25 Days – Book 20: Angles & Berries & Candy Canes

Day 20 of this Advent picture book countdown, let’s look at another of the Christmas Nutshell Library. A sweet, wordless alphabet book, this is Angels & Berries & Candy Canes by Hilary Knight, 1963.

I love this Nutshell set and how each book is very different from each other. This one is perfect for our toddler especially as it gives her complete control over what it is saying. Each page only has a letter of the alphabet and then several pictures to go with it. A non-reader can “read” it completely by themselves. It helps make connections between a letter and images, a letter and the start of words, and gives recognition to each letterform itself.


I had a difficult time choosing which pages to feature, as first of all, they are difficult to photograph because of how small the book is; and second, I just love every page so much.


Hilary Knight packs the pages with simplicity and a world of imagination. Every read through you can make up a different tale for each page. You can ask questions about what is happening, simply make observations about each object, or just say the letter for that page. There is so much freedom in an alphabet book like this.


Despite the freedom, Knight has also tied it all together with the wintery Christmas theme. The girl with the quill for Q is writing a thank you note in a holiday dress while reindeer look on from the next page. Santa appears, gifts, wise men, and angels. At the very end, there is actually a spread with a couple words to go with each page. Therefore, if you don’t feel like filling in the blanks, or just want to know what Knight was intending to say on each page – flip to the back! Then you’ll find that M is for “Mice with Mistletoe on Christmas Night.” And also there is A Christmas Yawn and Zzzzip to sleep.”

Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books 2014!

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