Holiday-Themed Children's Books For The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

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You can still read and gift The Polar Express, but maybe Dasher will be your new favorite, one of the many holiday-themed children's books out this year that put a stripy-stockingsed twist on stories you know, or fix the age-old problem in kids' lit of "not enough guinea pigs."

If you've relied heavily on Happy Hannukah, Curious George, you might find Goodnight Bubbala, a Yiddish parody, freshens up one of the eight nights of Hannukah. If you want to explain Yule to your tot, or why it's dark when you pick them up from daycare, there is The Shortest Day. Whether you celebrate Hannukah, or Christmas, or the Solstice, or you just like making a good snowman, there are snowy days, parties, traditions, and hijinks galore in these new titles. So light the menorah, deck the halls, and snuggle in for some magical wintery reading.

(Disclaimer: Your child does not know they are seasonal books, so you may well be reading The Nutcracker into July. You have been warned!)

The Nutcracker (Penguin Bedtime Classics) based on the book by E.T.A. Hoffmann, illustrated by Carly Gledhill

Penguin Random House

The Nutcracker: Board Book Edition ($7.99, IndieBound)

The simplest retelling of Clara and her pals for the youngest readers. It's a perfect intro to this classic story, and this new edition is even simpler. Pairs delightfully with some egg nog the music from the ballet.

'One Snowy Morning' by Kevin Tseng, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

One Snowy Morning by Kevin Tseng ($16.99, IndieBound)

Small woodland creatures come upon a pile of snow that holds some interesting odds and ends. They riddle out the purposes of the sticks and the mittens.

'Maisy's Christmas Party: With 6 Festive Letters And Secret Surprises' by Lucy Cousins

Candlewick

Maisy's Christmas Party ($14.99, IndieBound)

Little readers, along with Maisy, can enjoy opening letters and finding surprises. Maisy is getting ready for a Christmas party and teensy readers get to join in the fun.

'Goodnight Bubbala: A Joyful Parody' by Sheryl Haft, illustrated by Jill Weber

Penguin Random House

Goodnight Bubbala by Sheryl Haft ($17.99, IndieBound)

This parody of Goodnight Moon is full of Hannukah goodness and Yiddish galore. The story focuses on a family's celebration, but this book also includes a phonetic glossary of the Yiddish and a latke recipe from Ina Garten!

'The Great Santa Stakeout' by Betsy Bird, illustrated by Dan Santat

The Great Santa Stakeout by Betsy Bird ($17.99, IndieBound)

Freddy has a solid plan for catching Santa Claus in his gift-delivery act. His secret plans involve baking cookies, and surveillance methods in order to snag a photo with the jolly man himself.

'The Shortest Day' by Susan Cooper, illustrated by Carson Ellis

Candlewick

The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper ($17.99, IndieBound)

Susan Cooper's poem about the comfort in gathering and celebrating the winter solstice beautifully illustrated. Marking the darkest, longest night with celebration and light helps bring cheer. You can read more about these gorgeous illustrations here.

'Baby's First Nativity' illustrated by Nomar Perez

Simon and Schuster

Baby's First Nativity illustrated by Nomar Perez ($6.99 from Little Bee Books)

Simple and sweet, this depiction of the Nativity introduces tots to the Christmas basics, with a nicely swaddled Jesus at the middle of goings on.

'A Guinea Pig Nutcracker (Guinea Pig Classics)' by Alex Goodwin

Bloomsbury

A Guinea Pig Nutcracker ($14.00, IndieBound)

The classic story of Clara and the Mouse King and the Sugarplum Fairy, now made even cuter by the substitution of guinea pigs in all the roles. And if this is your thing, there are many other books in the Guinea Pig Classics series, including A Guinea Pig Christmas Carol.

'The Crayons' Christmas' by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Penguin Random House

The Crayons' Christmas by Drew Dawalt ($19.99, IndieBound)

Just when you thought there was no way these crayons could possibly have any more adventures, they find a way to celebrate the holidays. If you have a kid who's delighted by opening packages and books that pop up, they'll love this one.

'Dasher' by Matt Tavares

Candlewick

Dasher by Matt Tavares ($17.99, IndieBound)

Brave reindeer Dasher knows she's destined for something, and when she meets Santa, her wishes begin to come true. The illustrations are lush and classic and will keep readers dreaming of snowy nights and jingle bells.

'The Bear And The Star' by Lola M. Schaefer, illustrated by Bethanne Andersen

HarperCollins

The Bear And The Star by Lola M. Schaefer ($17.99, IndieBound)

A sweet story of hosting gatherings and welcoming the seasons. Bear sees a new star in the sky and searches for the perfect tree under which to hold a gathering of creatures big and small.