Christmas Picture Books, Toys Our Kids Actually Play With and Some Great New Reads

What a title, eh? I think you know what you’re in for!
The links are affiliate and it’s so kind of you to use them- it’s a way to send a percentage of money my way with no cost to you.  The books  were received by the publishers.
Most Played With Toys
  • Pop-Up Toy
    • I love the retro look of this one and both of our girls spent a lot of time with this toy, which I feel like is especially rare for babies. I like how the variety of things they can learn with it, too.
  • Vet Kit
    • Aesthetically pleasing and great pretend play that our daughters are happy to do time and time again. We have the doctor’s one.
  • Tea Set
    • This is not the one we have, but is the one I’d get now.  Endless set-ups and play here.  Those lemon slices and tea bags…too cute.
    • The only momentum car we know of that goes in either direction. Fantastic quality.
    • It’s like paper dolls, but better. So cute. They have lots of scenes and other things that are so much fun, too.
  • Groceries in Grocery Basket
    • I had trouble finding groceries without weird foods for kids (bologna as a staple?) and these ones are all so pretty.  When our daughters are little, I mostly just set them all around and then ask them to bring me different ones and then, as they get older, the pretend play gets richer.
  • Magnetic Tiles
    • Endless possibilities.  I would recommend adding on these wheels and this marble run set. The different brands are all compatible with one another.
  • Take Along Musical Toy
    • To be clear, not my favorite toy, but babies and toddlers (and older…) are obsessed with this.  It’s just a button they can press to play music, but maybe it’s something about the handle…I don’t know.  All I know is that we keep this in the car as a back-up and it saves the day and I know of many other kids who adore this one.
  • Baking Set
    • I cannot handle that little gingerbread.
New Christmas Picture Books
  • Matt Tavares’ Dasher: How a Brave Little Doe Changed Christmas Forever
    • Thank you, Candlewick! We were all immediately very taken with this lushly illustrated and classically told origin story.  I know some people collect Christmas books to read every year with their family and this would make such a wonderful addition.
  • Kate DiCamillo’s and Chris Van Dusen’s A Very Mercy Christmas
    • Thank you, Candlewick! You know this one is going to be good with a duo like that, but I was even more taken than I thought I’d be with this one.  The community and heartfelt joy of this one so well made us in the Christmas spirit after reading this one and it’s one we’ve been reading often.
  • Peppa Pig and the Christmas Surprise
    • Thank you, Candlewick! Our one year old requests this nightly, so I think that says plenty! She doesn’t even know the show, but I imagine all Peppa fans will be very happy with this.
  • Polly Faber’s and Richard Jones’ Through the North Pole Snow
    • Thank you, Candlewick! You know it’s going to be cute when it’s about Santa helping a hungry, white fox and then readers following the pair after a good winter’s rest so that we can see what Santa is up to all year.
    • Thank you, Candlewick! So many readings of this one already! Cute and simple, this is one that’s wonderful to have on hand, especially if your little ones are constantly bringing books your way.
  •  Natalia O’Hara’s and Lauren O’Hara’s Frindleswylde
    • Thank you, Candlewick! With distinctive illustrations and the feel of The Snow Queen, this one is such a lovely addition to classic kids’ stories with its wintry fairytale magic.
  • Lucy Cousins’ Maisy’s Snowy Day
    • Thank you, Candlewick! Maisy is so wonderfully timeless.  Our daughters very much enjoy seeing the classic winter activities depicted here and the sweet joy of Maisy and her animal friends.
  • Benji Davies’ Bizzy Bear: Snow Days
    • Thank you, Candlewick! I must admit that this board book is already falling part…but only because our one year old is giving it so much “love”.  She has been carrying it around and insisting on being read it and trying out all of the fun interactive elements.
Bonus New Picture Books
  • Natasha Anastasia Tarpley’s and Charnelle Pinkney’s Keyana Loves Her Family
    • Thank you, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers! The author of the bestselling I Love My Hair! delivers again with this story and Pinkney’s illustrations are full of fitting warmth.  Keyana wants to throw an outdoor movie “soiree” and is bubbling over with fun, creative ideas in such an infectious way.  You’re bound to be won over with the heartfelt message of family sticking together and I can see many of you really enjoying this one.
  • Michael Slack’s I Take Care of My Puppy and I Take Care of My Kitten
    • Thank you, Chronicle! These board books are so clever.  Both my daughters love the unique interactive parts of these books as you brush, walk, and so forth your dog and cat.  Very cute, so creatively done, and being read all the time over here.
  • Christopher Willard’sDaniel Rechtschaffen’s, and Holly Clifton-Brown’s Alphabreaths, Too
    • Thank you, Sounds True! I posted about this one before, too, but wanted to again now that I have the published edition.  The images are so saturated and beautiful and the breathing exercises are creative and definitely ones that we have called upon when our kids are having a tough go of things.  Hooray for excellent mindfulness content for kids like this!
  • Atinuke’s Too Small Tola
    • Thank you, Candlewick! If you’re familiar with Atinuke, you know you’re in for a charming treat.  These three short stories feel so classic and are wonderful about bringing the reader into Tola’s world.
  • Katherine Halligan’s and Jesus Verona’s Sunday Funday: An Activity for Every Weekend of the Year
    • Thank you, Candlewick! This one is so aesthetically pleasing and chockful of fantastic ideas for activities to try out with your kids. I distinctly remember loving poring through books like this as a kid and I know we’ll be spending so much time with this one.  Definitely a staple to have around and would make for such a great gift!

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