture book without words. We love Gerda Muller; I feel the lack of words adds so much as there is space for telling our own stories. Montessori friendly.
Winter (from the Nursery Collection). A gorgeous Shirley Hughes book with stunning illustrations and short poems. Montessori friendly.
What are your favourite winter and holiday books?
I have a few more wintry posts planned over the next few weeks on our plans for things to make and do this December, how we will be celebrating Christmas as a secular family, some tips for a greener Christmas, and sharing the gifts we have bought Frida. Have you seen my Montessori-friendly gift guide?