Book: Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book
Author: Diane Muldrow
Age Range: 12 and up
Everything I Need to Know About Christmas I Learned from a Little Golden Book contains illustrations from picture books, but is not in and of itself a children's book. Rather, it's a compilation by Diane Muldrow, editorial director at Golden Books, of images from Little Golden Books published over the years, lightened with editorial commentary about the holidays. Like this:
"Christmas is the most wonderful time
of the year and all, but ...
there's just so much to do.
All that baking,
the endless cycle of cooking and cleaning, ..."
The first part above is accompanied by a picture of Santa's sleigh taking off from a rooftop (from The Golden Book of Little Verse, 1952). The next page shows a mother doing laundry on one side (from The Happy Family, 1955) and a grandmother baking on the other (from The Gingerbread Man, 1953). And so on. In each case, the name, author, illustrator, and publication date are shown in tiny print at the bottom of the page. We are clearly meant to focus on Muldrow's text, and the pictures themselves, without dwelling too much on where they came from originally.
The text is a bit of an odd mix of snarky and not. From "Can we just call the Christmas season what it really is? Cold and flu season." to "When was the last time you went caroling?" and "don't forget to break for hot cocoa." Towards the end, Muldrow focuses on both the religious symbolism and the family-oriented aspects of Christmas. She closes with an image of Santa from The Night Before Christmas, and the word "Believe". Mostly, Everything I Need to Know About Christmas comes down on the side of mildly, but not overly, sentimental.
The illustrations, created by a wide range of authors, are an interesting window into the varied styles of Little Golden Book illustrators over the years. Some hold up better than others, of course, and most carry a nostalgic feel.
My four-year-old took one look at the cover of this book and said: "That book is for grown-ups, isn't it?". And it is. You could certainly read it with your kids, especially if you have read any of the included Little Golden Books together. But where I think it would be best-received would be as a stocking stuffer for Grandma, or anyone else old enough to cherish fond memories of the Little Golden Books of the 1950s.
Publisher: Golden Books (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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