Holiday Art Guide: Children’s Picture Book-Mittens, Dogs, Interrupting Chickens and Farting Trolls-Twin Cities

2021-12-06 15:53:09 By : Ms. Candice Lian

Who is on your gift list? The bet is the children. So here are a series of picture books that combine text and illustrations in a way that children like. No need to remind you why books are such a good gift, but we will do it anyway. Books will not break, do not need batteries, will not be forgotten after a week, will teach, will bring laughter, and some will be cherished and given to the next generation. Don't forget to write a small note in that special one.

"If you want to knit some gloves" by Laura Purdie Salas, illustration by Angela Matteson (Boyds Mill Press, $17.99)

This is not exactly a Christmas book, but gloves are usually holiday gifts, so we will include Sao Paulo writer Salas in this section. In this delightful book, half the "how to" and half the story, a girl shows us the 18 steps of making mittens, from keeping her friend sheep warm in winter and then giving the sheep "...A neat, complete buzz." The girl cleans the wool and combs it, spins it into yarn, dyes it and learns to weave, and there are always sheep around her to create damage. In the end, the girl wore bright yellow gloves and the sheep wore a sunny yellow hat. Interesting and interesting, this is a winner.

"Jan Brett's Nutcracker" (Putnam, $18.99)

Fans of Jan Brett will not be disappointed by her beautiful retelling of ETA Hoffmann's 1816 dreams of a girl in adulthood and her prince. Brett, who likes snow scenes, sets the story in 19th-century Russia. Animal musicians and hedgehogs are dancing, and Mary rides on a sleigh drawn by reindeer musicians. Like all her books, each page of Brett is filled with rich and detailed illustrations, so that it takes hours of bedtime fun to identify each creature. This may be her best time.

CNN anchor Poppy Harlow's "The Biggest Little Boy", illustration by Ramona Kaulitzki (Viking, $17.99)

In her debut picture book, Harlow, who was born in Minnesota, introduced us to a little boy who felt insignificant in a big city. He likes big things, and he especially wants a big and big Christmas tree. When his parents took him to the tree farm (white father, black mother), he stumbled upon a thin tree without branches. "Luca smiles at the tree. The tree/seems to smile back too...Look, Luca has been so busy/looking up that he missed the/special things in front of him. Special comes in various sizes ." Kaulitzki's illustrations capture the vitality of city life, and Lucas wears his oversized glasses, which are very flattering. There is a smiling spaniel on almost every page. Although not recognized, it is clearly the boy's best friend.

"Christmas Tree Story" by Danny Mischek, illustrated by Megan Schumway (Mill City Press, $20.99)

This story about choosing and decorating a Christmas tree is the COVID-19 project of this young Canadian writer, after he gave up social media for 31 days as a New Year's resolution. Telling in rhyme, it traces the family's experience with a tree, from going to the parking lot (or opening the box), to taking out the beloved decorations, to putting angels or stars on the tree. This story will resonate with children. They remember the past Christmas and the magic of finally turning on the tree lights: "The tree in the window or corner of the room/ can fill the mind and the whole body is exhausted./ Fantasy or mismatch , Whatever it is/or Granny Elva’s charming Charlie Brown tree."

"Farting Four-toed Troll, Christmas Troll" by Lavelle Carlson, illustration by Donna Day Mathis (self-published, $12.95)

LaVelle Carlson is a speech/language pathologist living in Texas. Her husband grew up in Norway and Minneapolis. She said she wrote this thin paperback book to pay tribute to the daughters who live in Norway and love Christmas trolls. Carlsen reimagined the legend of the Norwegian Christmas troll Jule Nissen, who traditionally feeds animals at Christmas. Jule Nissen, who used to steal porridge from home, farted loudly when he left. He woke up his parents and spilled the porridge on the floor. The next morning, the parents saw four-toed footprints on the snow and knew that Jule Nissen was there to provide food for the animals. "The farmer's wife is happy that the animals are happy. She decides that next Christmas (and all Christmas forever) she will make an extra pot of rice porridge for Jule Nissen." That's why Norwegian families still eat at Christmas to this day Porridge with almonds in a bowl. If you are lucky enough to get nuts, you will win prizes. (For purchasing information, please visit:

"Break the Chicken: Breakfast Biscuits" by David Ezra Stein (Candlewick Press, $17.99)

David Ezra Stein won Catic honors for his "Break the Chicken". Now he came back with the little red chicken. When the little red chicken woke up, there were biscuits in his mind and his father. He just wanted to go back to sleep. The little guy used nursery rhymes to distract himself, all of which led to cookies, including an old woman, who asked, "Why do you live in your shoes? Doesn't it smell?" She replied, "I bake cookies. Time won't." This stupid, lengthy story is perfect for bedtime reading. This is not a Christmas book, but Chicks and his dad are wearing red Santa hats, so we treat it as a holiday story.

"Little Loon Finds His Voice" by Yvonne Pearson, photo by Regina Shklovsky (The Collective Book Studio, $17.95)

Yvonne Pearson, who lives in Minneapolis, has written more than ten children's books and is a published poet. "Little Lazy..." is one of the most beautiful books of this season. The combination of text and illustrations tells the story of a little lazy who is protected by his mother, and his father's loud call can be heard across the lake. Xiaolong ate the dragonfly brought by his father, and eventually the baby grew up, and his cry was as strong as his father. The neat illustrations showing the loon family are accurate and charming, and so is the story. The information page at the back of the book explains the haunting sounds of loons and provides some facts about loons, such as eagles posing a threat to young birds (this is in the story). Children who have spent time in the "North" will recognize the creepy calls made by one of our favorite birds.

"Watching Dogs: Three Stories Next to Cats" by David LaRochelle, illustration by Mike Wohnoutka (Candlewick Press, $11.99)

These Minnesota partners won the American Library Association Gesell Award for their previous book "Watching Cats: Three Stories about Dogs." Now they are back and the roles have changed. The dog was sick, so he let the cat take his place in the book. Things are not going well for the cat. In the first story, the cat should dig a hole like a dog, but he does not want to stain his fur. In the second story, he should swim across the lake. When he imagined he was frozen, drowned and eaten by sharks, he found himself in a small puddle. In the third story, he frantically tried to rescue a sheep from a wolf until he realized that it was a dog and he had recovered. "Hello book," said the dog. The cat left to get the much-needed rest. These books are meta-fictions, the books become characters, and the characters can control actions. But children don’t need to know all those things that light up. They only like funny stories with messy illustrations.

"Grandmother's Pigeon" by Louise Erdrich, illustration by Jim LaMarche (University of Minnesota Press, $17.95)

First published in 1996, the story of this grandmother is full of mystery, magic and a bit of environmentalism. She is a therapist and travels to Greenland with dolphins. When there were three hatching eggs in one of the bird's nest collections of her grandmother, her bewildered family, including a granddaughter and grandson, were confused. To everyone's expectation, these chicks are passenger pigeons, and have been considered extinct since the last one died in the zoo in 1914. The family called the ornithologist and said that it was "impossible". Under the care of the mother, three baby passenger pigeons who tweeted thrived. The family was surrounded by the media, and others were excited about the reappearance of these birds. When the chicks are old enough to leave, their eyes will become dimmed and they will look sad in captivity. The father said that they should be released, and they were indeed released, although some people said that they should be allowed to continue their studies. The children posted the information on the bird’s wings, and then a person came back with the grandmother’s message and told them that she would go home soon, but it was delayed because "I had to change three porpoises, Then I caught a whale." How interesting.

Text of "Basho's Haiku Journeys" by Freeman Ng, illustration by Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem (Stone Bridge Press, $16.95)

Matsuo Basho, the first great haiku poet, gave up comfortable city life and made five famous trips in Japan in the 17th century. The author Ng is a poet and digital artist, as well as a former Google software engineer, who wrote this Basho biography entirely in haiku. His other books include "Haiku Diem 1", which is the best collection of haiku in the first year of his daily haiku writing, with his own digital art illustrations. Wu wrote that Basho was praised for transforming haiku into a serious poetic genre. He promoted haiku (more like a literary living room game) into a legal independent poem that can be written entirely for art. For older children who are curious about writing and other cultures, with the help of parents and teachers, this will be a good start.

"Four Stones" by Theresa Klug Murray (Kirk House, $14.95)

In this thin paperback book from a Christian publisher, the creator gave the bird Kip and Peep four stones, representing joy, hope, strength/determination/courage, and love, respectively. Each is a different color. When Chip swallowed his last breath, the forest creature understood the love of the Creator. The cute illustrations are on the left page, and the text is on the right. The author lives in Prescott, Wisconsin, very close to the prestigious state of Minnesota.

"Oh, what Fiona can do!" by Renee Bade (Page Publishing, $13.95)

Fiona is a lively flamingo, can stand on one leg, spin like a ballerina, dressed in pink, never blue. "Can you?" asked the rhyming text. The author living in Sao Paulo hopes this is the beginning of a series in which Fiona wakes up in a new place in every new book.

"What? Am I a dog?" Mary Claire Rockman, illustrated by Brittany Tafford (self-published, $8.95)

Maxx didn't know he was a dog because he was loved by his family. He has a special place to eat, a bed to snuggle. When he is with his children, he will remain vigilant to prevent them from being stung by bees and save a child from a sleigh accident. He was great, and the children gave him a trophy because he is the greatest dog in the world. The illustrations capture Maxx's passion for life, jumping, running, and being a dog. (To order, please send an email to:

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