About the Holiday
Do you have your tree yet? If not, then why not celebrate today’s holiday by gathering the family and heading out to your favorite Christmas tree farm or lot to choose the perfect tree to glow with lights, display your ornaments, and, of course, give Santa the perfect place to unpack his presents. Counting down to that special day is one of the joys of the season, and today’s book can make the time even more fun!
Thank you to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sharing a copy of A Christmas Advent Story with me for review consideration. All opinions on the book are my own.
A Christmas Advent Story
Written by Ivy Snow | Illustrated by Hannah Tolson
The weather has turned frosty and the decorations are going up. “It’s nearly Christmastime, and the countdown has begun” in this delightful, eye-catching book, which can be used to mark each passing day or as a fun lift-the-flap read for any day during the season. A boy and a girl pull on their winter coats and boots to get ready for an outdoor adventure. At the door behind flap number 1 waits their dog, dressed in a jaunty scarf and wearing festive reindeer antlers.
A sled ride down a snowy hill takes the kids past a frozen pond where skaters twirl and a deer hides behind flap number 5. The downtown shops look warm and inviting with colorful displays and glowing lights inside. The kids point out the toys they like—a ship, a dollhouse, a castle. But what could be wrapped in the box with the purple bow? Lift the flap to see!
Soon it’s time to choose the perfect Christmas tree at the cut-your-own lot. “Christmas trees are all around. Big ones and bushy ones, tall ones and thin ones, decorated with colorful twinkling lights.” Which one will they pick? Carolers ring the town square as snow drifts down and “the stars are sparkling in the sky.” The lucky dog now gets a ride on the sled through the snow-filled streets. Does he see the cat? Do you?
In the house on the hill, putting up and decorating the tree is such fun! The cat naps on the rug near the fire and the dog wraps himself in gold garland. The boy and girl are hanging the last of the ornaments. But what will go on the tree top? Find out under flap 13! Now it’s time to wrap some presents. Can you help the little girl with her special present before baking cookies? Now let’s head to the kitchen to “make different kinds of cookie shapes. How many can you see? / Ice them and eat them, / wrap them and give them, or hang them on the tree.”
At last it’s Christmas Eve and time to go to sleep. The girl reads one more page in her book before turning out the light, while the boy snuggles under his blanket cozy and warm—not seeing that special traveler passing by his window far away. The boy and girl wake to a bright sun and a fire in the fireplace. “Hooray! It’s Christmas day! What has Santa brought you? What wilL you find under the tree?” Even the dog has gotten a new toy. Help him unwrap it under flap 22! After the presents have all been opened, join the kids outside making snowmen and snow angels, sledding and playing, and enjoying the day. “Merry Christmas!”
Ivy Snow invites children to enjoy a month of anticipation and preparations for Christmas day with her engaging story that hits all the highlights and wonder of the season. Along the way, prompts intrigue children to lift the twenty-five flaps, have fun counting the trees in at the Christmas tree farm, find beautiful ornaments on the tree, point out all the different cookies, and open presents under the tree.
Hannah Tolson’s smart, brightly colored illustrations brim with all the joy and warmth of Christmas and the Advent season. Young readers will eagerly follow the two children as they happily go about their holiday preparations with their dog in tow and look forward to opening each of the twenty-five flaps to reveal surprises that will make them smile. The children’s home, shop windows, the tree farm, and the winter wonderland outside are loaded with little details that will keep kids lingering over each page during multiple readings, They also offer opportunities to talk about traditions new and old. Images of the downtown, busy with shoppers and carolers, evoke the community bonding that the holidays bring, and the cozy illustrations of home will inspire kids to join in all the fun.
With a sparkly cover and sturdy pages and fun flaps to open, the lovely A Christmas Advent Story would make a much-loved addition to Christmas preparations and counting down the days.
Ages 1 – 5
Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2018 | ISBN 978-1681198514
To learn more about Hannah Tolson, her books, and her art, visit her website.
National Christmas Tree Day Activity
Cupcake Wrapper Christmas Tree
Today’s paper cupcake cups are so pretty that it’s a shame they just get thrown away. Here’s a way to use cupcake liners to make an attractive winter decoration. You can use various sizes of cones to create a multi-tree decoration.
- Styrofoam or cardboard cone, available from craft stores
- Cupcake wrappers with a winter or favorite design
- Glue dots, or small clear mounting squares (for either Styrofoam or cardboard cones). Alternately or for older children, use Straight pins for Styrofoam cones
- Cut the bottoms out of the cupcake wrappers
- Using the ribbed sides of the cupcake wrappers, start from the bottom of the cone and attach the cup to the cone with the straight pins, glue dots, or mounting squares, putting them along the top rim of the wrapper
- You may need to use two or more wrappers to cover the cone. Fill in gaps by overlapping with smaller cuts from the cupcake wrappers
- Overlap the first row of cupcake papers a bit with the second row of cupcake papers. Attach at the top rim
- Continue moving up the cone, overlapping and attaching cupcake wrappers
- At the top, overlap the sides of the wrapper to cover the tip of the cone and make a sharp point. Glue seam together if needed
- Attach the top wrapper to the layer below near the bottom of the wrapper
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