Walk through the front doors of Red Canoe Children’s Bookstore and Cafe in Lauraville and you’ll feel like you’re walking into your favorite neighbor’s house. Cozy and inviting, the smell of Zeke’s Coffee and the soup of the day greets you.
While the food and coffee are delicious, the collection of unique children’s picture books is downright stunning. It’s carefully curated by Josie Rhodes who says selecting the books is by far her favorite part of the business.
She shared the 5 fabulous picture books great for kids 4-8.
5 Cozy Reads for Winter Break by Josie Rhodes
Tea Party in the Woods by Akiko Miyakoshi
This book is part charm, part whimsy, and so darling. It is a child’s imagination realized. Kikko sets out to bring a pie to her grandma. She stumbles upon a strange house in the woods and the inhabitants inside invite her in for a tea party! The story is illustrated with charcoal drawings containing only pops of primary colors, red and yellow, making it the perfect read on a snowy winter day.
Hello Mr. Cold by Carles Porta
Hello Mister Cold is the second book in the Hidden Valley Series. Originally written in Spanish, this wintertime tale follows Maximilian Cold, “child of the richest…coldest family in town.” The snowy setting makes it a perfect winter read but more than that, this tale highlights the old adage that things are not always what they seem. A series of events unites Max, Yula, and a ballerina with the head of an onion, aptly named Onion-head. The townsfolk believe that Max is a horrible monster who has kidnapped Yula. In the end, they discover that he is just a person looking for a new place to call home.
Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messners
Over and Under the Snow captures the tranquility of a woodland winter wonderland while at the same time exposing young readers to the more scientific elements such as the subnivean zone, “a network of small open spaces and tunnels between the snowpack and the ground.” Lyrical words partnered with retro illustrations make this picture book a lovely addition to any home library. Bonus – at the back of the book is an index of the animals showcased and options for further reading.
Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Ursula K. Le Guin
This tender Christmas-themed book emphasizes the special relationship between a child and her grandfather. Mia is so excited to mail her grandpa a special holiday card but it’s too late. The card will not arrive before Christmas. Disappointed Mia finds a magical portal that whisks her over far off lands on a reindeer directly to her grandpa. The illustrations are bright and saturated, encapsulating the heart of the holiday. This one is certain to spark the curiosity of every reader.
Pick a Pine Tree by Patricia Toht, Illustrated by Jarvis
Tradition. This picture book has the re-readability of the Night Before Christmas as it gives special prominence to the time honored custom of picking out the perfect pine tree that embodies the spirit of Christmas. It takes the reader on a complete journey from picking the pine tree, to stringing the lights, to hangig the ornaments, to laying the tree skirt, until “it’s not a pine tree anymore. It’s a Christmas Tree!” Partnered with perfectly cheery and rich illustrations, this is the perfect read before going out to pick a pine tree.
Photos by Laura Black.