Christmas holidays are almost here. Whether travelling or staying home, the one thing we look forward to is that perfect cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and a cosy corner and catch up on reading. Keerthana Nagarajan shares her recommendation of books that you could read with your 2- to 7-year-olds this winter.
1. The Gruffalo series
The Gruffalo series was our first in the Julia Donaldson collection. We read these books out to our girls when they were 2 and 4. Now the budding readers go back to the series – reading the whole book and discussing it among themselves.
Synopsis: There are two books in this series. The Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child.
Gruffalo: This is the story of a little mouse on how he escapes being eaten up by a fox, snake and an owl by being brave and creating stories of an animal – Gruffalo – which is stronger and bigger than all the others. He is really brave till he sees that the character he created is for real and is standing in front of him. Gruffalo then follows him and he shows off his bravery and goes back into the woods.
The Gruffalo’s Child is the story of the Gruffalo who tells his child to be very careful and never to go out alone in the woods. But he still does and meets the fox, owl and the snake who finally lead him to the mouse. The mouse this time builds a story showing his shadow to the Gruffalo’s child – which scares him so much that he is happy to just find his way back to his cave and never to venture out alone. As you read the series with kids, you realise being small or big doesn’t really matter, it is your presence of mind that really helps you in any situation. Life’s lesson so wonderfully told through a sing’song story.
2. The stick man
Another of our favourite winter reads from the Julia Donaldson series. Whenever we go for a walk during the winter months, my girls cook up their own version of this wonderful tale adding their own details.
Synopsis: Stickman is the story of a Stick who lives in a tree in his cosy house, with his Stick Lady, and children. Just before Christmas, he goes out for a run, and is thrown all over the place used as a stick- by a dog, a duck family, people. He then finds himself covered in snow and loses his way to his house. How he gets warm, helps Santa through the chimney, accompanies him on his sledge and helps him distribute presents and finally gets back home to his family that is anxiously waiting for him makes for an interesting tale of adventure.
3. The Highway rat
I often hear my girls repeating the famous line from the story “Stand and Deliver!”, followed by giggles.
Synopsis: The Highway Rat, another book by Julia Donaldson, is the story of a rat thief. He is the rat of the highway and steals everything scaring those who travel across the highway. Everyone is terrified of him. At one point, he is ready to rob a duck, who very cleverly takes him into a cave telling him of all the delicious goodies he can have there. He loses his way and realises he has been bad to everyone so far. While being stuck in the cave, he helps little insects from drowning. The insects then help him to find his way out. This teaches him a lesson and he finds his way back to the village near the highway and starts living the life of an ordinary but content rat.
Age: 3 and up – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcUE6Y-mL7A
We’re going on a bear hunt
Each year, when it snows, like most kids their age, my girls too have their version of the bear hunt song, as we go up our little trail to build a snowman.
We’re going on a snow hunt,
We’re going on a snow hunt,
We’re going to catch a big one,
What a beautiful day!
We’re not scared!
Synopsis: This is another beautiful story set in a snowy weather where 4 siblings with their baby and their pet dog decide to go on a bear hunt. They sing and laugh all the way making up songs, until they find a real bear, and how they brave back their way in a snowy stormy weather with the bear following them.
5. Winter Stories
One of the best things this year has been to see my girls progress from being read to each night to picking up and reading books on their own. As most kids of my generation, I enjoyed and treasured my Enid Blyton reads. The joy of introducing your kids to the books you grew up reading is pure bliss and cannot be really explained in words. This is my older child’s pick as a holiday read.
Synopsis: This is a collection of 30 short stories all set in winter and snow. You can have a quick look inside before you decide to buy it. It’s perfect for kids that want to read chapter stories without getting overwhelmed by the size of the book. It’s also a great collection to be read out to younger kids. Usually, with short stories and most chapter books, we do one chapter a day.
6. The Frozen collection
This is a family favourite. Our little girls relate so much to the story and pretend to be Elsa and Anna all the time. They go on to create their own little stories, with their Lego, puzzles, colouring pages, and just reading the stories.
Synopsis: It all started with the movie, of course. We bought only the first story when the movie released and now we own the collection. The collection includes 16 new stories, other than the animated movie and the short ‘Frozen Fever’ story. These include everyday stories from the lives of the sisters Elsa and Anna all set in winter and snow like – Kristoff’s Birthday bash, A new friend, An icy monster, or celebrating their Childhood times.
Do you have a book to recommend this winter/holiday season? Do let us know. Happy reading!