The Aussie ABC Christmas
New Frontier, 2018
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
In 1788 when the first wave of immigrants from the northern hemisphere came to Australia, they brought with them the celebrations and their associated traditions as they tried to settle into what was a land that was so different from what they knew, it was beyond their imagination. Subsequent waves of immigrants have done the same thing and so now, 230 years later, so much of what we see and do at Christmas is still rooted in those wintery northern customs and people still strive to create a winter wonderland in their homes.
Slowly though, there are some uniquely Australian twists that are becoming more widespread and artist Nancy Bevington has captured these in this beautifully illustrated alphabet book. There are B for beach, I for icecream and P for pavlova, and for those things like gifts, reindeer and Santa which are more universal, each illustration is quirkily Australian. I can’t decide if my favourite is the emu putting the star at the top of the tree or the kookaburras laughing with joy.
Young readers will delight in seeing so much that is familiar while those sharing this with them will love the humour in each picture. A treat for an Aussie Christmas stocking this year, and while it might be too late for this year as school is all but over, it would be perfect to stimulate a class display (or library display with each class contributing a letter) for next year, perhaps the reveal of each letter being part of the Christmas Countdown.