On Christmas Eve
Margaret Wise Brown with illustrations by Beni Montresor/ published 1961 by Young Scott
I promise this will be my final holiday book of the season. I was packing up the last of my Christmas lights, and realised I'd forgotten to put this one into the attic with the rest of the yuletide tomes. People love MWB's books because she really gets to the heart of what children know. Every page of this book perfectly describes that Christmas Eve/Morning feeling of wonder and mystery and specialness. A group of children are too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve and sneak downstairs to steal a peak at the decorations and presents, and then are quietly serenaded by a group of secret carolers.
Then the children went into the room
and stood close together on the soft rug
in front of the fire.
They couldn't speak or move.
It was as though magic had come true.
I had so many friends this year lament giving their children too many presents. That the overwhelming sense of abundance really drove the morning and days surrounding it. That next year, they wanted to do it different. Much like the sentiment of Dr. Seuss, it is the moments in this book that speak directly to the spirit of what makes Christmas so wonderful. To quote the Grinch himself... "It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!"
The Quiet Noisy Book
Christmas in the Barn
The Dead Bird
The Golden Egg Book
The Friendly Book