Three children’s Christmas books we love

One of the things I love about Christmas is having the opportunity to shamelessly read Christmas books. We’ve got a great selection of Christmas classics in at the moment and thought we’d take the opportunity to round up some of our favourites.

1 My Naughty Little Sister and Father Christmas by Dorothy Edwards

I used to love My Naughty Little Sister and these classic stories, beautifully illustrated by the magnificent Shirley Hughes have stood the test of time. My Naughty Little Sister and Father Christmas originally featured as a chapter within one of the books, but has now been published as a stand alone picture book for the first time. In this book, our long suffering narrator tells the story of when she goes to meet Father Christmas with her little sister who dares to bite him on the hand! With stunning illustrations, this is a gorgeous story to enjoy at Christmas, especially for those of us with our own naughty little sisters. This story also introduces us to the beloved dolly, Rosy-Primrose, for the first time.

2 Angel Mae and the Christmas Baby by Shirley Hughes

We seem to be running with a Shirley Hughes theme, but rest assured that it is entirely unintentional. It’s just so very easy to get lost in her beautiful artwork and Angel Mae and the Christmas Baby is no exception. Mae is so excited to be cast as Angel Gave-You (oh my heart, a mispronunciation of Gabriel) in the school nativity play, but her mother is heavily pregnant and the baby arrives at the same time as the school play. Mae takes to the stage and is delighted when her dad turns up to watch his pillowcase clad angel take her star turn. This story is part of the Trotter Street series.

3 Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr will always be one of my favourite authors and Mog will always be one of my favourite fictional cats. In this story, everyone is busy setting up for Christmas and poor Mog is terrified by the walking Christmas tree. “Once trees start walking about, anything might happen,” she thinks before dashing onto the roof of the house, refusing to come down even for supper. Everyone is sad but cheered up later when who should pop down the chimney but Mog? Happy Christmas Mog!

Books for dragon-slaying princesses

I adore books and so does my five year old daughter. My dinosaur loving  five year old also loves throwing herself into mud while pretending to be a superhero slaying dragons.

She also doesn’t have much time for princesses in fairytales.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with loving princesses. I loved princesses and I still do. But there are also some fantastic stories out there about princesses who refuse to conform to their traditional stereotypes. These princesses are smart and sassy and are quite happy not depending on their prince to save the day, thank you very much!

1. The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie

Brought to you by the creators of Dogs Don’t Do Ballet and Rhinos Don’t Eat Pancakes, this fabulous book about the mischief making Princess Sue is written entirely in rhyming couplets and was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2012.  Princess Sue has been stuck in her tower for a hundred years, learning about princess behaviours and awaiting rescue. But when the Prince turns up, Sue realises that swishing her skirts around a tower isn’t really much fun. She befriends a Dragon and together they travel around making mischief for “royal twits and naughty knights.”  A fun introduction to smashing the patriarchy, this book is brilliantly entertaining.

2. Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole

I love Princess Smartypants. Originally published in 1986, this bold and brilliant story is THE feminist book of children’s literature. The story starts with Princess Smartypants’ outright refusal to get married. She declares that she wants to remain a “Ms.” And remain a “Ms” she does as various Princes arrive to woo her, but remain outsmarted by our heroine. The story reaches its finale as Prince Swashbuckle looks like he is going to get hitched to our Princess. However, the crisis is averted when she turns him into a gigantic warty toad with her kiss. We do like a non-traditional ending!

3. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Published in 1980, the spirited Princess Elizabeth is set to marry Prince Ronald when horror upon horrors, he is kidnapped by a dragon who has destroyed the castle and burned all of Elizabeth’s clothes.  Undaunted, our clever Princess dresses herself in a paper bag and sets out to rescue Prince Ronald – who upon being rescued, is very unhappy with her not very princess appearance. This fantastic story shows that it’s great to use your brain and even more importantly, contains the message that you don’t need to settle for just anyone, but rather that it’s better to hold out for someone who appreciates you the way you are.

Have you met these feisty princesses? Or have you any other recommendations? Comment below and let us know!