I recently read a delightful Christmas chapter book to my grandchildren: How Winston Delivered Christmas by Alex T. Smith. It is an advent Christmas book with colorful illustrations on almost every page. What makes this book unique is it has 24 1/2 short chapters with instructions for fun Christmas crafts and activities mixed in.
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What is an advent Christmas book?
It is a Christmas book you read every day starting on December 1 and finish on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. It is a fun way to countdown to Christmas. There are a variety of advent books available. I wasn’t familiar with this type of a Christmas chapter book until I discovered How Winston Delivered Christmas.
Reading How Winston Delivered Christmas
I get most of my books from the library, but when I found this Winston book I knew I needed my own copy. It was very reasonably priced on amazon.com. Since I read to my grandkids 2 or 3 times a week it didn’t work to read it as an advent book. We read the book in three sessions that were about 30-40 minutes long. We spent part of our time chatting so I the total reading time was under 90 minutes.
A heavier, thicker, Christmas chapter book
How Winston Delivered Christmas is a heavier, thicker chapter book than I usually read-aloud online. The craft and activity pages make it longer, but it wasn’t too hard to hold it up to the computer for 30 or so minutes. The nice thing about reading a Christmas chapter book is you don’t have to make as many trips to the library to get Christmas picture books. You have to plan ahead and get your holiday books in advance. It simplified things this year to read an illustrated Christmas chapter book for part of our holiday reading.
Alex T. Smith is the illustrator as well as the author. His illustrations are fun, playful and colorful. There are illustrations on most of the pages. When I came to pages without pictures I held the book so my grandchildren could see Winston on the front cover of the book. Even the table of contents was creatively illustrated. I thought the ribbon bookmark was a nice touch and very handy for marking the last page we read.
Winston, a little mouse, finds a letter addressed to Santa that didn’t make it into the mailbox. It’s Christmas Eve so he immediately sets off to find Santa and give him the letter. He doesn’t want the child who wrote the letter to be disappointed on Christmas morning. He encounters many challenges along the way, but also meets some new friends who help on his quest. He accomplishes his mission and is rewarded with a very special Christmas gift of his own.
Crafts and Activities
There is an idea for a Christmas craft or activity after each chapter. I was hoping to do some of these activity with my grandkids when they came for Thanksgiving, but we ran out of time. Before my grandchildren came I made each of them a felt “Winston” mouse. When they were at our house I taught them how to do finger knitting so they could make their mouse a little scarf. (I have a lot of yarn and they love to do yarn crafts when they come to visit.)
How I made a felt Winston
I remember making mice out of hearts when I taught elementary school. So I looked online for some instructions. Here is a tutorial for some paper mice that were the inspiration for my felt ones. I used felt instead of construction paper, sewed it and added a little stuffing. I also embroidered the eyes and nose. It would be easy to add a little scarf from a piece of fabric to look like Winston’s. If you want to try finger knitting here is a video tutorial.
We enjoyed reading How Winston Delivered Christmas so much! I look forward to reading the sequel How Winston Came Home For Christmas next year. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family and get to share some fun Christmas books with your grandchildren.
Do you need more great books or fun read aloud ideas?
I have lots of books and great ideas to share with you here!
To help you get started I have a list of 15 great read-aloud picture books you can download for free.