There are so many Christmas books out there, and it’s not always easy to tell which will appeal to your toddler. Some books that look just perfect end up flopping when the short attention span of a toddler or have so much text that you end up skipping bits and pieces. All of these books have been read to one or both of my kids as toddlers ( 1-3yrs) and passed with flying colors. Do you have a favorite Christmas book for toddlers?
Maisy’s Christmas Day by Lucy Cousins is about as simple as a book about Christmas can get which is why my toddler has asked me to read it to her 300 times. Maisy’s friends are all with her to celebrate, and after opening gifts, they sit down for Christmas dinner complete with paper crowns from their Christmas crackers. I like that the focus on sharing the day with people that matter.
Merry Christmas, Ollie (Gossie & Friends)by Olivier Dunrea captures the feelings of children leading up to the holidays…wait…wait…wait… I remember those feelings well. Patience is a hard thing to learn for big people, but it’s almost impossible to be patient when you are waiting for something as magical as Christmas when you are little. This book is a great vehicle for talking about being patient, and the little geese will enchant you!
Counting Christmas by Karen Katz is what you might expect from this awesome author. It’s sweet, cute and will get your littlest readers excited for Christmas. I like the sentiment that Christmas is a magical day to share with family. My daughter adores the illustrations of all the babies, and the math element is a great bonus too.
Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by Eric Litwin was a big hit at our house with both my toddler and kindergartener. If you haven’t met Pete The Cat before he is a chill cool cat that never lets anything get to him. I like how in all the books Pete teaches simple lessons in resilience by example. In this book Santa is sick and Pete steps in to save Christmas even though he’s not totally sure he can do it. He gets himself ready for the challenge with a refrain ” Christmas is about giving, so I’ll give it my all.” My daughter thought it was hilarious that Pete skipped the sleigh and drove his VW minibus with the reindeer.
What Is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams is a great board book for little children about Christmas. It touches on all the fun and cultural aspects of Christmas in a positive way but reminds the readers that really it’s about Jesus’ birth. I like the book because it doesn’t make the rest of the traditions out to be wrong or bad but explains that the holiday’s Christian origin in a simple matter of fact way.
Merry Christmas, Mouse! (If You Give…) by Laura, Numeroff is an adorable little Christmas counting book. Most of the praise should really be on Felicia Bond, the illustrator because the pictures take the cake on this one. The book follows the mouse as he decorates the Christmas tree, 1 Star…2 angels…etc… It’s a perfect to read and then count the ornaments on your own tree. After reading it my son and I found four bells, and 3 trains on our own tree.
It’s Christmas, David! by David Shannon. Being a kid is hard. Being a kid waiting for Christmas to come is even harder and David Shannon remembers what it was like. As parents we try so hard to teach appreciation, gratefulness and patience but it’s so hard to be any of those things when you are little and very very excited! In this book we follow David as he gets scolded for trying to grab Christmas cookies, for peeking at gifts, and my son’s favorite naughty behavior, writing his name in the snow…with pee. Over the years I have had readers say that they aren’t a fan of the original No! David because they worried it would spark naughty ideas but that is not what these books do. Young kids have a very natural sense of what is right and wrong and they are laughing because they know what he is doing is wrong and even David knows that he has messed up, as he fears Santa will leave him nothing but coal. Of course we all know that David is not a bad kid ( Are there bad kids? I don’t think so! ) and his heart is in the right place even if sometimes he makes bad choices. Both my kids loved this book and I loved the underlying message to parents that being a kid is tough especially when parents are busy.
The Little Christmas Elf (Little Golden Book) by Nikki Shannon Smith is a sweet book not just about Christmas but also about perseverance, attention to detail and hard work. In this story the littlest elf is working hard but just isn’t fast enough to get her teddy bear finished in time to be in Santa’s sack for Christmas. Santa delivers the bad news but encourages the little elf to keep at it and they will use the toy next year. She still doesn’t give up doing her best work even knowing Santa is already off to children’s homes everywhere. Right after she is done Santa comes back, a new baby was born and he needs that teddy bear! I loved the message and my son did too. Very sweet book
Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson is such a heartwarming story about friendship. Bear is hibernating but his friends wake him up to celebrate Christmas. It’s not easy at first , Bear is super sleepy and wants nothing more than to cuddle back up and fall back to sleep. They get a tree, decorate it, hang their stockings and sing carols. When all the other animals snuggle in and go to sleep Bear stays up. He is busily making gifts for all his friends, he is so busy he doesn’t even notice Santa coming and filling the stockings. He delights in the friendship and when his friends present him with a lovely quilt, he snuggles under and goes back to sleep happy and filled with friendship. This is such a wonderful book , I love its focus on friendship and the excitement of giving gifts!
Mini Merry Book: Gingerbread Joy by Julia Woolf is a tiny little book that my 6-month-old is nuts about. A good friend and I decided to do only books as gifts to each other’s kids this year and this was one of the board books my daughter received. As expected it’s a super simple book about baking gingerbread houses and people as a treat at Christmas time. What my daughter loves are the shiny foil inserts in the already fun illustrations. She smacks them over and over with her chubby baby hands and the text is simple enough my son can help read it to her. All in all a perfect little stocking stuffer!
Thanks for the recommendations I added some to my ‘Christmas Book’ wish list on Amazon for next year 🙂
There are several illustrated Christmas Carol books we have checked out from the library. It’s fun to sing along, and many have had beautiful illustrations.
We just checked out Pete the Cat and His 4 Groovy Buttons. I didn’t see the Christmas one there, but we have read the new shoes and go to school. 🙂 I wish I can be that chill about things. :p
We love the 4 Groovy Buttons, it’s probably my daughter’s favorite. My son adores the School Shoes Pete The Cat. The Christmas one is brand new so most libraries won’t have it yet.
My toddlers in my class love anything with vehicles, so The Polar Express has been a huge hit. They also like Merry Christmas Big Hungry Bear… we’ve read that a few times.
We love Alison Jay’s Christmastime book. Like all of her books, the illustrations are beautiful and multilayered, and the story is shown through the illustrations, not the words. There are references in the image to different Christmas carols, and each page has just one printed word that relates to the Christmastime theme. It’s a treasure.