These nine short folktales feature stories about traditional holidays celebrated from Czechoslovakia, Russia, France, the United States, and other parts of the world.
Long ago in a faraway place there lived two mothers. One, a humble peasant woman who struggled daily to provide for her children. And the other, a mother spider who also worked hard to care for her family. And although it would appear they were as different as night and day, these two mothers had more in common than would first seem. As the only holiday gift she can give her children, one cold Christmas Eve the peasant woman goes to the forest to get a tree, never noticing that someone has made a home among its branches. During the night, the mother spider spins webs decorating the tree, resulting in a Christmas that neither mother will ever forget. Based on an old Ukrainian story, Trinka Hakes Noble (The Orange Shoes) crafts an original heartwarming tale of the grace that can be found in the true spirit of Christmas. Trinka Hakes Noble's numerous picture books include The Scarlet Stockings Spy (IRA Teachers' Choice 2005), The Last Brother, The Orange Shoes (IRA Teachers' Choice 2008), and Apple Tree Christmas. Ms. Noble lives in northern New Jersey. Stephen Costanza attended the Philadelphia College of Art. His picture books are Mozart Finds a Melody, Noodle Man: The Pasta Superhero, and Ten Big Toes and a Prince's Nose. He lives in Belfast, Maine.
Around the world Santa Claus has many names. But in a deep, swampy bayou of Louisiana, he's known as Papa Nol. In such a hot and humid place, there can be no sleds or reindeer, so Papa Nol rides the river in a boat that's pulled by eight alligators, with a snowy white one named Nicollette in the lead. On this particular Christmas Eve, it's so foggy on the river that even Nicollette's magical glowing-green eyes may not be enough to guide Papa Nol. The alligators are tired, grumpy and bruised from banging into cypress trees, and Papa is desperate to get all the gifts to the little children. Well, "quicker than a snake shimmies down the river," the clever Cajun people come up with a solution that saves the day. A colorfully inventive Christmas tale, Papa Nol is a lesson in fast thinking, as well as a witty introduction to a part of America that's rich in folklore and legend.
Did you know that todays jolly Santa Claus was originally a Catholic bishop? Or that Santa Claus is connected to Saturn, an ancient Roman god? Or that in some places, Santa rides a camel? Christmas is a holiday of light and giving, and Santa Claus has become a traditional symbol for the seasons deepest meanings. Learn more about: Santa the Christ Child Christmas animals the Wise Men Christmas plants Christmas songs and cards. Across North America, Christmas is an occasion for love and joy and celebration. Discover the traditions and folklore that make this holiday so special.
Special days are times for fun and togetherness. They also link us to the Earths seasons, and they help us keep track of how time passes. Most of all, they are deeply rooted in folk tradition. Learn more about: the winter holidays, like Christmas and Hanukkah. spring celebrations like Easter and Asian New Years. fall festivals, like Halloween and the Day of the Dead. summer celebrations, like the Fourth of July. Holidays and festivals draw us together. They remind us of who we are, where we come from, and what we believe. As we travel through the year, folk festivals give us strength. And they make life more fun!
From Chinese New Year to the Fourth of July, readers will learn about various holidays around the world and the activities that make them so much fun. The connection to language arts is made through important vocabulary words that help describe the customs of different cultures and the holidays that accompany these customs.
In this clever twist on the Night Before Christmas story, a gingerbread boy cookie is carefully crafted and placed on a plate. He was made special to serve as Santa's nighttime snack, a homemade thank-you for all the presents he will deliver. The cookie wonders if he is brave enough to face up to his holiday duty. But instead of spending the evening contemplating his fate, the gingerbread boy finds himself facing two rambunctious puppies experiencing their very first Christmas. Their mischief includes a tug-of-war with presents, leaving a big mess. And it's up to the gingerbread boy to save the dayand Christmas!