On the first day of Christmas...

Jan Pienkowski.  

(I apologise for the lack of accent over the 'n'!)

I absolutely love Jan Pienkowski's artwork and have used it many times in class to inspire and motivate children. I could rave on about many of the books that he has illustrated, but will try to keep things Christmassy by focusing on the following three!

The First Christmas.

Using text selected from the King James Bible, this book tells the story of the nativity. The illustrations are beautiful; silhouettes against vivid backgrounds depicting different scenes from the story. Each spread is a work of art in itself and is printed on pearly paper which adds to the luxurious look and feel of the book as a whole. I have used the pictures to inspire children to create their own silhouettes on marbled backgrounds for Christmas cards. 

An excellent choice for sharing with a class- or at home.

Puffin   ISBN: 978-0141382746

The First Noel: A Christmas Carousel

Containing five, white cut-out scenes from the Christmas story, this is as much a decoration as a book! Children are always inspired when they see this, full of questions about how it's made and how it fits together. Stunning!

Walker Books ISBN:  978-0744557800

Nut Cracker (Told by David Walser)

A re-telling which really captures the essence of the story. This book is lavishly illustrated and decorated. Red and gold glitter on the cover while a delicate heart cut out in the centre shows the main characters silhouetted in white. Each page is vividly coloured and edged in silver until the final page which contains a multi-layered, paper cut tableau. Beautiful!

Puffin  ISBN: 978-0141384542