cover image The Christmas Book Flood

The Christmas Book Flood

Emily Kilgore, illus. by Kitty Moss. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-374-38899-7

“People gift books/ as a sign of love,/ of hope, during a dark time of year.” Based around the Icelandic tradition of Jólabóka-flóðið, this picture book imagines a season in which people prepare to give books on Christmas Eve, and then read them the whole night through. Multitextured, collage-style spreads by Moss lean toward velvety evening hues as “darkness blankets the land,” the aurora borealis swirling in the background. Amid a town’s inhabitants, portrayed with varying skin tones, a brown-skinned child sporting a ladybug backpack also searches among the flood of new “stories to get lost in,/ to laugh at,/ to share.” Attentive to timing (“Just hours remain!”), Kilgore builds excitement to Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, owls and other creatures lend a fanciful feel to the spreads, which alternate between wintry outdoor landscapes and cozy interiors. An atmospheric celebration of Christmas as a time to celebrate the written word. An author’s note contextualizes Jólabókaflóðið. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)