I promised I would share our winter books with you, so here I am finally with a selection of our favourites. As I have mentioned before here, here and here, we love books and love to escape into a beautiful picture book. Our favourite picture books need to be beautifully illustrated, with a wholesome, heart warming story. My daughters particularly like stories about animal friendships and we seem to have a plentiful selection of these amongst our winter selection! The winter books are amongst my favourite of all the seasonal books we have. Perhaps because it is a time when we sit down to read more, or perhaps there is just more sparkle in these books?
I will once again group the books a little as we have collected quite a few over the years.
Board books for young children:
Winter – Gerda Muller – a simple book without words, where you can make up your own story to go with the beautiful evocative illustrations.
Picture books for young children with animal friends in them:
The Sea Mice and The Stars – Kenneth Steven – our absolute favourite winter book. It is the task of the sea mice to collect falling stars to help light the homes of all the mice in the winter months. Little Ashenteen and her brother Willabee revel in their important roles. Heartwarming, sparkly – a joy to behold.
Snow Friends – M Christina Butler – a story of friendship. One winters day a young bear wakes up to find the world covered in snow. He is all alone and decides to make a snowman so he has a friend to play with. Other animals join him to make the snowman and firm friendships are formed. Very sweet and sparkly.
Rabbit’s Winter Walk – Lorna Hussey – little brown rabbit wakes up in the middle of winter and is impatient for spring to arrive so he goes on an adventure in search of spring. Animals help him on his way, but he is no closer to finding spring when a snowstorm hits and he yearns for his snug burrow. When he awakens, spring is everywhere. A message to be patient and wait for things to come in their right time. Lovely evocative pictures.
Bella Gets Her Skates On – Ian Whybrow – Little Bella rabbit is very cautious by nature. and is worried whether she will take to skating when her family go to the local pond. With lots of praise and reassurance she tries it and finds she loves it. A story about trying things, despite worrying we may not do them right or fail.
One Snowy Night – Nick Butterworth – we love the Percy the Park Keeper series about a jolly chap called Percy and his animal friends. In this book the animals are taken by surprise by a big snowstorm and one by one they all seek shelter in Percy’s hut and in his bed. Percy is always there for his friends and despite it being a squash and a squeeze, everyone finds a place to sleep in the end. There is a fold out poster on the last page for children to spot all the sleeping places of the various animals amongst other things. Good fun.
The Big Dark – John Prater – little Chinoo lives in an igloo in the Arctic with his parents. It is winter and where he lives it is dark for many months and Chinoo is bored as he can’t go fishing or play outside. One day his parents ask him to follow them to the sea. On the way he plays with various young animals. When he gets to the sea, the sun is just rising and the animals and his family look on in wonder. Beautifully illustrated and a plenty of glitter 🙂
Any Room for Me – Loek Koopmans – an old man loses his mitten in the woods. A mouse finds it and wonders if it would make a warm shelter, followed by a frog, a hare, a fox, a wild boar and a bear who all ask if they can shelter from the snowstorm in the mitten. The animals accommodate each other and there is a picture of all the animals sleeping happily in the very stretched mitten. The man realises he has lost his mitten and returns with his dog to find it at which point the animals scatter. Sweet story.
The Tomten and the Fox – Astrid Lindgren – the ground is covered in snow and a fox is hungry, so he ventures over to a farm in search of food. We see pictures of the cosy home with children playing, unaware that there is a fox out in the snow. The Tomten (a little gnome-like figure), who looks after the farm at night whilst the family is asleep, sees the fox prowling by the chicken coop and asks him if he would like to share his porridge, as he knows how hungry he is. Evocative illustrations and an easy reader.
One Winter’s Day – M Christina Butler – a sweet story about a little hedgehog whose nest is blown away in a storm. He wraps up warmly and heads to his friend Badgers house, but finds he is not the only one who is cold. Hedgehog shares his warm clothes with his friends and they later repay him with rebuilding his nest. A heartwarming story of friendship and sharing. Lovely illustrations.
One Snowy Night– M Christina Butler – another beautiful picture book with little Hedgehog in it. Hedgehog is woken from his winter sleep when his home is disturbed by a snow storm. Soon a surprise present lands at his feet-a cosy red woollen hat. He finds it impossible to wear with all his prickles, so he passes it onto his friend Rabbit who passes it on to Badger and then onto Fox. Everyone finds it unsuitable in some way, until it goes full circle when Fox finds the little hedgehog curled up and freezing in a snowdrift. He wraps the hedgehog up in the stretched woollen hat and takes him back to Badgers house. It is now a nice warm cover and perfect for hedgehog after all. Lovely illustrations and sweet storyline.
A Book for Bramble – Lynne Garner. Bramble the hedgehog has to go to sleep for the winter. His mouse friend Teasel decides to write him a book about what he is missing out on during the winter as he wants to share winter with his dear friend in some way. A sweet story of friendship and sharing.
Pooh’s Snowy Day – Andrew Grey – a short story about Winne the Pooh and Piglet going for a snowy walk and rebuilding their friend Eeyore’s house. Always jolly and heartwarming.
Other lovely picture books and early readers:
Winter Days in the Big Woods – Laura Ingalls Wilder – we love all the Little House books. The book starts with the family preparing for winter by gathering their winter stores. We get to know all the indoor activities that the family do and enjoy to pass the time on long winter days in the house. A cosy book for reading by the fire 🙂
Longer picture books:
Ollie’s Ski Trip – Elsa Beskow – a firm favourite at this time of the year. We love all Elsa Beskow books here! Here we read about Ollie’s adventures with Jack Frost into the magical Land of King Winter. where he meets and plays with the children who make sledges and skates for Christmas. Includes a visit from Mrs Thaw and Lady Spring. Sweet story and pictures.
The Story of the Snow Children – Sibylle von Olfers – my youngest loves this book. Little Poppy is all alone at home. She looks out to see the snowflakes dancing outside and realises they are calling for her to come out and play. Soon she is on a sledge being ferried away to the Snow Kingdom where she joins in a party for the Snow princess’s birthday. Lovely pictures and story, typical of Sibylle von Olfers
Squirrel Goes Skating – Alison Uttley – lovely heart warming story about Little Grey Rabbit, Hare and Squirrel. It is a chilly winter’s day and the friends go ice skating in their finery. After a lovely day of skating and sharing hot lemonade and sandwiches with their other friends, they go home to find a rat has eaten their carefully prepared dinner! Luckily their friends come to the rescue and all is well. Old fashioned goodness.
Bramley Hedge – Winter Story – Jill Barklem. The stories from Bramley Hedge have always been a favourite around here. The illustrations are so detailed and beautiful and the stories are so sweet. In this story, the mice of Bramley hedge are snowed in, but they cleverly dig tunnels under the snow to access their food store and decide to construct an ice hall so that they can celebrate winter with an impromptu ‘snow’ ball – a once in a life time experience. We enjoy seeing all the preparations, and as usual the mice know how to feast and make merry!
The Snow Queen – illustrated by Anastasiya Archipova. Hans Christian’s classic tale about a couple of friends Gerda and Kay who get separated when a tiny piece of an evil magic mirror gets lodged in Kay’s eye and his heart turns to ice. He ends up living with the Snow Queen and Gerda goes on a quest to find her dear friend. The book is told in seven chapters as her quest is a long one. Full of adventure and a great read and of course it all ends happily ever after.
Die Sterntaler or The Star Child– illustrated by Bernadette Watts. Grimm Brothers story – a little orphan girl Matilda is all alone in the world, with just some bread to eat and the clothes on her back. She has nothing to lose, so gives away all that she has to others that appear less fortunate than her. She is standing naked in the woods, when countless stars fall from the heavens around her, which turn into silver coins. Matilda will never need for anything again. A story of kindness and its rewards with gorgeous illustrations.
Other winter resources:
Winter – Jennifer Aulie and Margaret Meyerkort – seasonal stories and songs that are used typically in Waldorf Kindergartens. Good as an at home resource.
The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice – Wendy Pfeffer – lots of useful information about celebrating the Solstice and all the other celebrations around the world at this time of year and why we celebrate. For a school age child. Very informative and lovely pictures too.
We love these books but are always happy to know of any other books that you would particularly recommend for winter reading. I am very aware that my ten year old is growing out of our picture books. She still sneaks a look at least once during the season, because these well loved books conjure up memories of our cosy afternoon story time sessions when she was at Kindergarten or half days at school. I still try to read daily with my youngest, who is seven and still loves these books. I wonder what will happen to them after they have grown out of them?….perhaps I will have to store our favourites for grandchildren, or pass them on to well deserving families? For now, I shall enjoy them for as long as I can 🙂
Hope you are enjoying some cosy winter reading too.