Whether you’re looking for a book to give as a gift, a story to share with your children or students, or a tale to curl up within a quiet moment, these ten titles will be sure to write – and sing! – some horse-drawn happiness into your holidays.
- 1 Jingle Bells, by Eren Blanquet Unten
- 2 A Horse for Hanukkah, by Myriam Halberstam, illustrated by Nancy Cote
- 3 A Little House Christmas: Holiday Stories from the Little House Books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- 4 The Saddle Club #13: Starlight Christmas, by Bonnie Bryant:
- 5 The Hearts of Horses, by Molly Gloss
- 6 David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
- 7 Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
- 8 Snowflake, by Suzanne Weyn
- 9 Calico the Wonder Horse, or The Saga of Stewy Stinker, by Virginia Lee Burton
- 10 Ernest’s Special Christmas, by Laura Barnes, illustrated by Carol Camburn
- 11 Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee
Jingle Bells, by Eren Blanquet Unten
✅ Best Pop-up Holiday Song Book
Wonderfully charming! – This is just the cutest book ever! The pop-ups are clever, and Eren Unten’s illustrations are stunning. She has created a wonderland of vibrant colors and adorable children that you will just fall in love with! Simply Wonderful!
(Kids) Teach your young horse-lovers how to sing Jingle Bells with this dazzling pop-up book! The text is simply the first two verses of the song, but the intricate and ingenious pop-up illustrations – most of which star a merry and spirited horse – will whirl young and young-at-heart carolers into the exhilarating fun of the song’s sleigh ride.
A Horse for Hanukkah, by Myriam Halberstam, illustrated by Nancy Cote
✅ Best Horse Story Book
About A Horse for Hanukkah – In A Horse for Hanukkah, by Myriam Halberstam, Hannah miraculously gets the horse she has always wanted as a gift for Hanukkah. But the challenges of living with a horse in a cramped apartment soon become apparent, and small whimsical episodes of chaos quickly ensue. Latkes, menorahs and dreidels all become a part of the mess, and the family’s Hanukkah celebration is soon in turmoil.
(Kids) Hannah’s wish finally comes true: her parents give her a horse for Hanukkah. The horse, Golda, is sweet and curious, lives in their apartment, and even speaks Hebrew. But when Golda starts causing horse-sized trouble during the family’s celebration, Hannah wonders if her wish might have brought her more than she bargained for! A delightful romp with dreamlike illustrations, this is a book that belongs on every wish list. Special order A Horse for Hanukkah from its German publisher, Ariella Books, and look for it in US bookstores.
A Little House Christmas: Holiday Stories from the Little House Books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
✅ Best Holiday Stories
Wonderful memories ❣️ – You love the Little House books, so having all the Christmas stories in one place is wonderful. A word of warning, though — there are some complex explanations of Santa Claus in the Plum Creek chapter that had to gloss over because not ready for the big reveal yet. just changed some words and got through it. But You loves these stories, and they feel so Christmasy!
(Kids) Celebrate Christmas on the prairie with the Ingalls family! This book includes eight heartwarming stories and songs about Christmas on the American frontier, but horse-lovers will be drawn to two stories in particular. In Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus, Laura and Mary learn that Santa sometimes drives a pack mule and wagon – and that he sometimes needs help bringing Christmas to every family, too. In The Christmas Horses, Pa’s dream of getting a new team of horses can only come true if, as Ma says, “We all wish for horses and nothing but horses.” Will Laura and Mary set aside their Christmas lists and wish for horses for Pa? This read-aloud edition beautifully unfurls the stories; older children can also read the tales themselves in the chapter book version, Christmas Stories.
The Saddle Club #13: Starlight Christmas, by Bonnie Bryant:
✅ Best Holiday Horse Book
A great christmas book for horse lovers! – Carole Hanson is feeling down and not in the holiday mood because of memories of her mother who passed away from cancer. But her friends and father are planning a surprise, one that’s probably the biggest one she’s ever had. Plus, the girls will get to go on the Starlight Ride, a nightime Christmas Eve tradition at Pine Hollow. Little does Carole know what’s in store for her at the end of it.
(Kids) It wouldn’t be the holidays for The Saddle Club trio – 12-year-old Carole Hanson and Stevie Lake, and 13-year-old Lisa Atwood – without a sleigh-full of pratfalls and surprises. In Starlight Christmas, Carole’s dad enlists Stevie and Lisa’s help in finding the perfect Christmas gift for Carole: a horse of her own. But the girls have to keep the gift a secret, too, which isn’t easy, since Carole is working with the local veterinarian at the horse’s barn. Meanwhile, the girls aren’t the only ones who are planning a surprise: the club’s foe, the spoiled Veronica diAngelo, is trying to trick the girls and their friends, Phil and A.J., into missing Pine Hollow Stables’ beloved annual holiday event, the Starlight Ride. Starlight Christmas is a merry, lively read that celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, and if your favorite horse-lover isn’t yet a card-carrying, saddle-toting member of The Saddle Club, it’s an inviting introduction to the rest of the 100-book series.
The Hearts of Horses, by Molly Gloss
✅ Best Christmas Day Horse Book
Well written and good character development. – Your book Club really enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read and the story was well researched for the time, area, the horses and how the main character worked with each horse and engaged with their owners.
(Teens, Adults) Fall in love this holiday season with The Hearts of Horses! Leaving behind her troubled past, nineteen-year-old Martha Lessen sets out to become a “footloose” gentler and trainer of horses for the ranchers and homesteaders of eastern Oregon, but finds among them a community, a home, and love that lasts. Gloss tells Martha’s story with the fierce and sweeping beauty, honesty, and detail of an epic Western, and weaves into it the challenges, changes, and profound losses both people and the nation faced during the World War I era. Poignant without being sentimental, honest without losing hope, reading The Hearts of Horses is the kind of experience that, as one of the characters says, “just [goes] right down into my heart to shake it awake.” Holiday readers may make a timely connection, sharing a holiday season with Martha and the ranchers, and seeing Martha’s world from horseback as she “rides the circle” of ranches on Christmas Day.
David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens
✅ Best Charles Dickens Christmas Book
MAGNIFICENT, A CLASSIC BOOK WHICH WILL LIVE FOREVER!! – This could be the height or the depth of Dickens’ art. It is up to you.
David Copperfield is such an empty vessel, such s pliable lump of clay. How could anyone take interest in him? But if you watch closely, you will see that he gathers shape from the honest and good hearted around him and seems unaffected by the cruel and heartless people around him. As he grows, he becomes more worthy and more a magnet to the honest and. good hearted. As he becomes more worthy, his story becomes more profound and insightful, if you can see it. Is Dickens a moldy 18th century relic or a mirror to wholeness and richness in your life? It is more up to you than to Dickens.
(Teens, Adults) Once you’ve finished reading A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ story of miserly Ebenezer Scrooge’s encounter with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, be sure to pick up another of his masterpieces, David Copperfield. Beginning with the now-famous line, “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show,” Dickens’ narrator, David “Trot” Copperfield tells the story of the friendships and betrayals, the bright ideals and harsh realities, and the acts of love and vengeance that shaped his life. The book includes lavishly written holiday scenes and takes place in the riotously horsey world of Britain in the early 19th century. Go ahead and “Trot” right into these books any time – A Christmas Carol and David Copperfield are available in print editions and as free downloads at Project Gutenberg.
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
✅ Best Little Women Original Illustrations
What a great book! – The jewel of this version is that includes the original prints or drawings made for the book. It’s very pleasant to read a book that has illustrations, most novels don’t have them anymore. It’s fun to see how the illustrator envisioned the characters and their activities 150 years ago.
(Kids, Teens, Adults) With their father away serving as a chaplain in the Union Army during the Civil War, the four March family sisters – diligent Meg, feisty Jo, artistic Amy, and gentle Beth – and their mother must struggle against poverty, society’s expectations, and, at times, their own changing natures to achieve their dreams. The story opens with the March family’s Christmas, and later introduces Alcott’s unforgettable horses: Ellen Tree, Laurie the “centaur”, and Jo’s Arabians, stabled in her castle. A classic since its first publication in 1868, Little Women is available today in print editions for children and adults and as a free download from Project Gutenberg!
Snowflake, by Suzanne Weyn
✅ Best Winter Story Book
Cute winter story – Awesome book and awesome series. Great condition. Speedy delivery. Sweet story of an abandoned horse. Perfect length for starting chapter books for Your Child.
(Kids) In this Breyer Stablemates step-up reader, best friends Emily, Anna, and Mandy welcome a rescued Percheron, whom they name Snowflake, to Fox Creek Farm. The three girls feed, groom, and care for Snowflake, and when they discover that none of the farm’s winter blankets will fit him, they decide to raise money to buy the horse a blanket of his own. Finding an old sleigh in the barn and discovering that Snowflake knows how to pull it, the girls, the farm owners, and Snowflake offer one-horse-open-sleigh rides, raising enough money to buy Snowflake’s blanket and to build him a run-in shed. Cheerful watercolors illustrate this inspiring story and a closing page with facts about Percherons will encourage readers to continue learning more about horses and horse care.
Calico the Wonder Horse, or The Saga of Stewy Stinker, by Virginia Lee Burton
✅ Best Christmas Comic Book
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Calico – One of the all-time great kids books. A “comic book” with wonderful illustrations and colored pages to add interest. A great story which stays with one–Stewy Stinker as the bad guy. How can one forget that? Recommend it for any kid who has a passing fancy for cowboys or horses, or just a good story.
(Kids) When Stewy Stinker and his Badlands gang hold up Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, it’s up to Calico the Wonder Horse, “the smartest, fastest horse in all of Cactus County,” and her cowboy, Hank, to save Christmas and bring the villains to justice. Caldecott Medal winning author Virginia Lee Burton’s witty Western dialogue and captivating comic-book format will make this tall tale a bullseye with any young audience!
Ernest’s Special Christmas, by Laura Barnes, illustrated by Carol Camburn
✅ Best Christmas Book
Ernest’s Special Christmas – This is the most precious story about friends and how they look out for each other. All the Ernest books have a great message for kids and beautiful illustrations. A very special Christmas story about friendship. When you feel too old, too tired, friends give the gift of knowing just how special each of us is.
(Kids, Teens, Adults) During a snowstorm on Christmas Eve, the miniature donkey, Ernest, notices that all of the animals are in the barn except his friend, the old draft horse, Chester. Ernest goes out to search for Chester and finds the horse lying almost buried in the snow, too weak and too tired to stand. Ernest is neither large enough nor strong enough to help Chester alone, but with the help of all of the animals in the barnyard – the cows, the horses, the donkeys, and even the birds – they are able to raise the big horse onto his feet again. The story, which Barnes closes with the lines, “With love and determination they had helped their friend. …This was the best gift of all,” captures the true spirit of the holiday season: selfless, compassionate, and joyful in fellowship. Camburn’s heart-breakingly sweet watercolor illustrations bring such life and expression to the characters that readers of all ages will find themselves reaching out to help the animals – and reaching out to read Ernest’s Special Christmas again and again for years to come.
Jingle-Jingle by Nicola Smee
And a bonus book: Your horse will love this book as much as you and your family will! In Jingle-Jingle, Mr. Horse invites Cat, Dog, Pig, and Duck to ride in his sleigh – but when he jumps in himself, he also discovers how much fun a sleigh ride with friends can be. A hilarious, playful, and friendly story with huggably adorable illustrations, this book is perfect for your young horse-lover’s first or second jingle bell season, though it will brighten and cheer the spirits of anyone – human or equine – who reads it.
✅ Best Winter Time Book
Snowy storytelling fun – One of favourite winter storytime books, Imwas was to see this go out of print – and happy to be able to get a copy from Book Outlet.
Looking for more horse-themed books, music, and movies for the holidays? Give these titles a whirl!
* And Winter Came (album), by Enya* Jingle Bells (books, music, and history), by James Lord Pierpont and various artists* The Magical Christmas Horse (children’s book), by Mary Higgins Clark* Olive, the Other Reindeer (children’s book – about a Jack Russell who thinks she’s a reindeer), by Vivian Walsh* Out Stealing Horses (novel), by Per Petterson* Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (song), by Robert May* Sleigh Ride (song), by Leroy Anderson
* Stubby Pringle’s Christmas (kids’ novel), by Jack Schaefer* Twas the Night Before Christmas (poem, book, song, and movie), by Clement Moore and various artists* Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin* Winter Wonderland (song), by Richard Smith and various artists
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