Archive | December 2014

Yikes, Santa-CLAWS

Yikes, Santa-CLAWS

Yikes, Santa-CLAWS










Yikes, Santa-CLAWS

Pamela Butchart

Bloomsbury, 2014

pbk., 32pp., RRP $A14.99


It’s a refrain heard all over the world on THAT night …”Santa Claus will soon be here so snuggle up in bed.”  So with their stockings hanging on the tinsel-decorated bedpost, the two dinosaur children do just that.  But the visitor who comes down their chimney is not who they expected – it’s Santa-Claws, a green imposter who starts by falling down the chimney.  “Oh, toe-bells,” cried Santa-Claws, “I’ve squashed everything in my sack!”

Woken by the noise, the dino-tots creep down the stairs and they are met with a disaster – this fake is eating the tree, rummaging through the presents, trying on dad’s new reindeer pants and mum’s sparkly red shoes.  Nothing is safe, not even the cat.  Then, leaving a trail of stinky poos, he moves on to the next house causing havoc and destruction until at last the families wake up.  But even the can’t stop him until…

This is a cute story that young readers will really enjoy listening to and they will appreciate good getting the best of bad.  Brightly illustrated, it is eye-catching and the rhyming pattern provides a rhythm that moves it along at a nice pace.  It’s wonderful for maintaining that atmosphere of anticipation that comes with the magic of Christmas and would be a perfect addition to a Christmas Countdown of stories.     


This Little Piggy Went Singing

This Little Piggy Went Singing

This Little Piggy Went Singing










This Little Piggy Went Singing

Margaret Wild

Deborah Niland

Allen & Unwin, 2014

hbk., 24pp., RRP $A19.99


This little piggy went singing

This little piggy stayed home

This little piggy had noodles

This little piggy had none

And this little piggy went toot, toot, toot all the way home.


In a whimsical twist on the traditional rhyme Margaret Wild and Deborah Niland have combined to bring us this charming book to herald in the festive season for 2014.  Whether it is out singing Christmas carols, posting a letter to Santa, and partying it up or staying home reading a Christmas story, making decorations and putting them up, each little piggy has a wonderful time in the days before the BIG day, even the one who has none because it’s been made into a necklace by a mouse or shared with a feathered friend.  And they all come together for something special on the very last page.

 But this is more than just a take on a tale – each piggy has a different role on each page and so young readers can pick a favourite and follow their adventures all the way through the story.  There is also a trend of activity throughout – the first little piggy is always out of the house doing something Christmasy; the second stays at home doing something special; the third piggy has something to eat and the fourth does not – but it doesn’t matter because there’s a delightful explanation as to why not.  And the fifth little piggy makes a cacophony of noises all the way home that young ones will love to join in with.  Picking the pattern is as much fun as picking the piggy! Can you work out how Deborah Niland might have mapped out her illustrations so each piggy did something different each day?

 It’s also an opportunity to talk with the children about the traditions they recognise and which have endured over time as well as what happens in their house in those busy days and compare and contrast the various activities.  While the original rhyme has been in English folklore since 1760, Margaret and Deborah have brought it right into the 21st century, giving it a richness that will ensure it continues to endure.

 This is a delightful way to herald in the Christmas Countdown – 24 books, one a day till THE day – and I can’t wait to share it with my little ones.  It’s sparkly, glittery cover already caught their eye as it waited its turn in the pile so I know it will be the first in our countdown calendar.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…