Oh my, do I have a treat in store for you! Ok, first off, let me say that this review is a little long, but I had to do these books justice. It's worth the read, I promise!
It's a well known fact that I am a book lover...a children's book lover. I have collected over 400 books for my own children's library at home. I could spend hours in book store and 95% of it I would spend in the children's department. So, naturally I was very excited at the prospect of reviewing two new Christmas titles for all of you. I, of course, solicited the expert opinions of my 7, 4 and 2 year olds to help me.
So here's the scoop. I received two storybooks to read and review, both of which are appropriate for young readers, particularly K-4th grade, but are suitable as family books to be enjoyed by all ages. These books include: The Christmas Magic, by Lauren Thompson with pictures by Jon J. Muth; and The Nutcracker and The Mouse King, E.T.A. Hoffmann's classic tale, adapted by Wren Maysen, and illustrated by Gail De Marcken. Both titles are imprints of Scholastic.
We first read The Christmas Magic, which is a tale about Santa's preparation for his magical journey on Christmas Eve. I was immediately taken in by the warm and charming illustrations which bring this poetic story to life in beautiful watercolor paintings. They conjure up dreamy, mystical images that really touched my heart. My children were drawn in and made me wait on each page so they could study the pictures before moving on. I could almost see there huge imaginations churning in their little noggins. They were delighted.
The story is a quaint rendering of Santa's preparations as he awaits the Christmas Magic that makes the reindeer fly. It is easy to get lost in Santa's snowy winter world of twinkling stars and jingling bells. The story lacks the bustling elves and gazillion toys that populate other descriptions of The North Pole. Rather, it creates a sweet and simple little world where Santa and his reindeer ready themselves for the magic they know will come. It's a enchanting tale of of faith in the magic of Christmas and love for all children.
I have to give this book two huge thumbs up. It is an instant classic and a wonderful tale families are sure to enjoy year after year.
Next we read The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. I was already familiar with this classic story, having seen the ballet several times and read other versions of this classic Christmas tale. My kids had also heard the story before, but were not as well acquainted with it.
The illustrations in this book are simply phenomenal. From cover to cover this is an amazing work of art. The story of Marie (in the ballet she's know as Clara), her Nutcracker and the Mouse King come to life with each beautiful illustration. One could spend hours pouring over the pages of this book. My children and I were completely enthralled by the intricate details and vivid images on each page. While the story was a bit long for my two younger children (they are below the target age), my seven year old loved it and asked to read it several times. All of them really enjoyed the pictures and asked lots of questions about the story and it's characters.
I also give this book two huge thumbs up. It is wonderfully written, gorgeously illustrated and magnificently spellbinding. A Christmas Classic for all time.
Please note that while I did receive complimentary copies of these two books, I was not compensated otherwise for this review. These are my own honest opinions. I only review products that I would normally buy for my own family and those that I think my readers will have a genuine interest in. I strive to give a thorough, honest and informative representation of each product.
Now, the best part?! I have been blessed with copies of these wonderful books to award to two of my readers! Each winner will receive a set of both books from this review! How fabulous is that?
To Win: You must be a subscriber to win. Leave a comment with your email address so that I can verify you are a subscriber. You may subscribe to enter, but your subscription must be activated. This is mandatory before any extra entries will be honored.
For extra entries (please leave a separate comment for each entry, ie. you'll leave 5 comments if you post on your blog):
Follow me on twitter & tweet about this giveaway & leave the link to your tweet (see twitter button in left sidebar). 1 entry per day if you tweet each day - you'll need to leave a comment for each
Follow my blog on FaceBook's Networked Blogs (see button in left sidebar). 1 entry
Follow my blog publicly in Google (button on left sidebar) 1 entry
Fave me on technorati (button on left sidebar) 1 entry
Blog about this giveaway (5 entries)
Entries will be excepted from 11/11/09 - midnight eastern time 11/25/09. Make sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! Winners have 72 hours to claim their prizes.