Best Holiday Books: Christmas with Rita and Whatsit

christmas-with-rita-and-whatsit-300x300First of all, hats off to any children’s book author who names their main character Rita. There are far too few Rita’s in literature these days and I applaud any writer who brings Rita to life. Thankfully Roald Dahl made use of my favorite girl’s name in the world, Matilda, but Rita definitely runs a close second.  Perhaps the best Rita of all is small little mousy haired girl in the red dress in one of my favorite holiday books, Christmas with Rita and Whatsit. This adorable book by French writer Jean Philippe Arrou-Vignod (say that ten times fast) and pen-and-ink illustrator Oliver Tallec is a little holiday treasure. Tallec’s illustrations are just divine – simple, elegant and quirky  – and Arrou-Vignod’s text is the perfect anecdote to your run-of-the-mill holiday tome. In this fun book, Rita and her pet…um…dog (?) Whatsit are eagerly preparing for Christmas. Decorating the tree (with sausages, of course) and singing Christmas carols (or, rather, howling them)..and making lists a mile long of every gift they would like to have Santa bring down the chimney this year. But will Whats-it’s incessant barking scare Jolly Ole St. Nick away? Find out in this utterly charming book. (And, here’s a little hint. If you love Rita as much as I do, look for Arrou-Vignod and Tallec’s other Rita books while you’re at it!)

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