So if you love both books and animals, check out Animal Scene’s recommended reading for the holidays! (PS: They make great gifts too!)

For the kids—and the young at heart!

1.) The Animals’ Christmas Eve: It’s the story of the Nativity, but instead of the usual tale, you get the animals’ perspective of what really happened. (Little Golden Book)

2.) Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson: A bear struggles to keep from hibernating through winter, just so he can have a happy Christmas with his friends. He receives a reward from a plump, red-suited gentleman. (Margaret K. McElderry Books)   

3.) Richard Scarry’s The Animals’ Merry Christmas: This collects Scarry’s Christmas stories, full of animal stories and poems like “Terrible Teddy Bear,” “The Goose That Stuffed Herself,” and the elephants Trumpet and Clarinda in “A Very Big Christmas.” (Little Golden Books (Random House)

4.) Llama Llama Jingle Bells by Anna Dewdney: Llamas celebrate Christmas too! From the Llama Llama series of books, Dewdney fires up young imaginations with rhymes, songs and cookies! (Viking Books for Young Readers) 

5.) The Christmas Owl by Angela Muse: In this tale, an injured owl must ask for the kindness of others. On Christmas Eve, he comes back with gifts of his own. (4EYESBOOKS)

6.) A Christmas Surprise (Magic Kitten Book 4) by Sue Bentley: In this book from Bentley’s Magic Kitten series, white kitten Flame helps her human, little Molly, stay out of trouble. (Grosset and Dunlap) 

7.) The Kingdom of Christmas: The Guardian of the Mountains by The Snow Spirit: Here’s one for older kids! The Kingdom of Christmas is full of forests and caves, and a prince and a princess, and two very familiar reindeer. Take a look at thesnowspirit.com for a peek at the colorful characters. (Cameron Smith Publishing) 

8.) Humphrey’s First Christmas by Carol Heyer: What was the Christmas story like from the point of view of the camels who carried the Wise Men? (Ideals Children’s Books) 

9.) The Christmas Wish: In this Nordic tale, a girl named Anja finds her way to Santa with the help of various animals, including a bird, a polar bear, and a reindeer. (Random House Books for Young Readers)

10.) Charlie and the Christmas Kitty by Ree Drummond: Here, Charlie the Ranch Dog makes a new friend—a cat! A chipmunk makes an appearance too. (HarperCollins)

History

1.) The Origins of Christmas by Joseph F. Kelly Ph.D.: How did the ox and the ass end up in the nativity scene? This book looks at how such traditions and narratives got started in the first place. (Liturgical Press) 

2.) The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Matthews: Did you ever wonder about the twelve days of Christmas? Here, the history of such Christmas songs and rituals are finally explained! (Quest Books)

Mystery, comedy, and romance

1.) A Lonely Dog on Christmas by Patrick Yearly: In this quick and entertaining read, a family bulldog named Beckham feels ignored during the season. (Patrick Yearly)

2.) Melanie Travis Mystery Books by Laurien Berenson: Melanie Travis has poodles to watch over and murders to solve. In “The Bark Before Christmas,” a prize show dog goes missing and Santa Claus turns up dead! “A Christmas Howl” tells the story of Melanie and her partnerin-crime-solving, Aunt Peg Turnbull. And “Jingle Bell Bark” has Melanie searching for a missing school bus driver. (Kensington)

3.) The Cat of Christmas Past, a Whales And Tails Mystery by Kathi Daley: Whales And Tails is a series of mystery books set on fictional Madrona Island near Washington State, in which protagonist Cait helps her aunt run Harthaven Cat Sanctuary. And one Christmas, Cait has to help save an old building—with the help of a cat named Ebenezer. (Amazon Digital Services)

4.) The Cricket on the Hearth, Charles Dickens: Charles Dickens’ bestknown Christmas story is “A Christmas Carol.” But animal lovers will enjoy this little tale about John Peerybingle, his wife Dot, and the cricket that serves as their guardian angel.

5.) Christmas Pets and Kisses: 16 Sweet Christmas Romances: This one is all about pets! From dogs of different breeds and a ferret, to lovebirds and goldfish, from kittens to horses, this series will make you fall in love. (Prairie Rapids Press)

Book cover photos courtesy of http://www.amazon.com

 This story appeared in Animal Scene’s December 2015 issue.