Drummer Boy, by Loren Long (Philomel Books, $17.99, ages 3 to 5) With rhyming text and magnificent paintings, the Ohio author/illustrator borrows from Hans Christian Andersen's The Brave Tin Soldier to weave the tale of a toy drummer boy, accidentally thrown away, who finds his way home and to the nativity scene.
The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry, illustrated by P.J. Lynch (Candlewick, $15.99, ages 6 to 11) Youngsters who haven't experienced the irony of an O. Henry short story would do well to start with this one, about a poor but loving young couple desperate to give each other gifts. Lynch's paintings capture late 1800s American urban life.
The Lump of Coal, by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist (HarperCollins, $12.99, ages 6 to 10) The creator of the Series of Unfortunate Events books turns in a clever tale about a lump of coal on a quest for self identity. A funny, twisted take on holiday miracles.
Merry Christmas, Ollie!, by Olivier Dunrea (Houghton Mifflin, $12.95, ages 2 to 5) The creator of the Gossie & Friends books presents stocking capped-goslings patiently waiting for Father Goose in this sweet story for the preschool set.
The Miracle Jar, by Audrey Penn, illustrated by Lea Lyon (Tanglewood, $16.95, ages 3 to 8) The history and traditions of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah are found in this story of an old country family who, like their ancestors, are experiencing a shortage of oil.