A Tuesday Ten: Christmas is Coming
With the holidays upon us, I’m going to make this list all about speculative fiction that actually makes mention of Christmas in the story. It can’t be just a reiteration of The Night Before Christmas. (Check out my flashback friday post on that one!)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (HarperCollins, c1950)
Who can forget Lucy’s introduction to the land of Narnia, a world where it is always winter, but never Christmas? Father Christmas makes his appearance later in this story, bringing gifts for the children–not toys, but useful tools and weapons in the fight ahead. Although for me I was always charmed by the gift of the sewing machine for Mrs. Beaver.
WinterFrost by Michelle Houts (Candlewick, September 2014)
A Danish country Christmas takes a plunge into the magical realm of faerie. With all the chaos of the holiday and a new baby coming, Bettina’s parents leave her in charge of her sister and forget the important custom of leaving out a bowl of rice pudding for the little nisse who help take care of the farm and keep things tidy. This one mistake leads to baby Pia being stolen away–and now Bettina must go on her own adventure to bring her sister back.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Puffin, c1843)
A paranormal fantasy that is also a Christmas classic! This tale of a man being haunted by spirits of the past, present, and future of Christmas continues to capture the imagination. Ebeneezer Scrooge is a changed man by the end, and the readers learn what made Ebeneezer what he was in part, and gain some empathy toward this miser.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (Random House, c1957)
In the fantasy world of Whoville, Christmas is a big deal, but there’s someone–our antihero in fact–out to stop the whole shebang. The Grinch is a curmudgeon of the worst sort and he wants Christmas to get off of his lawn. But will his devious plan work to eliminate Christmas? Or will the Grinch find himself transformed instead?
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum (New American Library, c1902)
The creator of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz also wrote a story on the origins of Santa Claus. Baum doesn’t go the St. Nicholas route for this, but anchors Santa firmly in the pagan world of fairies. In fact, it is these fairies who must eventually decide to make the mortal Claus immortal like themselves.
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (Margaret K. McElderry, c1973)
A combination of Solstice and Christmas elements, as our chosen hero must go questing and help to save the world from darkness. I often think it remarkable that one of the brightest and “merriest” celebrations we have is at this darkest point in the year. And this book sets out to highlight that in the British countryside full of wintery storms.
The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith (Piccolo, c1956)
This one I don’t have the book to refer to . . . but I think the events of this happen fairly close to Christmas. At one point the escaping puppies take shelter in a church where they curl up on the little kneeler pillows, and I think there’s a nativity scene present. I know it’s snowing near the time they get home. Although my guilty pleasure is the revenge the pups take on Cruella, sneaking into her home and tearing apart every last fur in the place.
Dragon at the North Pole by Kate Klimo (Random House, 2013)
Book 6 in The Dragon Keepers series for new middle grade readers, this story continues the chronicles of two kids raising a feisty dragon. This is a rather weird one as it starts out with Emmy, the dragon deciding to fly to the North Pole and meet Santa, then the kids follow her there. But all the elves and workshop stuff winds up being not for real. Santa is really Beowulf in disguise, out to slay all dragons. A strange take on things to be sure!
The Christmas Genie by Dan Gutman (Simon & Schuster, c2009)
No one can doubt Dan Gutman creates some odd stories. In this one we explore the power of wishes when a meteorite brings forth a genie to a group of kids just about to leave for Christmas break. He’ll grant them one wish–and only one wish. And they all have to agree on it. What will it be?
The Elves and the Shoemaker based on The Brothers Grimm and Illustrated by Jim LaMarche (Chronicle, 2003)
How can I not wrap up this list without mentioning this beloved fairy tale? This particular version and its illustrations is one of my all-time favorites. A cobbler and his wife have mysterious elf helpers who appear at night. Around Christmas, the couple discover who has been helping them and make them a set of presents all their own.
There’s my ten! Comments welcome!
Posted on December 20, 2014, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Picture Books, Reading, reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.