If you follow my blog, you know that I love children’s literature and doing themed activities with kiddos. I have lots of great winter holiday books in my collection from when I was an elementary school teacher, but none that are appropriate for my fifteen month old son. When seeking out books that are developmentally appropriate for my young toddler, I look for simple, short, large print text, one scene per page, bright, colorful illustrations with high contrast and opportunities for naming, rhyming, counting and sound effects. Board books are optimal, but some board books are too busy and long with too much text. Books for babies and toddlers need to be short, quick reads!
I’ve been on a mission to build my son’s Christmas library. I love reading to him about new and different things, especially things he sees within his environment to help him make mental connections. For instance, we read lots of books about Santa Claus and Christmas trees before going to see them. I feel this helped prepare my son for being handed over to a complete stranger in a loud, red suit with a hairy face and the change in his living environment by suddenly placing a large, ornamented tree in it. Reading to babies about things they will see during the holidays will help give them a better understanding of what to expect and develop positive associations. Below is a list of Christmas books that I’ve collected and been reading with my son this season. These are his favorites with his most loved ones listed first.
Note: These books were purchased by me solely. I did not receive any discounts or free products for my review of these books. The links embedded in this post will take you directly to Amazon for which I am an affiliate. If you make a purchase through one of those links, I may make a small commission at no cost to you. If you do, thank you!!
Where Is Baby’s Christmas Present? by Karen Katz: My son is a huge fan of almost all lift-the-flap and Karen Katz books. This is a board book with colorful and fun illustrations. Baby goes about the house looking for his present. It’s a great book to work on the prepositions in, behind and under. My son LOVES this one!
Little Blue Truck’s Christmas by Alice Schertle: “Vroom, vroom” is what I hear as soon as we pick this one up. It’s one of my son’s favorites. He loves all the Little Blue Truck books, but this one especially because of the actual twinkling lights on the Christmas tree at the end of the book. This is such a fun read for littles with great illustrations and tons of opportunities for language development. Lots of animal and environmental sounds to be made along with counting the Christmas trees that Little Blue Truck has to deliver. Excellent read!!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas 123 by Eric Carle: I went back and forth with whether to buy this one or not. Not sure why because my son is a fan of all Eric Carle books. And I’m glad I did because we have so much fun reading it together. It’s a very simple board book with large text and fantastic Christmas themed pictures. There’s a tiny caterpillar on each page that my son loves to find and point to. I say, “Where’s that caterpillar?” He loves it! It’s a counting book to ten and on the tenth page the caterpillar becomes a butterfly, classic Eric Carle! My son’s favorite page to count are the stars, he loves saying “star.” I recommend this one!
Curious George Curious About Christmas by Anjali Pala: Another favorite of my son’s. It’s a touch-and-feel board book with lots of different textures from velvet stockings, to furry reindeer, Santa’s soft beard and smooth, sparkly stars. It has simple one-sentence text per page that rhymes. It reviews common events leading up to Christmas such as wrapping presents, making cookies and hanging stockings and candy canes. Lots of fun things to talk about in this book!
pat the Christmas bunny by Edith Kunhardt: I was excited to find this little gem at TJ Maxx. It’s a spin-off of the classic pat the bunny book, which my son loves, with Christmas flair. It’s a multi-sensory, interactive book that your little can of course pat the bunny, smell a candy cane, top the Christmas tree, untie a present and write a list for Santa. Unfortunately, it’s not toddler proof and I’ve had to bring out the packaging tape reinforcements. It has a moveable sled, star and crayon, which were the firsts to go in our book. My son really enjoys this book and somehow gets his hands on it no matter where I put it away at. If you buy this one, make sure to keep it under adult control!
Llama Llama jingle bells by Anna Dewdney: I grabbed this one as soon as I laid eyes on it. My son is a big fan of all the Llama Llama books. This is a cute board book that rhymes, has one simple sentence per page and discusses Christmas activities such as giving gifts, singing songs, decorating and making Santa cookies. It’s a quick, fun read for a busy toddler that has things to do!
My First Christmas by Tomie dePaola: I’m personally a fan of this author. I love his watercolor illustrations and simple text. This board book features the traditional symbols of Christmas from stockings, angels, a Nativity scene, wreaths, candles and of course good ol’ St. Nick. There’s lots to talk about and name in this book. We like to pretend to eat Santa’s cookies.
The Story of Christmas by Patricia Pingry: This board book touches on the reason for the season, the story of baby Jesus’ birth, which is why I love it. It introduces the story of the Nativity in a very simple fashion with one sentence per page that describes the colorful illustrations. I questioned how my son would respond to this book, but he really likes it. He enjoys pointing out and saying “baby” and finding the different animals (cows, donkeys, sheep). This is a very sweet little book that connects the biblical story to the Christmas celebrations little ones are familiar with.
The Cheerios Christmas Play Book by Lee Wade: Break out the Cheerios! This is a fun, interactive book with Christmas scenes that need Cheerios to complete. Read with your baby while putting Cheerios on elve’s shoes, snowmen’s hats, reindeer’s noses and decorate a Christmas tree. It’s a good book to get your baby following directions and saying “o’s” to request Cheerios. Then they get to gobble them up, yum yum!
Christmas Parade by Sandra Boynton: Like most Sandra Boynton books, this one is packed with animals, rhymes and cheerful illustrations. The Christmas Parade is full of instruments that you and your little can make sound effects for. Lots of excitement in this book including a little Christmas song at the end.
There you have it. Ten fun-filled, age-appropriate Christmas books for babies and toddlers. Reading aloud to babies has unlimited benefits. Check out my posts on Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies and The Benefits of Reading to Babies. What Christmas books make your little jolly?! Please share!
Tip: Keep books within babies reach at all times!
Cheers to Christmas reading with littles!
Respect, kindness and love begin with babies…we must show them the way!