Children’s books: Our favorites for Christmas

by Bénédicte Delelis and Anne-Charlotte Larroque, Mame, 48 p., €19.90.

Those who, in their tender years, immersed themselves with delight in the Christmas albums inherited from previous generations, will read this tale with happiness to their children. We are in winter at the beginning of the 20th century, in the toy section of the Parisian galleries, not far from a chapel where the Blessed Virgin once appeared. Olga, a doll with very red cheeks, observes with delicacy and humor a sudden effervescence of which she does not know the cause. Just as she wonders who this “Divine Messiah” sung from morning to evening by the record player of Mr. François, the local record store, and who seems to make people better. Henri, a well-informed polar bear, takes care of explaining everything to him. In line with the tales of Andersen (here we think of the Little Lead Soldier) and those of the Countess of Ségur, our columnist Bénédicte Delelis signs, in a sustained style but skilfully put within the reach of young readers , a charming Christmas story enhanced by the refined illustrations of Anne-Charlotte Larroque. A tale to read or listen to on a CD recorded by the author against a background of music and sound effects. Starting from 7 years old. (Review: Elisabeth Caillemer)

by Father Alain Quilici, Éditions du Carmel, 154 p., €15.

Notice to budding actors! They will draw inspiration from this book, made up of short stories and short sketches with dialogue, to animate family evenings or scout vigils by the fireside. Through stories of Christmas Eve, the lives of saints or contemporary stories on the theme of the Nativity, the author delivers short messages rich in lessons, like the parables of the Holy Scriptures.
(Review: Elisabeth Caillemer)

by Inès d’Oysonville, illustrations by Amandine Wanert, Artège Le Sénevé, 52 p., €14.90.

The bet is bold: tell the story of Christmas in an illustrated album. It took all the expertise of an instagrammer mother, catechist and author of spiritual supports for children, to take up the challenge. She is not satisfied with the preparations for the birth of Jesus. With simple words, in twenty-two short chapters, it shows that the birth of the Savior goes back to the origin of Creation. From 6 years old.
(Review: Olivia de Fournas)

by Clémence Germain and Thérèse Petiton Saint Mard, Editions du Triomphe, 32 p., €13.90.

Coton is a frail little sheep. His hair is so thin that he wears a red sweater, making all the farm animals laughing. On Christmas Eve, he decides to brave the freezing cold to go to Midnight Mass and see the Child Jesus in the manger. Will he arrive in time? A well done story. This little sheep with a pure heart frolicking in magnificent snowy landscapes will soften the little ones and keep them spellbound until the last page. From 3 years. (Review: Elisabeth Caillemer)

by Éloi Leclerc, Salvator and First Part, 40 p., €12.90.

We are in 1223, in the small village of Greccio, Italy. Francis, “the poor man from Assisi”, wants to celebrate Christmas in an exceptional way. Surrounded by his brothers, he decides to create a living nativity scene in which villagers and animals are invited to participate. On the evening of December 24, all converge, a lantern in hand, towards a cave hidden in the mountain. Composed by a Franciscan priest with a delicate and poetic pen, a story that is both touching and joyful, very nicely illustrated. From 4 years old. (Review: Elisabeth Caillemer)

by Blandine Cossa, Mame, 128 pages, €19.90.

History, full of sound and fury, is made by men. In a clear, simple, lively style, this fine album lists twenty heroes from the history of France, from the Gauls to the present day. Through them are highlighted the great eternal virtues: courage, with Charles Martel or Arnaud Beltrame, hope, with Clovis, selflessness and humility, with Godefroy de Bouillon, sense of justice, with Saint Louis , uprightness and determination, with Joan of Arc, the chivalrous spirit, with Bayard, refinement, with François I, a sense of grandeur, with Louis XIV, panache, with Henri IV or Charette, the freedom of spirit, with Surcouf, the spirit of sacrifice, with Madame Élisabeth or Honoré d’Estienne d’Orves, fidelity and a sense of honour, with Hélie de Saint Marc… Enough to give the youngest a taste for ‘History, the sense of admiration and love for France, despite its dark hours. Example, about Colonel Beltrame: “What we must remember is not the horror, it is the beauty of the gesture of Arnaud Beltrame, who gave his life for others. » All is said. (Review: Charles-Henri d’Andigné)

by Catherine de Lasa, illustrations by Armelle Talvande, Pierre Téqui publisher, 30 p., €13.90.

Can you imagine a Christmas without a story of a grumpy old man with a heart of stone? In this brightly colored album whose characters seem straight out of a Provençal nativity scene, we meet Tonton Léon. Beard in disarray and red scarf around his neck, the nasty lascar lives alone in a hut away from the village. No doubt he did not hear the angels and the shepherds announcing the birth of the Son of God. While, arms laden with food and gifts, all the villagers leave in procession to adore Him, Julien and his sister Héloïse try to convince the old man to accompany them. But impossible to appear before the Child Jesus. “He cannot welcome me because I have committed too many sins”he replies, pointing to the objects around him. “I stole them and, in addition, I lie, I fight, I say insults. » Softened, the two children then undertake to explain to him how to repair his sins. A pretty Christmas tale that delicately tackles the theme of mutual aid and forgiveness in all its dimensions. From 5 years.
(Review: Elisabeth Caillemer)

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Children’s books: Our favorites for Christmas

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