In a roundabout way through Quail Ridge Books & Music, I connected up with a local mom and daughter who created a blog to write about children's books they love.
Lost in a Book is written by a Wake County 10-year-old girl and her 47-year-old mother, who, for privacy reasons, write under the pen names LitKid and AKid@Heart. They offer some unique insight on many of the children's books out there, which I appreciate as the mom of a six-year-old who devours books.
Writes mom AKid@Heart: "Initially, I got the idea for a mother-daughter book blog because I saw my daughter flying through so many books so quickly. I thought writing book reviews might inspire her to slow down and think through/appreciate what she was reading. Several months into it, I think it's had that effect, not to mention given her an outlet for writing, which she loves. But most importantly, it's fun to have an outlet for our love of kids' books."
The blog's first review was of the wildly popular book (and, now movie), "The Adventures of Hugo Cabret."
"An enchanting and exciting story, The Invention of Hugo Cabret brings the true identity of magic alive," wrote LitKid back in May.
Since then, they've reviewed all kinds of picture books and chapters books. They plan to feature bookstores too. Quail Ridge was their first.
They've also written about how they use books to decorate their own home, especially during the holidays. The family has collected holiday picture books of all kinds - board books to stories for older kids - for a decade now and has nearly 40. Getting them out and reading them throughout December and on Christmas Eve is part of their holiday tradition.
Here are some of their favorite holiday books. Most of the reviews are from LitKid with some input from her mom. Quail Ridge has some of the books in stock and can order the other ones for you.
- Mr. Willoughby’s Christmas Tree, written and illustrated by Robert Barry. It’s special in our family because this is a childhood favorite of my mom’s (written in 1963) that was reprinted not long after AKid@Heart was born. We both love this story about how one Christmas tree ends up bringing smiles to people and creatures of all sizes.
- Auntie Claus (and the sequels, Auntie Claus and the Key to Christmas and Auntie Claus, Home for the Holidays), written and illustrated by Elise Primavera. These books are enchanting stories because they really spark your imagination. The illustrations are colorful and enchanting – magnificent – and make it feel as if you’re really in the story.
- Bear Stays Up for Christmas, written by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman. This is a family favorite and crowd-pleaser. Bear’s goal is to stay up for Christmas with his animal friends. The pictures make the story come to life – like you’re watching a movie.
- Great Joy, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Frances, a little girl participating in the Christmas pageant at her church, worries when she notices that the kind organ grinder and his monkey don’t go home at night when everyone else does. This story is touching and is a great example of what friendship and generosity really mean. The illustrations are old-fashioned and light up the story.
- Russell’s Christmas Magic, written and illustrated by Rob Scotton. This is the story of a sheep who helps save Christmas when disaster strikes on Christmas Eve. It’s a funny, whimsical book with light-hearted, funny illustrations.
- One Snowy Night, written by M. Christina Butler and illustrated by Tina Macnaughton. This is a great selection for the young ones in your life, even though my mom and I still love it, too. It tells the tale of Little Hedgehog, who receives the present of a red woolly hat that is too big for him. So he takes it to a friend, and the hat is passed from animal to animal – until, in a surprise twist, it comes right back to Little Hedgehog just when he needs it most.
Go to Lost in a Book to read more reviews.