Ever since my first born was, well, born, I have been reading to him....and every single child since. Books of all types, especially children's picture books, have always interested me. That interest has only escalated since the inception of homeschooling in our family. Not every children's book is a good book, and few are great books, so I have relied on a few solid sources and insightful recommendations from friends over the years to build our library. There is something almost magical about the pursuit of books with insightful or entertaining text, beautiful or clever illustrations, predictable plots yet surprise endings.
I know that Christmas is only two weeks away, which doesn't leave a lot of time for reading....but don't forget, the Christmas season endures until Epiphany, which leaves plenty of time for cuddling up with the kiddos and a stack of great books.
If you would like to read more about St. Wenceslas before enjoying the book with your family, here is a link:
In addition to the story, this You Tube clip features artwork of St. Wenceslas set to a lovely vocal of the traditional carol.
If you want to make it educational, you could introduce the following:
Art: Let the kids identify the colors of the sprinkles, then talk about the color wheel. They can paint a page of sprinkles using primary colors, then mix their own secondary. (Bingo dobbers would also be fun!)
Language Arts: Teach the term alliteration. Let the kids find patterns of alliteration throughout the text. Also, you could have the older kids write a summary, putting the events of the story in order using the terms first, second, next, then, finally, etc.
Character Formation: Teach the virtues of generosity, helpfulness, charity, industriousness, etc. Then, discuss how the Sprinkle Snitcher is the antitheses of these good behaviors.
The Gift of the Magi is a beautiful demonstration of the exemplary virtues of generosity, sacrifice, and self-gift lovingly enacted through two individuals during the Christmas season. Though the text will be too advanced for little ones, if they are patient, the language can be simplified and explained as the story is read. It is one of those books that I never tire of reading as an adult, and the richness of the illustrations give a unique life to the story.
I hope that you enjoy this short list of titles and are able to find most of them in your local library, discount book store or perhaps they will be gifted to you. Most of all, I hope you savor the time you have to read to your little ones (and big ones - my older boys still love picture books!)
Please share any books that are meaningful to you with us. We will be posting again next year, and would love to share your ideas with others!
You may have tangible wealth untold:
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a mother who read to me.
~ Strickland Gilllilan