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Refreshing, Hip, Happy Holiday Books

Lee Littlewood on

'Tis the season for lightening up and smiling. These new wintry holiday season picture books are full of whimsy, humor and cool mod artwork.

"The Littlest Reindeer" by Nicola Killen; Simon & Schuster; 32 pages; $15.99.

With a modern color scheme of grays, muted blacks, creams and reds, Nicola Killen shows off a dreamy winter wonderland with cutout windows and snowy sparkles. Her sweet story tells of a girl named Ollie who awakens when she hears a "jingle, jingle, jingle" and sleds outside, and finds a reindeer's collar. She then sees the gentle animal and rides upon his back into the night sky. Ollie returns to her cozy home and happily dreams of her experiences.

"The Little Reindeer" is a truly adorable, magical, cozy journey that's perfect for bedtime.

"Walking in a Winter Wonderland" as sung by Peggy Lee; illustrated by Tim Hopgood; Henry Holt; 32 pages; $17.99.

Artist Tim Hopgood loves creating wonder-filled picture books, like his happy "What a Wonderful World." The fun, positive theme continues in this winter celebration of Peggy Lee's famous song; and the eye-catching, retro artwork seems to have popped straight out of the 1950s. The snowy pages depict a family cavorting in frosty fields and woods with a snowman, foxes, owls, squirrels and birds, while Lee's playful lyrics add a freshly fun soundtrack.


"Walk This World at Christmastime" by Debbie Powell; Big Picture Press/Candlewick; 26 pages; $17.99.

With a sort of "It's a Small World" look, Debbie Powell's oversized board book is a Christmastime journey around the world for kids up to about age 8. Beginning with Canada and the U.S., busy pages are packed with different American scenes that have appealingly colorful but small and abstract graphics. We then travel on to South America, Africa, Spain, Italy, Greece and even Iraq, the Philippines and Australia. Each page spread features a rhyming paragraph and flaps that provide more local Christmas details for each place.

"Walk This World at Christmastime" is a cool, artsy way to celebrate Christmas; it makes a smart, worldly gift.

"The Christmas Eve Tree" by Delia Huddy; illustrated by Emily Sutton; Candlewick Press; 32 pages; $16.99.


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