Since it was Saturday and we had more time to enjoy our evening read alouds, I had all six of the kids pick a book to be read that evening. :) You'd think it was Christmas they were so excited looking over all the wrapped books and carefully opening up each one. :)
The first one we read was, The Legend of the Christmas Stocking by Rick Osborne and illustrated by Jim Griffin.
Set in the 1800's, The Legend of the Christmas Stockings is a sweet story of a young boy named Peter, whose father is out to sea. He is left at home with his mother and two sisters and is earning money to help his family while his father is away. He's also saving some of his earnings to buy a wooden model ship, one that looks just like the ship his dad is on. Times are hard and it looks like Peter's father won't be home in time for Christmas. Peter needs to make a decision about how he will spend his money. Should he buy himself the ship he has been saving so long for or should he take that money and buy his sisters presents for Christmas instead. Peter wrestles with his decision until he hears the story of St. Nicholas and how he selflessly gave his money so a poor shoemaker could afford for his three daughters to get married. Peter ultimately does the right thing and learns how much better it is to give than to receive. In the end, Peter gets some wonderful Christmas surprises himself, which makes his gift giving all the sweeter.
We have several versions of the story of St. Nicholas. This particular version is one of our favorites as it weaves the story of St. Nicholas in with another beautiful lesson on giving, even when it's really, really hard. The kids are always excited to hear why we do certain things that we do each year, hanging stockings being one of them!
Our next story this evening was, A Wish for Wings that Work An Opus Christmas Story by Berkeley Breathed. This sweet book my hubby gave to me the first Christmas we were dating. It holds some special memories for me and I'm so happy that my kids equally love to hear the story every year.
Opus was sad and discouraged that he was a bird with wings that won't work. His greatest wish of all was to fly. He dreamed of flying, he bought contraptions to help him fly, he was snubbed by other birds because he couldn't fly. Opus was utterly discouraged until he came up with a brilliant idea. He wrote Santa a letter and told him the only thing he wanted were wings that would GO! On Christmas Eve he fell asleep feeling good. He knew that the next day he would get what he always wished for, to fly. A visitor in the evening awakens Opus and tells him to come right away. After an unexpected event in the evening, Opus learns that he has skills and value and can do amazing things with what he has been given. Opus awakens on Christmas day by a knock on his door. What awaits Opus next will make you cheer and laugh right along with him. We all love this story. :)
Third on the list for the evening was, The Glorious Christmas Songbook by Cooper Edens and Benjamin Darling. This is an illustrated songbook that includes the musical notes for the songs. Once it's opened, we sing a little from this book each night. Everyone was enjoying themselves as we sang, It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas, Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Winter Wonderland. The kids would have liked to keep on singing their way through the whole book but we still had three more books to read!
Our fourth book was Dream Snow by Eric Carle.
We love Eric Carle books in our house and this book is no exception! It's a very simple, very sweet book about a farmer who has only a few animals named, One, Two, Three, Four and Five and a small tree that he calls, Tree. :) One night the farmer falls asleep thinking about how it was almost Christmas and it hadn't snowed yet. As he was dreaming he dreamt that it started to snow and he got covered in the snow as well as each of his animals. He woke up to discover it had been snowing outside and suddenly remembering it was Christmas bundled up and ran outside w/ a big sack saying, "I almost forgot!" He wakes up his animals as he hurries past and they are all curious to see what the farmer is in such a hurry to do. Eric Carle's art is what makes his books so outstanding. My kids enjoy "guessing" what animal comes next and they all look forward to pushing the button at the end. It just seems so magical. :) You can tell by the binding on our book that it is one that has been read over and over by very small hands. ;)
Book number five is a very special book, The Twelve Days of Christmas by Robert Sabuda.
Our last book for the evening was, How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss.
There probably isn't anyone on the planet that doesn't know this story, so I won't give a synopsis. ;-) Mark read this story, as it's one of his favorites. Everyone enjoyed his animated reading of one of our all time favorite stories.
Phew! That was a lot of reading for one night. Good night!