It is Gloria Houston's birthday and she is the author responsible for one of my all time favourite children's books with a Christmas setting and it is that time of year again when I can enjoy reading it to and discussing it with classes. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree is set in Appalachia during World War I, a time and place that is quite foreign to my children in Australia but the task Ruthie performs leaves them awestruck and inspired. I have never had this story fail.
While on the topic of must-read Christmas books, here are other long picture books that I enjoy reading and the children sit transfixed for:
• Fair's Fair by Leon Garfield and Margaret Chamberlain (this edition is out of print but worth looking for in a library because its illustrations capture the time and mood of the story perfectly, in a way that later editions that look like small chapter books do not)
• The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden and Barbara Cooney
• The Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola