Laurel loves the spectacle associated with holidays, and we subsequently try to strike a balance between celebration and reinforcing ideas about material alternatives and diversity during these times. As such, we’ve been enjoying a few “holiday alternative” titles from Positive Spin Press - All Hallows Eve, Christmas Eve, and Winter's Eve - which I’m reviewing today in conjunction with the Parent Bloggers Network.
This series of books - written with a fairy named Eve as its central character - serves to introduce kids to holidays in general, as well as to the concepts that holidays are about more than the material, and that there are diverse ways of celebrating. All Hallows Eve: The Story of the Halloween Fairy is the first of the series, and in it, kids learn about friendship (Eve’s friends collect loot for her during Halloween because she's sad she can't *poof* it into existence) and the idea that it also can be fun to swap candy for toys (which we actually did a bit of this Halloween with Laurel).
The two other titles focus on the winter holidays. Christmas Eve: The Joy of Giving introduces kids to the concept that the size of one’s gift doesn’t matter as much as the intention, and Winter's Eve: Love and Lights serves to portray the commonality of celebrated light objects (e.g., menorah, kinara) across diverse winter holidays (e.g., Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, Christmas, Chinese New Year).
Each title features detailed, colorful illustrations to accompany the rhyme verse, and Laurel loves these books - although I suspect that the fact that they are about holidays and fairies probably is a major draw. Personally - and admittedly from the perspective of someone who wordsmiths ad nauseam - while I completely appreciate the concepts of these books, I think the writing could be improved. In my opinion, in All Hallows and Christmas it takes a bit too long to deliver the central messages, and Winter is ambitious, synthesizing seven holidays each in a few verses of rhyme (it works better for some holidays than others). And this is a minor point - I realize that writing an entire book in rhyme is challenging - but I don't think it counts to rhyme “dispatch” with “patch.”
These wordsmith-y points aside, the fact of the matter is that Laurel loves reading these books. I particularly recommend Winter's Eve: Love and Lights if you’re looking for a springboard to discuss different holiday traditions with your children.