Refreshing, Hip, Happy Holiday Books
"A forest of Christmas trees stretching over the hills" is where Delia Huddy's thoughtful tale of a fallen scraggly little pine tree begins. The tree is the last to be chosen at a department store by a little boy. The boy plants the Charlie Brown-like tree in a cardboard box and brings it to his own box home under a bridge. When someone gives the boy change to buy food, he instead buys candles for his tree. His homeless friends, now bitten by the holiday bug, sing warmly and play the accordion by the glowing tree and attract quite a crowd.
Eventually, the little boy moves on. But a street sweeper notices a green sprout in his trash and replants the tree in a park, where it grows big and tall and dreams of "that magical Christmas eve."
A gorgeously written tale of seeing the beauty in everything, thankfulness and goodness, "The Christmas Eve Tree" is also festooned with delightfully vintage-looking, cozy pictures. This one is a keeper and should be a classic. It's simply beautiful.
"Presents Through the Window" by Taro Gomi; Chronicle Books; 36 pages; $15.99.
Taro Gomi has created over 350 books for readers of all ages, and his signature rounded, friendly illustrations are irresistible. His Santa Claus in this book is tan and Asian and determined to figure out who gets what gifts by peeking into windows. First he spots a mouse asleep in a house and drops tiny boots in the window. Then he gives a kitten pretty bows. But after that, his window views go a tad haywire. He sees black-and-white stripes through one and thinks it's a zebra, when really it's geese necks against a black wall. He spots a fox's ears, which turn out to be a dragon's scales, and a crocodile's teeth are actually a bevy of bunny ears sleeping in a row.
With plenty of low-key humor and paper windows to peek through, Gomi's witty book will please even hip parents.
"Prissy & Pop Deck the Halls" by Melissa Nicholson; photographs by Petra Terova; HarperCollins; 32 pages; $17.99.
Instagram piglet sensations Priscilla and Poppleton (@prissy_pig) are certainly photogenic enough to star in their own picture book and parade about in holiday garments. Wearing Christmas sweaters and pajamas and even chef's hats, the adorable pigs make cookies, decorate a gingerbread house, cut paper snowflakes and pose by the tree. In one festive scene, Prissy and Pop hilariously sing "Jingle Bells" with their mouths wide and their eyes gleaming, and then fall asleep by the fire.
Adorable photographs depict a pig pair that most definitely did not turn into Christmas dinner.
To find out more about Lee Littlewood, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.