With the winter holidays in evidence all around us, the staff at all the Timberland libraries hope you will share the "Simple Gifts" of reading books aloud with your loved ones. They suggest these favorites, all available at bookstores or your Timberland library.

For Preschool Listeners

to Grandfolks

Mucky Pup's Christmas,

by Ken Brown

Mucky Pup's really making a mess of Christmas and getting into lots of trouble. He decides he is better off spending some time with Pig on Christmas Eve.

Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury,

by Jan Brett

A compilation of seven stories originally published separately. It includes all of Brett's heartwarming Christmas tales plus exquisitely detailed illustrations in jewel-like colors to delight the eyes and minds of children.

Que Monton de Tamales! - Too Many Tamales! by Gary Soto (Spanish and English editions)

While helping cook Christmas tamales, a young girl tries on her mother's diamond ring and later realizes the ring is missing. It must be in the tamales-and the only way to find out is to eat all of them! A tender and funny story.

Seven Spools of Thread:

A Kwanzaa Story,

by Angela Shelf Medearis

Seven Ashanti brothers settle their differences and work together to accomplish an impossible task by embodying the principles of Kwanzaa.

Holly's Christmas Eve,

by Wendy Watson

When a bad cat shakes the Christmas tree, an ornament named Holly gets broken. A group of ornaments come together to find Holly's arm in time for Santa's arrival. Terrific illustrations make this a hit for families.

The Polar Express,

by Chris Van Allsburg

A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a young boy on a trip with other children to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa. This classic with its subdued artwork is beloved by people of all ages.

The Nativity,

illustrated by Julie Vivas

The Angel Gabriel in workboots, Mary and Joseph as a down-home, working couple - Vivas's humorous artwork is a delight.

Cajun Night Before Christmas,

by Trosclair; edited by Howard Jacobs; illus. by James Rice.

Christmas comes to a Louisiana bayou in a skiff piled high with toys and pulled by eight friendly crocodiles. Try out a Cajun accent for this delightful rendition of the traditional poem.

The Little Drummer Boy,

illustrated by Kristina Rodanas; words and music by Katherine Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone

Colorful illustrations bring this classic Christmas song to life. You can't just read this book, sing the song to enjoy its fullest meaning.

Happy New Year! Kung-hsi fa-ts' ai!

by Demi

This vibrantly illustrated book explains the festivities, traditions, and symbols behind the Chinese New Year.

To Every Thing There is a Season: Verses from Ecclesiastes,

illus. by Diane and Leo Dillon

Beautiful art coupled with inspirational verses make this picture a treasure for all ages.

For School Age Listeners on Up

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,

by Barbara Robinson

You may have seen the movie, but this book is still one of the funniest and best chapter books ever written. Read it out loud or read it to yourself and laugh out loud.

Because of Winn-Dixie,

by Kate DiCamillo

India Opal Buloni walks into the Winn-Dixie in her new hometown of Naomi, Florida for a few groceries and comes out with a dog - a mangy, homeless, smiling dog that Opal dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, motherless Opal begins to find her place in the world.

Little House in the Big Woods and The Long Winter,

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

All of the "Little House books" are great read alouds, but these two have winter and Christmas stories throughout. Many families share these stories each year.

While the Bear Sleeps: Winter Tales and Traditions,

by Caitlin Matthews

A magical bear tells how winter holiday customs and celebrations developed over time as he introduces stories about Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Candelmas, Solstice, Twelfth Night, and New Year's Day. Appealing illustrations appear throughout the book.

A Little Princess,

by Frances Hodges Burnett

Miss Minchin, boarding school headmistress, is pleased to have the intelligent and wealthy Sara as her star pupil, until Sara's father dies. The little princess is reduced to a shabby drudge but overcomes her sufferings.

A Christmas Memory,

by Truman Capote

A child and his eccentric old-maid cousin, Miss Sook Faulk, create a wonderful holiday for themselves with what little resources they had available.

A fine portrayal of the 1930's, the story is humorous and a little sad too.

A Newbery Christmas.

This is a collection of 14 stories by Newbery Award winning authors including Eleanor Estes, E.L. Konigsburg, Madeleine L'Engle, Beverly Cleary, Katherine Paterson and Hugh Lofting.

Mandy, by Julie Andrews Edwards.

Ten-year-old Mandy feels lost among the thirty children who live in the old stone orphanage. She dreams of a home of her own, a place where she belongs. Readers will rejoice in her ultimate happy fairy-tale ending.

Christmas Treasury of Yuletide Stories & Poems, edited by James Charlton.

More than 50 tales and poems by great writers, traditional and modern, funny and touching, this collection shines with Christmas spirit.

For Teens to Adult Readers and Listeners

The Physics of Christmas, by Dr. Roger Highfield.

Budding scientists and mathematicians will enjoy this unusual exploration of Christmas. It covers everything from the thermodynamics of cooking a turkey to the mathematics of Santa's possible use of time travel. Complete with a glossary and bibliography.

Griffin & Sabine: an extraordinary correspondence, written and illustrated by Nick Bantock. First of a series of six small, fabulously illustrated pop-ups for grownups; the fantasy correspondence of two people who are in love but never manage to be in the same part of the world at the same time-nor perhaps in the same world.

Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham.

If someone at your house is feeling humbugged over the holidays, share this story by the bestselling lawyer-novelist. It's a quick read, only 177 pages, with not a lawyer in sight.

That Day the Rabbit Left Town, by Harry Kemelman.

Rabbi David Small's detection skills come in handy when a body is found in a snowdrift during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Yule: a Celebration of Light and Warmth, by Dorothy Morrison.

Explores the beginnings of many of our contemporary rituals and celebrations through stories, recipes and crafts.

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