Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Oh, what fun it is to read
A two-book Disney treasury!
With the Christmas and holiday seasons fast approaching - its the perfect time to recommend another fabulous source of pure, unadulterated read aloud pleasure for your kids.
My latest find:
The Walt Disney's Donald Duck Christmas Treasury Gift Box Set!
Originally I bought this set and two others (but more about that later), to entice my little ones to read more on their own.
But, what did I know.
These Donald Duck treasuries are also perfect read aloud material!
In order to get them hooked, I thought - I'll just read one story from one of these luxurious treasuries during lunch time to my twins.
Maybe they will like it - and then they will pick them up.
But, boy was I wrong!
It was like magic.
My twins just went bananas about these comics and then didn't let me worm my way out.
I had to read all the stories ... it became our new lunchtime habit.
And my policy is - when the twins insist on a specific book for reading aloud - I have to say yes.
What's the big idea!?
I used to love comic books, and I love American comedy, and neither are afraid to tackle big themes.
Are these books just comics?
Wait ... wait my friends.
Let go of any preconception that you might have about reading aloud and comics.
|Lost in the Andes and Trail of the Unicorn|
gift box set
Plus, you sow the seed of future self-sustained reading!
Because kids get "infected" with the comic bug.
But let me rewind the film.
About a year ago, I discovered a group of excellent Disney treasuries celebrating Carl Barks and his amazing contribution to cartoon history.
Surfing through one of my favorite online bookstores (The Bookdepository) - which is globally renowned for its free book postage around the world - I learned that several years ago Fantagraphics partnered with Disney to start issuing two multi-volume series based on Disney's most beloved comics assets.
I learned that - and I did not know this before - Fantagraphics is a legendary American publisher of alternative comics and classic comic strip anthologies
The two companies agreed that Fantagraphics would publish - the complete Mickey Mouse comic strips by Floyd Gottfredson and the complete Disney works of legendary artist Carl Barks.
Well, that was enticing enough.
But then I saw that the editions were fantastic full-color hardcover editions and many of them were being offered in value-for-money gift/slip cases.
I remembered the hours upon hours that I spent reading Donald Duck comics as a boy - and how I loved to read and re-read them.
I purchased several of the two-edition treasuries that were published by Fantagraphics, a now legendary American publisher of alternative comics and classic comic strip anthologies.
The first two Walt Disney's Donald Duck Box double-issue treasuries that arrived into our home were:
a. Lost in the Andes and Trail of the Unicorn (Carl Barks Disney Library) edition and
b. the Uncle Scrooge And Donald Duck Gift Box Set (The Don Rosa Library)
Those two clinched the deal.
Wow, my kids could NOT get enough of these classical Donald Duck comics.
Whats-more, they were taking me back into my childhood.
The three of us were now like the Three Musketeers on a joint mission.
We started reading aloud these comics for lunch time day after day and it was such an unexpected hit that I knew there would have to be more.
|double page inside |
Christmas on Bear Mountain
The problem was that it was still August.
Four more months until Christmas!
I resisted for a few weeks ... but when September arrived, I could not resist any more.
I ordered what turned out the be probably the two best Christmas stories in comic format ever.
Oh boy, Oh boy, Oh boy...
Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling.
There was no mistake with this present.
Its a piece of history, packed in a modern wrapping.
|back cover of|
Christmas on Bear Mountain
This gift box is a time portal that will take your kids back to the pre-CGI era.
Yes, old comics still rule - and its because nothing can surpass hand drawings.
On top of that, these golden oldies are extremely well thought out and captivate young minds.
Vintage Donald Duck capers are also unique because the focus in these comics is on a strong story, not on special effects or computer graphics.
Today's world is full of disasters, of hate, shocking acts of violence, destruction.
Children need an escape from this horrible reality created by grown-ups.
A beautiful alternative reality for their gentle souls.
And we need to provide it.
All Fantagraphics Disney editions are all amazing, but this one I am recommending to you is special, truly special.
It is like a window into the past, yet it also has the innocence of a freshly drawn comic.
What is so special about the gift box?
First of all - we are talking about practically 400 pages of full-page Disney comics in color!
Second, it comes in a sturdy and attractive gift-box that will look fabulous on any bookshelf.
Third, this is a double-book hardcover edition that will make any kid jump with joy as it contains a double-whammy of the best in Christmas comic stories.
The first book, Christmas on Bear Mountain, contains 17 different Donald Duck comics- ranging from short affairs that are just one page long, such as "Fashion in Flight", to the 20+ page comic stories like "Christmas on Bear Mountain".
The story was created in 1947 when Carl Barks was asked to develop a Christmas themed comic with Donald and his nephews (and arch-rivals) Huey, Dewey and Louie.
Uncle Scrooge was not introduced by chance, as Carl Barks was drawing inspiration from the famous Charles Dickens novel A Christmas Carol and its principal character - Ebeneezer Scrooge.
|Christmas on Bear Mountain|
By the way, if you have not checked our my earlier recommendation for the best illustrated children's book collection for Christmas (which includes a fabulously illustrated version of A Christmas Carol) - be sure to check it out.
Back to Donald Duck and the first appearance of Scrooge McDuck. Although his is a relatively subdued entry onto the stage, Scrooge's full potential is already evident and your kids will enjoy the testy encounters between Donald and his nephews.
The other stories in this treasury include Donald's Posy Patch, Donald Mines His Own Business, Volcano Valley. Magical Misery, Ring Wrongs, Adventure Down Under, The Waltz King, Masters of Melody, Donald Duck and The Ghost of the Grotto, Fireman Donald, The Terrible Turkey, Three Good Little Ducks and several Donald Duck one-pagers.
Finally, a lovely addition to Christmas on Bear Mountain, is a short bio of the man behind these fabulous comics. Parents will enjoy a two-page short biography of Carl Barks - the story man behind the Donald Duck animation unit at Disney.
The second book in the gift case, A Christmas for Shacktown, is a similar package of amazing quintessential Donald Duck comics - but the highlight is the opening story A Christmas for Shacktown.
The triplets (Huey, Dewey and Louie) are looking forward to another Christmas and the joyous season. However, one day they stray into a part of town that they never visited before.
|A Christmas for Shacktown|
The kids in Shacktown are living in poverty, without toys, candy and any hope for a better life. This sparks a change in Donald's nephews and they decide to help the Shacktown kids experience a true Christmas for once in their lives.
The nephews enlist the help of Daisy Duck, Donald and Uncle Scrooge - with varying success.
This fabulous read aloud treasury also includes comics such as: The Big Bin on Killmotor Hill, Gladstone's Usual Good Year, The Screaming Cowboy, Statuesque Spendthrifts, Rocket Wing Saves the Day, Gladstone's Terrible Secret, The Think Box Bollix, The Golden Helmet, Houseboat Holiday, Gemstone Hunters, The Gilded Man, Spending Money and many Donald Duck one-pagers.
The quality of the printing is fabulous, while the colors are amazing, almost sparkling!
I love that you can read this book from the beginning, but you can also open it anywhere it suits your fancy and read a comic that draws your attention.
I love that this is a piece of history in young hands.
I love that this book will open children's eyes to the early masterpieces of comic art.
I love that this edition is a Christmas gem that was just waiting to be (re)discovered.
Welcome back to our homes Donald Duck!
Walt Disney's Donald Duck Christmas Gift Box Set can be found in your favorite US book shop:
The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)
or from around the world: