Tag Archives: Houghton Mifflin

Shhh! Not a creature was stirring: The Christmas Quiet Book


Hey, look! It’s once again the time of gently falling snow at Shelf Elf. While I can’t see any snowflakes outside, I’ll take them at my blog. I’ll also happily take one in the form of my gorgeous paper snowflake lantern, pictured above. You know you want one (and if you live in Toronto, you can get one here). I’ve already spent a little time all cozy on the couch reading and snoozing by its golden glow. Here’s what I suggest to create your own little bit of Christmas magic, with or without the actual white stuff:

1) Turn on snowflake lantern.

2) Warm up the hot chocolate.

3) Add marshmallows.

3) Call the cat.

4) Wrap cat and self in your favourite woolen blanket.

5) Read him a Christmas story. He will probably fall asleep. This is fine. It does not mean he is not listening. I recommend this book, one of my new favourite Christmas offerings:


I am such a fan of Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska‘s first two books, The Quiet Book, and The Loud Book. They define the magic that can happen when you match a simple, sweet concept that has equal kid and grown up appeal, with illustrations that are in every way perfect for the text. The Christmas Quiet Book turns Underwood and Liwska’s work into a perfect three for three. You will not be able to resist the loveliness here, because this book captures what I think almost everyone hopes Christmas can be: a peaceful, celebratory time, filled with family traditions, laughter, and days that seem to stretch on forever. The variety in Underwood’s ideas really makes the book work for everyone. There are types of quiet that kids will especially relate to: “Searching for presents quiet,” and “Trying to stay awake quiet.” And then there are the types that will get parents and grandparents grinning: “Blown fuse quiet,” and “Someone’s dad is a costume designer quiet.” Liwska’s soft, practically huggable little creatures make you wish that Christmas would just hurry up and get here already.

Here’s the lovely trailer:

Enjoy with your cat or your kid, this one is a lovely Christmas treat.

The Christmas Quiet Book is published by Houghton Mifflin.

Day 21, book 21: More by I.C. Springman

More, by I.C. Springman, with illustrations by Brian Lies, is a beauty, one of those books that you sigh over when you finish reading it for the first time. It’s a simple but stunning exploration of what can happen when all we want is more and more and more.

Magpie starts with nothing, but that doesn’t last for long. Mouse gives him a marble, and now he has something. It doesn’t stop there; he just keeps on collecting. He finds lego pieces, lost keys, broken necklaces, dice, scraps of paper, bits and bobs. He moves from “something”, to “several”, to “more”, to “lots”, and on, all the way to “way too much.” Luckily, he has some mouse friends to help him deal with his crazy hoard. They work together until there is less, and less, and less, and finally “not much at all.” It turns out, that this is “enough.”

When I shared this one with a colleague, he said, “That idea is genius.” I have to agree. The fact that Springman gets to such a big idea with so few words is in perfect keeping with the theme of her text. The more stuff you get, the more you seem to want and need. It’s hard for everyone – grown ups and kids – to break that cycle. I think this book offers a good launching point to start talking with children about over-consumption and materialism, and their implications. Plus, it’s very compelling from a visual standpoint. Brian Lies’ detailed illustrations are striking and dramatic.

A picture book that makes children think about the impact of their choices, and what’s really important, belongs on shelves everywhere.

More is published by Houghton Mifflin.