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Christmas Wonder

Christmas Wonder

Christmas Wonder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Wonder

Vicki Conley

Cheryl Orsini

Affirm Press, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781925870770

Christmas time,

Seven sleeps.

Busy house

Tummy leaps.

In a series of eight-word rhymes, the magic and excitement of the countdown to Christmas in Australia is captured in this charmingly illustrated book.  Embracing all the familiar things that families do at this time, combining the traditional with the contemporary, young readers will enjoy spotting their family in the illustrations while talking about what’s happening and sharing their stories of what they do that is similar as well as what they do that is a bit different. It’s a great opportunity to broaden understanding and share diverse perspectives – there are few who don’t celebrate Christmas, even if they do it differently. 

In a storyworld with many Christmas-themed books to choose from, it is refreshing to have a new story that has some depth, reflects who its readers are and what they do while not making them caricatures of all that is “ocker”, and opens up the opportunity to explore and explain.  

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy

Daisy Meadows

Orchard Books, 2019

155pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781408352465

Best friends Kirsty and Rachel are very excited to give each other their Christmas presents! But when Jack Frost steals Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy’s magical objects, the magic of giving is in danger. Can the girls help get Camilla’s items back and save Christmas for both the human and fairy worlds?

The Rainbow Fairies have been delighting young girls who are newly independent readers since 2003 with 254 fairies published and 11 yet to come.  The series follows the lives of Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker and their magical adventures with their fairy friends, Queen Titania, Queen of the fairies, King Oberon, King of the fairies and Jack Frost, who is the enemy of the fairies and his servants, the Goblins. With all the elements of fantasy that young girls love, the series has remained popular for 16 years so if you have someone ready to make the transition to novels this could be the one to start them. This new release features three stories, each with short chapters and illustrations to support the reader and with so many others in the series to move on to, it is perfect for managing this new step of the reading journey.There is also an online site so that there is much more to explore and engage in to enrich their experience., as well as suggestions for other series that will broaden their reading horizons.

Emily Brown and Father Christmas

Emily Brown and Father Christmas

Emily Brown and Father Christmas 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily Brown and Father Christmas

Cressida Cowell

Neal Layton

Hodder Children’s, 2019

32pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781444942002

It’s Christmas Eve and Emily Brown and Stanley  have hung up their Christmas stockings and are snuggled up in bed reading when they hear “ho Ho Help” coming from outside their window. It is Father Christmas and despite having the latest climbing equipment, he is swinging precariously from a rope and needs rescuing.  Emily suggests that dropping down the chimney might be better because “Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.”  But Father Christmas is determined to embrace the new ways even though it gets him into strife all night. Will the children around the world get their gifts on Christmas morning or will they all be disappointed. 

This is a very funny story that will appeal to both the reader and listener alike. With its refrain of  “Sometimes the old ways are the best ways” it marries the magical side of Christmas deliveries that we are familiar with, with the idiosyncrasies that we have all experienced with modern technology.  This is a Christmas story that has some substance to it with a determined, credible main character who will resonate with many and a storyline that will linger, particularly when our technology next plays up and we are wishing for some traditional Father Christmas  magic. 

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn Eats Christmas

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn Eats Christmas

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn Eats Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn Eats Christmas

Lou Carter

Nikki Dyson

Orchard, 2019

32pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99

9781408355824 

Oscar the unicorn is always hungry and on Christmas Eve he is eating his way through the palace Christmas preparations.  The stockings, the tree the presents… But the trouble really starts when he eats the reindeer food meaning the reindeer no longer have their magic power to fly.  How will Santa deliver the presents?

This is a bright captivating tale that will enchant our youngest readers as they continue the Christmas Countdown to that special night. There is lots of humorous detail in the pictures, particularly the one focusing on Christmas morning and this is likely to be one that is requested again and again.  

Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas

Roald Dahl's The Twelve Days of Christmas

Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roald Dahl’s The Twelve Days of Christmas

Puffin Books, 2019

128pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9780241428122

The Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas has had many versions and interpretations over the centuries including originally being a game in 19th century to being a catechism song for young Catholics forbidden from practising their faith in England, but one thing is for sure – none is quite like this version that combines the traditional  lyrics with the literature of Roald Dahl. 

 . . on the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me . . . Three Naughty Muggle-Wumps, Two Smelly Twits
and Matilda in the library!

Focusing on the stories that have been children’s favourites over the years, “This gloriumptious book is packed full of:
– whipple-scrumptious recipes for festive feasting
– tricksy pranks guaranteed to get you on the naughty list
– amazing chrimbo activities to impress (or prank) your family
– jolly jokes that are even better than the ones in the crackers.”

Each day centres on a different book and there are activities, recipes, stories, poems and a host of other things that will keep the Dahl fan fascinated and occupied once the anticipation and excitement of December 25 has passed.  Combine it with a gift pack of the books themselves – Matilda, The Twits, The Enormous Crocodile, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant Peach, The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me, George’s Marvellous Medicine,  Esio Trot, The Witches and a couple of twisted tales – and you have the perfect gift for the fan or to introduce a new reader that will keep them entranced for the whole holidays!

 

 

The First Christmas

The First Christmas

The First Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Christmas

Jess Racklyeft

Puffin, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780143796909

A long time ago, in a country far away, a star shone in the night sky and a baby boy was born . . .

In this new release of this age-old story, illustrator Jess Racklyeft has captured the Christian version in her unique style that has led to her being included in the CBCA Notable Picture Book of the Year two years running. Modern in design and detailed with vignettes that highlight the joy and wonder of the occasion, this is a distinctive interpretation that can be shared over and over with new tings to discover and discuss. For those who know the story, the text is hardly required because the illustrations tell it themselves; for those for whom it is new, the text gently complements the artwork making it easily understood by even the youngest listener. 

A worthy addition to the Christmas Countdown collection.  

Sarah’s Two Nativities

Sarah’s Two Nativities

Sarah’s Two Nativities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah’s Two Nativities

Janine M. Fraser

Helene Magisson

Black Dog Books , 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99

9781925381795

This is the story of Sarah, daughter of Sadek and Anna, granddaughter of Ali and Azar, and granddaughter of Maria and Paul. 

In Sarah’s house the Bible and the Koran sit side by side on the shelf, each full of stories which her grandmothers tell her when they come to visit.  Sarah’s favourites are those about the birth of Baby Jesus, but she is confused because even though parts of each story is similar to the other, there are parts that are different.  “how can they both be true?” she asks.

Sarah’s situation is not an uncommon one – there are many families where there are differing belief systems, and these are often highlighted at this time of the year.  Similarly, in our classrooms where we share stories about the Nativity with children who might hear a different version at home.  How can the two be reconciled? Grandmother Azar provides an answer that satisfies Sarah and celebrates the richness of the two cultures her family straddles.  

This is a beautifully illustrated story that is sensitively told and acknowledges that this is a special time of year for many, not just Christians, and that there can be bonds that are stronger than anything else.

Watch the story read aloud here

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar's Christmas Eve

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve

Eric Carle

Picture Puffin, 2019

12pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9780241350249

It’s a cold, snowy Christmas Eve and everyone is at home waiting for a special visitor…

Little ones will adore this new story featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar as they lift the flaps to discover who is hiding behind.  With its northern hemisphere focus  offering the opportunity to talk about why Christmas is so different from here, they will enjoy searching for the VHC because although he doesn’t play an active role in the story, he does appear on each page sharing the precepts of the Christmas season in simple text and classic Carle illustrations which will help focus their thinking to predict the story and who might be hiding. 

A favourite friend in a familiar setting and a recognisable author – has to be a Christmas stocking winner.

 

 

The Crayons’ Christmas

The Crayons' Christmas

The Crayons’ Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Crayons’ Christmas

Drew Daywalt

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $27.99

9780008180362

  Tis the season for all of us to write our Christmas wish lists. But everyone knows – even the Crayons – that the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers join in as Duncan, the Crayons and their families celebrate the festive season. However, come Christmas Eve, Duncan is sad because while everyone else has something special all he has are letters telling him his friends wouldn’t be home for Christmas.  Until…

This is one of those magical books that is likely to become a family heirloom. With real, folded letters to pull from their envelopes and read, games, press-out ornaments, a poster and a pop-up tree, it comes specially wrapped like a gift increasing the anticipation and just asking to be opened and explored. Perhaps not one for the general library collection but definitely one to be put aside for that special Christmas Countdown.  

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

Peppa's Christmas Jumper Day

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day

Ladybird, 2019

16pp., board book, RRP $A9.99

9780241371589

Christmas is coming and Peppa and George’s playgroup are celebrating with a special Christmas jumper day.  But when Daddy Pig gets the jumpers out, neither Peppa’s nor George’s still fits.  George is sorted though because he can wear Peppa’s old one but how will Daddy solve Peppa’s problem in time for the big day?

This is another Christmas story that will appeal to our youngest readers as they recognise a favourite character but wearing a woolly jumper at Christmas may have them baffled.  Perhaps it is the opportunity to talk about the differences in seasons and time zones and how others celebrate Christmas. They might even like to design their own Christmas jumper with their favourite Christmas images and materials, either for themselves or for Peppa for next year.