Friday, December 7, 2012

First Line Friday No. 17

Today I'll be doing things a little differently...we're going to be talking about CHRISTMAS books!

One of my favorite holiday memories is getting a huge stack of books from the library and carefully selecting one each night for my mom to read.  We'd all snuggle onto the couch (or the floor by the tree), beg my dad for a fire and listen to Mom read before she got too sleepy and started yawning.

My favorite Christmas books had to be special.  They had to be beautiful in both word AND illustration and they had to mean something BIG. 

Here, then, are some of my favorite Christmas stories, and their first lines.  Enjoy.

1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (words & pictures)

"On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed.  I did not rustle the sheets.  I breathed slowly and silently.  I was listening for a sound -- a sound a friend had told me I'd never hear -- the ringing bells of Santa's sleigh."

Can you hear the magic in those words, especially the last line?  It takes my breath away.

2.  The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston (words) and Barbara Cooney (pictures)

"It was getting toward Christmas in the valley of Pine Grove.  The wise folk said the old woman in the sky was picking her geese, for the Appalachian mountains were blanketed with snow.  The road wound like white ribbons around the misty blue ridges, tracked by the runners of wagons, sleds, and sleighs.  Occasionally an auty-mobile chugged its way through the silence.  Across the ocean the Great War raged, but in the valley all was peace.

It was getting on toward the Christmas that Ruthie would never forget.  The Christmas when the village almost did not have a Christmas tree.  It happened this way.  Ruthie told me so."

I love the tone of this story -- it's so rustic and simple and sweet.

3.  Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble (words & pictures)

This one was apparently out-of-print so I can't find the first few lines.  :(

4.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

"Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot, but the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!"

I love the Grinch.  :3

What are your favorite Christmas stories?  Tell me in the comments!

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