Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An advent calendar of sorts

The holidays are upon us, a time of family, giving, quiet reflection and ... the shameless Hollywood exploitation of picture books. Quick, clear your mind of images of Mike Myers' Cat or Jim Carrey's Grinch; you'll only soil the grey matter. Instead I offer you a YouTube-inspired Advent Calendar for you and all the young children you happen to know.

These animated picture book adaptations are fun and sophisticated. What's more, they are true to the original text. Most were developed by Weston Woods Studios and many are available through the Scholastic Video Collection which I strongly encourage you to buy.* A goodly number were produced in the great Czech animation studio under the direction of Gene Deitch. Enjoy one a day until Christmas or save them for a slow January Saturday. Oh, and don't forget to pick up each of these classic picture books the next time you're at your local library.

December 1st
Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins, 1968

December 2nd
Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, 1969

December 3rd
The Foolish Frog by Pete Seeger from Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book, 2000; also published on its own in 1973.

December 4rth
Changes, Changes by Pat Hutchins, 1971

December 5th
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, 1989

December 6th
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, 1947

December 7th
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, 1993

December 8th
Bill Martin Jr. reading his book Brown Bear, what do you see? published 1983

December 9th
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, 1960

December 10th
Dr. De Soto by William Steig, 1982

December 11th
Happy Birthday Moon by Frank Asch, 1984

December 12th
Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss, 1965

December 13th
There Was An old Lady by Simms Taback, 1997

December 14th
Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman, 2001

December 15th
The Zax by Dr. Seuss in The Sneetches and Other Stories, 1961

December 16th
Mercer Meyer telling his story There's An Alligator Under My Bed published 1987

December 17th
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight by Jane Yolen, 2000

December 18th
How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food by Jane Yolen, 2005

December 19th
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, 1963

December 20th
The Caterpillar and the Pollywog by Jack Kent, 1892

December 21st
Pete's A Pizza by William Steig, 1998

December 22nd
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, 1955

December 23rd
A Picture for Harold's Room by Crockett Johnson, 1955

December 24th
Harold's Fairy Tale by Crockett Johnson, 1956

Bonus holiday offer
These three Hans Christian Andersen adaptations used to appear on TV all the time in the 1970s. I remember them distinctly from my childhood. The subject matter is heavy, so make sure you watch them first before you decide whether or not to share them with a child.

The Selfish Giant

The Little Match Girl

The Happy Prince

And here's a final link that is definitely fun but I know it would frighten my four-year old. Slightly older kids will definitely enjoy the shivers.
What's Under my Bed? by James Stevenson, 1980

*Not a paid advertisement. The Scholastic Collection has far more videos than are linked to here.


  1. OH! I am so delighted to see this! How perfect for my kids! THANK YOU!

  2. Oh my god, I love you.
    The Weston Woods animations are SO good, and I am so delighted they have become available for home viewing in the last while - I have been slowly collecting them as they come available relatively cheaply through the Scholastic flyers.
    Am bookmarking this!

  3. Happy Birthday Moon brings back memories. Used to read that to Ben way back when.

  4. I must say, this is my kind of advent calendar! You have amazing taste in books:) Thank you for sharing these.

  5. Very cool! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thank your for taking the time to put this together. The Selfish Giant is one of my favorite fairy tales, so we had to stop and watch it already. I look forward to the rest.

  7. Thank you for this! What a wonderful gift. We'll enjoy this immensely.

  8. Trashy Town! A favorite forever!

  9. yeah! i can't wait til the kids get home so we can watch them.

    we love the scholastic videos. ethan loves trashy town.

  10. This is wonderful! Thank you! (I posted the link on my Facebook page.)

  11. Oh Sue - how absolutely wonderful of you! I am so excited to share these with the kids - so much better than the totally tasteless chocolate advent calendars. Thank you for all the time and thought - you will definitely be on Santa's "GOOD" list.

  12. This is wonderful! Thank you for finding and sharing all of these.

  13. Oh Sue -- OMG, how did I miss this? My feedreader seems to have dropped you but this is -- amazing and delightful and just so awesome that I'm out of superlatives. You rock!!

  14. We just got to this, just tonight (I had it bookmarked) and my kids loved the few that we watched. They can't wait to do more tomorrow. Thanks for compiling this list, it is so much fun!


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