My Big Christmas Book


Here's an odd little book for you.  Of course, it isn't little at all.  As the name implies, this is a big book. Just look at the contents.


My Big Christmas Book is by Hayden McAllister and was published by Peter Haddock, Ltd. in 1983.  And that, my friends, is all the book has to say.  No illustrator credit is given, although the illustrations clearly look to be in a style more popular in the '60s and '70s than in the '80s.  I played with Google, checking every sale listing and blog post I could find about the book.  There were actually quite a few, as this seems to be a childhood favorite of many.  (Mine is a recent acquisition.)  Finally, I found a post about the book over at Danielle Thompson's awesome blog, and she said the illustrations are by a German artist named Gisela Gottschlich.  I'm not sure how she found that out, but Google image search did pull up some very similar illustrations, including this one, which is a story in this book!

The book is full of poems, stories, songs, recipes, and craft projects.  The final section of the book is an Advent story, with songs and crafts interspersed throughout.  If I have a complaint about the book, it is that it clearly lacks diversity, despite the fact it came out in the 1980s.  There is one person of color in the whole book, and she is a craft project.  A-hem.

However, the illustrations are charming and the crafts and recipes are quaint and sweet, the one I mentioned above aside.














I do wonder if there wasn't a second illustrator that was "borrowed" from for this book.  The sixth illustration down has a different look, for example.  Who knows?!  If anyone knows anything more about this book, let me know.  I'm curious.

Comments

  1. um, WOW! this is amazing. and I need those cornflake crispy things! this is breathtaking!

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    1. There are some other recipes and crafts, but some took up more than one page. ;) We're reading the Advent story at bedtime. It's pretty cheesy, but the pictures are pretty!

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  2. This book is eye candy! I really want one now! Not to be controversial but maybe the illustrator did not grow up with kids of different countries? I know when I grew up, there was basically nobody of a different background in my neighborhood and that's just the way it was. Everybody had one religion and had the exact same culture. It got more diversified in the late 80s and that's really not that long ago.

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    1. That occurred to me, too, and the illustrations seem older than the '80s. It was the one craft project, a very native-looking doll, that I found a bit questionable. It's the sort of thing they probably would have left out of the book today.

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    2. I don't know why I brought it up - most vintage books feature white characters, and many modern books lack diversity as well. It was the craft project that stood out. It wasn't meant to be offensive, it just stuck out since it was the only person of color in the whole book! ;)

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    3. I understand you. I thought about that as I noticed the same too with vintage books.

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    4. You know what Danzel? I just bought the book :) I could only get a used copy but I don't mind and now I can't wait to get the book :D

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    5. Oh, awesome! Yes, I'm sure it's been out of print for years. It's a visual treat! I want to try some of the crafts, too. :)

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  3. Adorable little faces! This book is wonderful, pure prettiness :)

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    1. The children in the illustrations are wonderful! They remind me of old greeting card illustrations.

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  4. Oh my heavens!!! This is so sweet! The illustrations! The nostalgia! I love that nativity scene. gosh, you always get your hands and the most wonderful stuff. xoxo

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    1. It's a cute book! I would love to frame pictures like this around the house for the holidays! :)

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  5. I had this book as a child and have been searching for it for the last ten years! I didn't know the name nor author, I only remembered the pictures and general feel of the book. I have searched every Christmas for it, for the last about ten years. Today, I started doing my usual google searches I try and I found it! I actually found it via a lady in The Netherlands selling pages as vintage prints (from the 1960's FYI) and I emailed her to ask the name of the book. She replied instantly and I now have the American edition (as there is a German edition too I believe) on order from Amazon for £0.01.

    I am genuinely excited and am so so happy to have found what was my all time favourite Christmas book when I was little. It is beautiful!!! xx

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    1. Oh, that's a lovely story! I'm so glad you found it. I love finding treasures from childhood, especially ones you really have to hunt down. I even have a feature about that sort of thing ("Obsessive Nostalgia Disorder Monday"). I hope it's everything you remember it to be. Merry Christmas! :)

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  6. Hello, I found this post searching for illustrations by Gisela Gottschlich...I don't know if you're still interested in information about this book, I have the Italian edition (the story of Muffit the angel is not included, though)! Credits 1985, Lito Editrice, Milano, for italian translation, original copyright 1977, Pestalozzi-Verlag D 8520 Erlangen...
    Illustrations by F. Kuhn, G. Gottschlich, B. Breuer-Weber, G. Mauser-Lichtl, E. Turr, J. Bakte-Koller, A. Kolnberger
    Hope it could be useful!

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    1. Thank you so much! Especially the illustrator info. It makes sense that there are multiple illustrators, as the style does vary from picture to picture.

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