First Snow
by Nancy Viau
illustrated by Talitha Shipman
Albert Whitman, 2018, $16.99

Celebrate the first snowflake with a read-aloud the whole family will enjoy. Short, jaunty verse and colorful pictures depict the frolics of a brother and sister through the season's first snow. Accompanied by their "frisky puppy" and neighborhood friends, they go sledding, make a "silly snowman" and finish with mugs of hot cocoa. Little ones will love looking for the dog in every double-page spread and seeking out the elusive cardinal, which functions, especially at the beginning and end, like a bright outdoor mascot. The infectious beat encourages clapping or toe-tapping to lines such as "Perky faces. Scrambling feet. Snowflakes falling! What a treat!"

ages 3 - 7

Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins
by Sue Fliess
illustrated by Mark Chambers
Two Lions, 2018, $17.99

When Santa gets sick, who takes his place on Christmas Eve? Mrs. Claus, of course! In a stylish green coat and goggles, she climbs onto the gift-laden sleigh and proves an unflappable match for the tornadoes, blizzards and sleet that almost blow her "off of her seat." Popular local author Sue Fliess tells a riveting, giggle-ripe story in rhyme, and Mark Chambers amps up the energy with playful artwork that features Rudolph with an entirely red muzzle and an exhausted Mrs. Claus, elves and reindeer catching 40 winks at the very end.

Light the Menorah!
by Jacqueline Jules
illustrated by Kristina Swarner
Kar-Ben, 2018, $18.99

Acclaimed author Jacqueline Jules creates a lovely Hanukkah guide that includes a poem for each of the eight nights, songs, stories and reflections. Kristina Swarner's gentle palette and blurred lines create a timeless soft focus to pictures of both contemporary and historic scenes, in keeping with the traditional nature of the text. Kids can help with preparations, thanks to easy-to-follow recipes for potato latkes and jelly doughnuts and step-by-step craft instructions for cardboard menorahs and dreidel decorations. Sure to be a treasured family favorite.