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[Christmas Monday Reading] Christmas-Themed Picturebooks To Warm You Up: “Red and Lulu” and “The Gift Of The Magi”

Christmas Monday Reading


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

So, in behalf of the entire GatheringBooks team, we would like to greet you all a very joyful Christmas. Naturally, I am sharing two Christmas-themed books that I have just very recently discovered. I hope they find you, too.

The Gift Of The Magi

Written By: O. Henry Illustrated by: Sonja Danowski
Published by: Minedition, 2013 (first published December 1905)
ISBN: 9888240579 (ISBN13: 9789888240579)Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

While apparently, this is a Christmas classic, it was Danowski’s art that compelled me to seek this title out from the library. From the first few pages, I realize that this is not your typical picturebook. Note above that the first publication of this story was in 1905, hence the language is far from contemporary.

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

And so it goes. This is a story of a young couple struggling desperately to make ends meet. Never is this more keenly felt than during special occasions, and Christmas especially. They each try to find what they believe to be their sweetheart’s desire by giving up the thing that is most valuable to them – only to be surprised in the end.

While we take much joy in our Christmas presents piled on top of each other under our trees, this beautiful story reminds us of that which is important, the things we value and hold dear to our hearts, and how far we are willing to go to make our loved ones smile.

Red & Lulu

Written and Illustrated By: Matt Tavares
Published by: Candlewick Press, 2017
ISBN: 0763677337 (ISBN13: 9780763677336) Borrowed from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

I thought it would be good to pair a classic Christmas story published in the 1900s to this classic-in-the-making published late this year.

Red & Lulu has an expansive feel to it – sort of like giving you the heavens in greens and reds, in fallen leaves and hidden branches, in sparkling faery lights and endless bridges.

There is a cinematic feel to the narrative that is practically begging to be made into a film. It is a story of lost loves, a home that is carelessly taken and uprooted without warning, and finding one’s way back to lights and love.

I also loved reading about the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, its annual lighting that started as far back as 1931, and what happens to the gorgeous Christmas tree once the festivities are over.

I also found a Youtube clip of one of my favourite Christmas songs that was performed during the Annual National Christmas Tree Lighting in the US in 2010. Enjoy!

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

8 comments on “[Christmas Monday Reading] Christmas-Themed Picturebooks To Warm You Up: “Red and Lulu” and “The Gift Of The Magi”

  1. Merry Christmas, ladies!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Merry Christmas! I love the illustrations of your books. Enjoy! Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES


  3. Sarah Sammis

    Red and Lulu is going onto my wishlist. Happy holidays. Hard to believe it’s the last link up of the year. Come see what I’m reading.


  4. crbrunelle

    Merry Christmas! I remember reading The Gift of the Magi in Jr. High. It was definitely one that got my attention. Red and Lulu is gorgeous.


  5. I didn’t do your around the world challenge, but it has encouraged me to try to read more international books or at least books set in some different countries. Girl Who Reads

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Gift of the Magi seems like one I may have read many many years ago. The pictures brought back the memory of warm fuzzies and of a couple of tears shed because I’m definitely a sap like that. The images are truly beautiful. I’m also loving your Social and Emotional Learning bookshelf, it’s such an amazing project!

    Happy reading! And Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been meaning to read The Gift of the Magi. I’ll add it to my Must Read in 2018 list.


  8. The Gift of the MAgi looks wonderful!


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