The View from Saturday

A heart full of love and a bookshelf full of hope and some books.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

laaaaast christmas, i gave you my heaaart

Jane asked me to tell you about my top ten CanLit books, or maybe it was top five, I can't remember. Anyway, I'm not going to do that right now anyway because I don't feel like it. But I promise, at some point, some day, that list will exist, and it will not have any mention of Margaret Atwood on it, at least not for any of her novels (sorry Jon, that's how I roll). Instead, I'm going to tell you about Christmas books I like, because as anyone who has ever met me will know, I have a low-grade obsession with the birth of our Lord and Saviour, mostly just for the baking and the TV specials. And the amazing children's stories.

Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs is a wickedly funny story with a real comic book feel--it's a picture book but all the text is in dialogue bubbles, many of which are filled with Santa cursing and getting cranky as he gets ready for his Christmas Eve trip. Raymond Briggs does such wonderful figures, all rounded and cozy looking, and his take on Santa is curmudgeonly and dry. Kids' minds will be blown with the idea of Santa as more than just a one-dimensional toy factory. Raymond Briggs' other winter classic is The Snowman, a textless book that always makes me cry and wish for a huge fluffy blizzard.

On Christmas Eve by Peter Collington is another wordless book and probably one of my all-time favourite picture books. It follows a girl on Christmas Eve as she falls asleep and the amazing things that happen as Santa makes his way to her house. I won't give anything away but I will tell you that it involves little fairies bearing tiny candles and will make any 4 year old girl swoon with excitement. The illustrations all have a snowy muted quality and you'll want to read this one over and over to explore all the details and the stories going on in the background.

Morris' Disappearing Bag by Rosemary Wells is classic Wells. And if you know what that entails, you're as dorky as I am. Morris is a bunny who gets annoyed on Christmas morning when all his siblings get better presents than his lame teddy bear--till he discovers the extra package behind the tree. Rosemary Wells has a quirky, simple style that makes you laugh without quite knowing why, and her bunnies are always so incredibly human, especially in the complex and annoyed relationships between brothers and sisters. You'll never find a better illustrator of bunny facial expressions, I guarantee it.

Sweet lord, I could go on and on with this one. Look forward to more installments as the month wears on. And happy Santa Lucia...if there are any Swedish chicks reading this, be careful not to set fire to your hair.

11 Comments:

At 7:32 PM, Anonymous jon said...

I loved The Snowman, I think I remember that there was also a Snowman animated film, also known as a cartoon, and it was completely silent as well. Maybe there was music. I think. It's a fuzzy childhood memory, okay?

 
At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Thadius Bilge said...

Father Christmas IS MY FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS BOOK! Finally, something literary you and I have in common. I read that book every Christmas, very, very slowly so that I can indugle in the lovely drawings and British swearing.

And a Merry Bloomin' Christmas to you, too!

PS Do you know that this was a banned book? Something to do with the swearing and the shot of Father Christmas' bare bottom. Philistines!

 
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