It’s no surprise so many of Jan Brett’s gorgeous, intricately illustrated picture books for children tell stories of winter. This celebrated, bestselling author and illustrator lives in Massachusetts, where winters are long and snowy.
Brett has over 39 million books in print, and captures the hearts of each new generation with her sumptuous and sweet books. The cover art hints at the beauty found inside each of these; be sure to use the Look Inside! feature where available on each book’s product page to see more of the lovely main illustrations and border details.
Here’s a selection that should keep the little ones fascinated from now till New Year’s.
Little Teeka thought she had to be firm with the reindeer to get them ready for Santa’s important flight, but when her bossy yelling only got their antlers tangled up, she knew she had to try something different.
“Beautifully conceived and finely wrought.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Brett’s precise, glowing illustrations, drawing on Swedish folk art, make this a beguiling Advent calendar of a book.” — Kirkus Reviews”
“A sweet Christmas fantasy that shows Brett at her best.” — Publishers Weekly
“This tale with its humorous close-ups of stubborn reindeer and a sharp child protagonist should prove popular at story hours.” — School Library Journal
A centuries-old favorite holiday carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was one of the first to celebrate the secular tradition of gift-giving.
This sumptuously illustrated version features not only the gifts of a suitor to his true love but a loving family’s Christmas preparations, how to say “Merry Christmas” in 12 different languages, and a vast array of charming woodland animals.
One Amazon reviewer says:
“Home for Christmas tells the story of a naughty troll who doesn’t want to do his chores.
After a brief visit to some other families (owls,otters, moose, and bears), he learns that his family was pretty great after all!
When he learns his lesson and loses his tail, something that happens to all GOOD, helpful little trolls, he joins his family for a lavish Christmas celebration that is beautifully illustrated with Brett’s trademark detail.”
The Publishers Weekly #1 bestseller, Jan Brett’s heartwarming story of Hedgie the hedgehog’s misadventures has become a family favorite. Like its companion The Mitten, The Hat is now available as a wonderful board book to share with young children.
“Brett’s signature art introduces animal characters as endearing and expressive as those who congregated in her earlier book’s expandable white mitten.” —Publishers Weekly
“A clever and appealing picture book. . . . The pictures, story, and subject matter make this a natural for sharing aloud.” —School Library Journal
Aloo-ki glances up from fishing and sees her sled dogs floating off on an ice floe. She races after them and comes upon an igloo. Being a curious girl, she goes inside only to find no one home. That’s because the polar bear family who lives there is out walking while their breakfast cools off.
Aloo-ki eats some soup, tries on their boots, and finally crawls into the smallest bed for a nap. Meanwhile, Papa, Mama, and Baby Bear see her dogs adrift, swim out to rescue them and return home to find Aloo-ki fast asleep in Baby Bear’s bed. Jan traveled to the far North to meet the Inuit people and see the amazing land where they live.
Dramatic illustrations capture the shimmering ice, snow and deep blue seas of the Arctic, and when Jan adds a raven-haired Inuit girl and her appealing huskies, an endearing family of polar bears, and playful Arctic animals in the borders, the result is one of her most beautiful picture books. The decorative Inuit patterns and clothing Jan uses throughout are sure to attract adult fans and collectors while children will want to listen to and look at this exciting version of a well-loved story over and over again.
Jan Brett’s highly original version of the Gingerbread Boy story has quickly become a family classic.
One Amazon reviewer says:
“Jan Brett has done it again with her latest book. Her detailed, distinctive style is immediately recognizable to those who admire her work. The Gingerbread Baby is a new twist on an old tale. The naughty baby runs away with a host of people and animals chasing him. The pattern of the story makes it a joy for children to read and act out. Jan adds her own special ending which will be a delight to children and adults alike.”
That popular little character is back looking for friends, in an adventure he’ll never forget. Confident and cocky, the Gingerbread Baby happens upon a bakery, where he dances and prances in front of a sugar cookie girl, trying to make friends.
But she just stares and doesn’t say a word, like all the other sweet treats he tries to meet. Discouraged, the Gingerbread Baby runs home, chased by a long line of hungry creatures, where Mattie has a fantastic surprise for him: gingerbread friends.
Irresistible images inside the confectionery and outside in the snowy Swiss countryside will delight Jan Brett fans.
Jan Brett sets her Cinderella story in a snowy Russian winter where one magical night, Cinders, the most picked upon hen in the flock, becomes the most loved by Prince Cockerel when she arrives at his ball looking so beautiful that even her bossy sisters don’t recognize her.
Jan travelled to Russia and readers will be in awe of the Ice Palace aglow under a deep blue moonlit sky, exquisite ball gowns on the comely pullets, uniforms with gold braids and buttons on the cockerels, striking Russian architecture transformed into ice in the borders, and a very funny flock of chickens who provide an appealing, original look at this snowy Cinderella.
Readers will find these dressed up chickens comical as they pour over the extravagant setting, including a “WOW”-inducing double gatefold of chicken couples whirling around the ballroom. A feast for the eyes sure to become a perennial favorite.
The Mitten (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $7.99)
One Amazon reviewer says:
“As a kindergarten teacher, I am always on the lookout for ways to encorporate literature into my everyday lessons. Jan Brett’s The Mitten is a must for the first day of winter.
The children love the illustrations and guessing how many animals will fit into the mitten. They “read” the book to each other long after the lesson is over.
…The Mitten is a delightful story with predictability and loveable animal characters.”
Jan Brett’s exquisite interpretation of “The Night Before Christmas” has been a holiday classic since it was first published in 1998. Not only will readers delight in watching St. Nick delivering his presents to the family, but they will love the addition to two elf stowaways from the North Pole, creating mischief and mayhem under a brilliant midnight sky.
Jan Brett captures the essense of the Christmas spirit in her beautiful, vibrant illustrations.
“Another holiday keepsake from a master.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review