November 29 – National Day of Listening and Santa’s Story Blog Tour

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About the Holiday

Stories are traditions! As we enter a season in which everyone has their favorite holiday stories—as shown in today’s book—we also celebrate family stories. StoryCorps chose the day after Thanksgiving for family and friends to tell and record their unique and collective stories for themselves and future generations. The mission of StoryCorps is to “preserve and share humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world.” StoryCorps even provides an online archive of individual and family stories that enrich our culture for anyone to listen to. Whether you share your stories with others or record them for your own family, remember that every story counts and should be heard. To learn more about StoryCorps, hear fascinating stories, or upload your own, visit StoryCorps.

I received a copy of Santa’s Story for review consideration. All opinions are my own. I’m happy to be teaming with Two Lions in a giveaway of Santa’s Story. See details below.

Santa’s Story

By Will Hillenbrand

 

’Twas a snowy Christmas Eve night. Santa was ready for his yearly ride, but when he went to hitch up his reindeer, he found the stalls empty. Where were the reindeer? Out on the snow-covered hills, they were each doing their own thing. In a race with some rabbits, “Dasher dashed. ‘I better hightail it!’” he exclaimed as he fell behind. Meanwhile, Dancer was dancing—twirling, high-stepping, and leaping.

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Copyright Will Hillenbrand, 2019, courtesy of Two Lions.

Prancer had gathered an audience and was strutting his stuff. And while the snow lay thick on the ground, there still wasn’t enough for Vixen who “vexed, ‘More snow!’” to the snowman who was happy to oblige with his shiny, red snow blower. Watching the snowflakes flutter down, with awe “Comet commented, ‘Soon it’ll be Christmas!’” The other reindeer were also enjoying the winter wonderland in their own way, unaware that Santa was looking for them.

Back home, with the sleigh packed with a bulging bag of toys, Santa wondered where his reindeer could have gone. He tried blowing a horn, jingling sleigh bells, and even calling out a booming “‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’” Still, no deer appeared. Then, as Santa pondered, he happened to spy Comet with a book in front of him “and remembered their Christmas Eve tradition.” He called out “Story Time!” and all the reindeer came prancing and dashing and dancing back home. They settled in around Santa and under lantern light listened to him read “‘’Twas the night before Christmas….’” Happy and satisfied, the reindeer got in line in front of Santa’s sleigh ready to take off on the merriest flight of the year.

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Copyright Will Hillenbrand, 2019, courtesy of Two Lions.

Will Hillenbrand’s sweet tribute to a favorite tradition of Christmas—the reading of Clement Clark Moore’s A Visit from Saint Nicholas—reveals the individual personalities of the world’s most famous reindeer while they wait for Santa to get Christmas started properly. Little ones will enjoy joining in on each reindeer’s Christmas Eve activity while learning some new words, such as hightail, vexed, and crooned, and discovering how these words relate to the action and/or the reindeer.

Hillenbrand’s lovely, softly hued illustrations add a sense of magic to this North Pole setting, where lights glow from windows, ornaments add sparkles of color to the snowy landscape, and a bunny peeks out from the snowman’s top hat (readers familiar with Hillenbrand’s Snowman’s Story will be cheered to see this pair’s cameo). Hillenbrand’s inclusion of a lighthouse—it’s beam shining brightly out into the world—is an enchanting touch to Santa’s home. Readers will have fun pointing out the searching Santa on the pages and may figure out the mystery before Santa does by carefully watching his adorable pet.

A charming lead-in to readings of A Visit from Saint Nicholas or as a new tradition on its own, Santa’s Story would be a delightful addition to Christmas story time wish lists.

Ages 3 – 7

Two Lions, 2019 | ISBN 978-1542043380

Will Hillenbrand has written and illustrated many beloved picture books, including Snowman’s Story, Down by the Barn, Mother Goose Picture Puzzles, and the Bear and Mole series. He has also illustrated dozens of books, including the Big Bear series by Maureen Wright. Will lives with his wife and son in Terrace Park, Ohio. You can find out more about him at www.willhillenbrand.com.

You can connect with Will on Facebook | Instagram 

Santa’s Story Giveaway

I’m excited to partner with Two Lions in a Twitter giveaway of:

One (1) copy of Santa’s Story by Will Hillenbrand

To enter:

  • Follow me @CelebratePicBks on Twitter and Retweet a giveaway tweet.
  • Bonus: Reply with your favorite reindeer for an extra entry. Each reply gives you one more entry.

This giveaway is open from November 30 through December 5 and ends at 8:00 p.m. EST.

A winner will be chosen on December 6

Prizing provided by Two Lions

Giveaway open to U.S. addresses only. | No Giveaway Accounts 

National Day of Listening Activity

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Reindeer Teams Match-Up Puzzle

 

Match the two-member reindeer teams so they can help Santa in this printable puzzle!

Reindeer Teams Match-Up Puzzle

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You can find Santa’s Story at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

 

January 14 – International Kite Day

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About the Holiday

International Kite Day originated in India in the state of Gujarat to commemorate the last day of winter and the first day of summer as well as the coming harvest season. The kites represent the spirits of the gods who are awakened from their winter sleep. The people of Gujarat begin making kites months in advance to accommodate the numerous festivals and the millions of people from around the world who attend them.

Kite Day: a Bear and Mole Story

By Will Hillenbrand

 

Bear sensed a familiar aroma in the air. He pointed his nose toward the sky and took a big whiff. “He smiled and then shouted, ‘Kite day!’” He dashed home and announced the news to Mole, who was digging in his garden. While Mole researched in a stack of books, Bear gathered supplies. While “Bear measured and cut, Mole drew.” Then “they both constructed.”

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Image copyright Will Hillenbrand, courtesy of Holiday House

With their beautiful yellow creation in hand, “they raced outside into the meadow.” Mole ran with the string while Bear threw the kite high above him. The breeze picked up the kite and sent it’s rainbow bowtie tail fluttering “Zoom. Zoom. Zoom.” The kite soared higher and higher—into a graying sky. “Then dark, heavy clouds rolled in. Rumble. Rumble. Rumble.”

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Image copyright Will Hillenbrand, courtesy of Holiday House

Suddenly, a gust of wind snapped the kite string, and it spun “Away, away, away.” “‘Oh no!” screamed Mole and Bear” as the kite dove downward. The two ran as fast as they could to catch up with it. They came to a stop under a huge tree. Caught in the branches was their kite. “Splat. Splat, Splat. Rain pelted the broken kite.” Then Mole and Bear saw something amazing. “‘Look!’ cried Bear. ‘Oh,’ sighed Mole.” The kite was sheltering a nest of chicks! “‘Chirrup, chirrup, chirrup’” they cheaped. “‘Thank you!’ sang the mother bird.”

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Image copyright Will Hillenbrand, courtesy of Holiday House

Will Hillenbrand’s sweet friends Bear and Mole never fail to bring a smile to young reader’s faces as they share both joyful and scary experiences together. Little ones will love the repeated words that invite them to read along, and active verbs—such as snatched, plunged, and pelted—provide lyrical and advanced vocabulary. Kite Day offers gentle suspense and a cheerful resolution that will enchant young readers. Hillenbrand’s adorable, expressive characters, vibrant colors, and lovely pastel backgrounds will fully engage kids during any story time.

Children would love to add Kite Day, along with the Hillenbrand’s three other Bear and Mole Stories, to their home bookshelf.

Ages 3 – 6

Holiday House, 2013 | ISBN 978-0823427581

Discover more about Will Hillenbrand and his books as well as book-related activities and a gallery of illustations on his website!

Fly with this Kite Day book trailer!

International Kite Day Activity

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Cool Kite Decorating Page

 

Part of the fun of making your own kite is decorating it! Use this printable Cool Kite Page to create the perfect flier! Try colored pencils, markers, glitter, tissue paper, stickers, or other decorations to make it uniquely yours!

Picture Book Review