One of my favourite things about the Christmas season, is getting our Christmas picture books off the top shelf. We have quite a few – last year I pulled 24 of them together to create a Advent book calendar, but our collection has since grown. Today, I want to specifically recommend five Christmas picture books to you that are all beautifully illustrated – one of them we already owned, and four of them were new additions this year. I just couldn’t help myself when I saw them in the bookshop! So, clockwise, starting from the top (and as someone was recently asking about which books I’d mentioned were written in rhyme, I’m now including that information wherever relevant):
- Last Stop on the Reindeer Express, by Maudie Powell-Tuck (author) & Karl James Mountford – Christmas has lost its magic for Mia, because she misses her dad. But then she discovers a mysterious post box and goes on an adventurous journey. What will she find at the end? You can probably guess, but I won’t spoil it. Not only does this book have stunning illustrations, but also the added fun of peep-through cut outs and flaps to lift. It’s never mentioned why Mia’s daddy is far away, whether it’s for work or because he parents are separated, leaving much scope for children in similar situations to identify with the character, and for talking to children about expressing their feelings when spending Christmas away from a loved one. My 7 year old adores this beautiful book, though my 3 year old will also happily listen in.
- Oliver Elephant, by Lou Peacock (author) & Helen Stephens (illustrator) – We already knew and loved Helen Stephen’s beautiful illustration work from her ‘How to Hide a Lion…’ books, so I didn’t hesitate to grab this at our local bookshop. The story is one many parents can probably relate to, not only at Christmas: while out on a shopping trip, a little boy loses his favourite toy. Will he ever find it again? I don’t want to post any spoilers, but in the spirit of Christmas I have to tell you that all’s well that ends well. This book is written in rhyme, and is a particular favourite with my 3 year old.
- Ollie’s Christmas Reindeer, by Nicola Killen – The story in this is quite simple: a little girl awakes from a jingling sound, and goes to investigate. She follows the sound outside and through the woods, and finds a lost reindeer. Together they go on a magical journey. My 3 year old particularly liked the repetition of the ‘jingle, jingle, jingle’ sound. The illustrations in this book are entirely in black, white and grey, with the only use of colour being red. It really conveys well that the story is happening at night time, and some silver foil embellishments add a bit of Christmas sparkle. As with the other reindeer book above, this one also has some peep-through cut outs.
- Pick a Pine Tree, by Patricia Toht (author) & Jarvis (illustrator) – Another one written in rhyme, this book is all about the favourite annual ritual of picking a tree – from picking a tree at the lot, getting it home, and decorating it together, to finally turning on the lights to turn it from a simple pine tree in to a Christmas tree! The colourful illustrations and rhythmic text make this book a favourite with both my boys, and will be perfect to read (again!) together when we go pick our own pine tree this weekend.
- The Christmas Eve Tree, by Delia Huddy (author) and Emily Sutton (illustrator) – This final book is one I actually already mentioned in last year’s Advent book calendar, but if we are talking about beautifully illustrated Christmas picture books I couldn’t not mention ‘The Christmas Eve’ tree illustrated by Emily Sutton. Very different to the magnificent tree in ‘Pick a Pine Tree’ above, this moving story is about an ugly little fir tree that nobody wants, and a homeless boy who makes it feel magical. Also a great book for talking to children about others who aren’t as well off as them. My 3 year old doesn’t really get that part of the story yet, but I’ve had some good conversations with my 7 year old about it.
What are your favourite Christmas picture books with beautiful illustrations? Please feel free to share your recommendations in the comments below!
Please note that the book links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. That means if you buy any books via these links, I receive a small percentage – at no extra cost to you! – which helps to keep this blog running. Thank you.