For me Mary Engelbreit and Christmas just go together. I picked up my love of this artist from my mom. She has liked her work for a long as I can remember and it was a tradition for us to get her a Mary Engelbreit calendar each year for her birthday. Which, incidentally is today. Happy birthday Mom!
So that brings in the Christmas part. But in looking around, there is LOT of Mary Engelbreit books that have to do with Christmas. Just Google her name + Christmas and you'll see what I mean. So for this post I have three mini-reviews of Christmas-y Mary Engelbreit books.
Believe: A Christmas Treasury
If I were an illustrator (which I'm totally not. Really. I can't even draw stick figures well) this would be the kind of book I would want to do. Believe is a collection of Christmas carols, poems, stories, and quotes that Mary Engelbreit picked out herself. Mostly it's poetry and carols, so it reads really quickly. Though this isn't necessarily a book you pick up and read straight through. There's more than enough things to read it as an advent style (one thing per night) or just read a couple pages every now and then. it's even got a handy ribbon bookmark to make that sort of thing easy. The one disappointing thing was that I wish the very few stories she has included had been more illustrated. They had a border around the outside but the huge blocks of text (no pictures) made them seem out of sync with the rest of the treasure. Other than that I have no complaints. In fact, this is the type of treasury I wish I had had at Christmas when I was a kid.
Shady Glade Rating: 9/10
Mary Engelbreit's A Merry Little Christmas: Celebrate from A to Z
If you've read Mary Engelbreit's version of The Night Before Christmas you're familiar with the character of Gregory Mouse. This book brings readers back to Gregory's mouse village to celebrate Christmas with a Seasonal Alphabet. Everything A if for Angel to Z is for the Zillion ways Christmas brings cheer. Each letter is presented in rhyming text and has accompanying illustrations. I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of alphabet books, but I did enjoy this one. There's plenty going on in each illustration to keep young eyes buys and the rhymes are cute. Perhaps not a shining star among picture books in general, but definitely among alphabet books as a group.
Shady Glade Rating: 8/10
A Very Mary Christmas: A Collection of Holiday Art
If you're looking for a book with mostly just art and no text, then this is the book for you. Here you'll find over 100 pages of Christmas/winter Mary Engelbreit art including a chapter on snow, one on Santa, and one on religious art. Some of my favorite Christmas prints are here and I've found a lot more that I love. I wish there had been an occasional artist commentary throughout the book, but maybe I'm just spoiled from other art books I have. I'm also not a fan of two page spreads in these types of books because the middle gets lost in the crevice of the binding. Other than that I have no complaints. This would be a great gift if you have someone on your list who is a Mary Engelbreit fan. It's a good sized book with lots of lots of her artwork. Plus the dust jacket has embossed snowflakes on it (you can't tell from the picture) that I really think add a little something to the presentation. Just remember it's pretty much about the art and nothing else.
Shady Glade Rating 9/10