The Savvy Five: Books for the Holidays

Christmas Books - SavvyMom

There’s nothing like a good book to enjoy over the holidays with the family. So with this month’s Savvy Five, we’ve got some great reads to inspire some good family activities, perfect for the upcoming holiday weeks—because SavvyMoms know that sometimes too much unstructured time is not a good time!
Good for: Inspiring a little reading practice over the hols or for when you are too tired to read ‘just one more story’ and the troops are begging for more.
Why It Made the List: Not a traditional book, but rather an online collection of classic, award-winning children’s books (there are 54 with another 54 in the works), is the creation of an elementary school teacher and a Sesame Street producer. Each book has been narrated (along with wonderful sound effects and original music) and can be viewed in its entirety on the site. How-to-use instructions are given by the site host Benjamin D. Bookworm (so kids can use the site without help) but our savvy testers have been enjoying it as a family at bedtime on a laptop (no book in hand means more snuggles and cuddles). For beginning readers, try the I Can Read mode, which mutes the sound and provides help for unfamiliar words if needed. Literary genius, we say. (Available at, $44.99 for an annual subscription)

Kitchen For KidsKitchen for Kids
Good for: Inspiring a family baking frenzy (because you can never have enough cookies)
Why It Made the List: Kids love to cook and help in the kitchen and this cookbook offers 100 no-knives, no-flame, from-scratch recipes to get them started, with a little help from an adult. Each recipe has been tested by kids age four and up and they are all delicious and sure to teach your budding chefs a few things about cooking (which can only be a good thing down the road). (Kitchen for Kids, Jennifer Low, Whitecap Books, 2004, $15.64. Available to buy here.)

Imagine A PlaceImagine a Place
Good for: Instigating an imaginative fort-building session (snow or inside, depending on the weather)
Why It Made the List: The newest companion to the critically acclaimed Imagine a Night and Imagine a Day by Sarah L. Thomson, this book takes the theme ‘if you can imagine a place, you can go there’ to another level with its incredible illustrations by Canadian Rob Gonsalves, each of which show an Escher-like transformation of the place in question (think skiers skiing down a snow-covered slope, which transforms across the page into a flower-filled orchard where a girl sits reading a book.) Adults and children alike will be inspired to think past the boundaries of everyday life…which can help with fort-building and getting rid of cabin fever, we’ve found. (Imagine a Place, Sarah L. Thomson, Simon & Schuster, 2008, $14.43. Available to buy here.)


Xtreme Hockey
Good for: Getting psyched up for the annual family shinny game (or entertaining the buddy hockey fan)
Why It Made the List: There’s nothing more Canadian than a game of hockey (sorry lacrosse, maple leaf and beaver) and this new book by Stephen Cole, the well-known Canadian hockey writer, goes behind the scenes to tell the story of hockey in a completely new light. Filled with fascinating history (the Roman, Scottish and Mi’kmaq Aboriginal influences on the game), cool stats (Bobby Hull had the fastest shot) and locker room legends (we can never get enough of the Jacques Plante goalie mask story), this book will help while away the time for hockey fans young and old (Xtreme Hockey, Stephen Cole, Simon & Schuster, 2008, Simon & Schuster. Available to buy here.)

The Napping HouseThe Napping House
Good for: Naptime, of course!
Why It Made the List: This award-winning book, which has been delighting kids for a generation, is a delightful tale of the consequences of piling too many sleepy people and animals in a comfy bed. Starting with Granny who is snoring away on a rainy afternoon, she is joined by a host of others until eventually a chain reaction ensues which ends the cozy nap. Children love the infectious cumulative rhyme and repeating phrases (also good for beginning readers) and if it gets them in the mood for a nap, who are we to interfere?! (The Napping House, Don and Audrey Wood, Harcourt Books, 1984, $9.45. Available to buy here.)

So read away the holidays. (And of course if you are still looking for last-minute gifts, this list could help with your list.)



Leave a Comment