Five little penguins went out one day Over the hills and far away. Mamma Penguin said “Hurry back to me!” How many penguins can you see?
Combine a familiar ditty with rhyme, rhythm and repetition, add in bright, appealing illustrations and include the interactivity of a lift-the-flap format and you have the perfect recipe for a book that is going to engage our youngest readers. Not only will they be taken to a winter wonderland where there is so much to see as Mamma Penguin and her chicks waddle through a frosty forest, skate down an icy river and toboggan down snowy slopes meeting all kinds of festive animals playing in the snow but because both the environment and the creatures are not those they are used to seeing, there is all sorts of scope for discussion and building vocabulary.
Most importantly though, this is one that they can return to again and again independently empowering their independence and consolidating their belief and expectation they they, too, can be “real readers”.
What is Christmas Eve without a “night before Christmas” story?
‘Tis the day before Christmas And all through the trees The fairies are working As busy as bees…
Christmas for the fairies is just as busy for them as it is for everyone else, and young readers will delight in seeing that so many of the fairies’ preparations echo their own. But when a storm blows in and ruins everything, it seems impossible that the little ones will wake to the magic they are expecting until…
With the familiar rhythm of Clement C. Moore’s A Night Before Christmas, this is one to charm little ones to sleep to dream of all the magic happening everywhere as they sleep. And if they wake up to discover The Fairies’ Night Before Christmas Activity Book in their Santa Sacks, then they will know that the magic is real!
A group of little bilbies are hunting for decorations to turn their Australian bush home into a magical Christmas wonderland. As they dance and jump and flap through the bush, they meet a number of other iconic Australian animals, each of which has something to offer to decorate the tree.
With its repetitive refrain and action-packed storyline, this is an Australian story that will get young readers actively involved in its telling bringing it alive for them. They could speculate on what other creatures the bilby band might meet and what else might be added to the Christmas tree, perhaps even decorate their own unique Aussie Christmas tree with things they find in nature.
It’s almost Christmas time and Little Penguin is stumped when Narwhal asks if he has his Christmas tree yet. For not only are there no trees in the cold Antarctic where Little Penguin lives, but there are no forests to find one either. What is he to do? Luckily, Seagull and his friends have an answer.
This is a charming board book for our youngest readers who can not only learn a little about the frozen parts of this planet but also think how, in such an environment, Little Penguin’s problem can be solved. With its unique storyline and bold pictures this is one they will be able to read to themselves over and over.
From a cosy box in the attic of the Nana’s Gift Shop, Bear watches the seasons pass waiting for the last leaf to fall because he knew that’s when Annie would come to get him and place him in pride of place at the bottom of the Christmas tree in the shop window. He knew that for the next few weeks he would do all sorts of things with Annie to mark the coming of Christmas but this year was different – the shop was closing for good and Bear was really worried about never seeing Annie again…
This is one of those feel-good, traditional Christmas stories that is timeless and thus likely to be one that endures for generations as a family favourite. It features all the elements that we think about at Christmas, regardless of it being set in the northern hemisphere with snow and carolers and people rugged up in their winter woolly warms. It leaves a feeling as warm as a teddy bear’s snuggle.
Tis the run up to Christmas and there is so much to do! At Elf School we are learning how we can help too.
Elroy McChristmas and his friends are about to sit their final test before Santa decides the best job for each elf. But when it’s time to show off their skills, Elroy’s nerves get the better of him and he casts the wrong spell, sending the classroom into chaos! Can Elroy and his classmates restore calm before Santa arrives?
Although this has the familiar rhyming style of Clement C. Moore’s classic A Night Before Christmas, this is a unique story that young children will want to hear over and over as they delight in discovering the detail in the pictures, each reading adding something new. And, at a time when awards are being given for this, that and the other, it offers an opportunity for those not in the limelight to think about their own best attributes and skills and consider what job Santa might give them if they were in Elf School. Because even though Elroy causes such chaos, Santa still finds the perfect place for him!
Mouse is delighted when Bear brings home a Christmas tree – but that’s when the trouble begins. They cannot agree on how to decorate it – mouse-scale or bear-scale. Baubles or tinsel? Fairies at the top or a manatee?
This is a LOL story-in-rhyme (which exploits all the ways to make the “ee’ sound) that follows There’s a Bear on My Chair and There’s a Mouse in My House that young readers will love, particularly if they have helped decorate their own tree. They will hold their breath as the inevitable happens and the tree topples and delight at the ending when the two reach a compromise – or do they? Older readers can enjoy it too as an intro to the tradition of the Christmas tree if they are investigating the origins of some of the customs that persist today, despite the Australian Christmas being so different to that winter wonderland fantasy.
Three children are off on a hunt for the perfect Christmas present! But first they’ve got to get through the spiky Christmas trees, a herd of hungry reindeer, some noisy carol singers and a very busy toyshop! But there are SO MANY toys . . . will they ever find the perfect present?
Set to the familiar rhyme of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt young children will delight in reading along with this story and it’s quirky ending – there’s definitely a bear! The colourful illustrations will attract their attention and then discovering that they can read it already will help them believe that they too, can be “real readers”. Not to mention getting them to think about what if this were and Australian story – what would change and what would they substitute.
As Christmas approaches, most of the toys in the toyshop are excited to be going to new homes. But Bunny, the littlest one, is worried. He can’t imagine life outside the shop or without his best friend, the sailor doll. When Bunny is selected as a present to be given away at a Boxing Day party, he hopes desperately to go to kind children. Luckily, a happy surprise is in store for him!
Despite it being nearly a century since Enid Blyton was at her writing peak, her stories like this one never date – they still delight little children who revel in the magic and charm of Christmas. That so many of her books remain in print, have been translated into 90 languages and have sold over 600 000 000 copies is testament to the quality of her stories and the pleasure they offer. This is just one of many that have endured taking the reader into a world where toys talk and come alive to have adventures and feelings, just as they do. Who hasn’t worried about not knowing anyone, making new friends or being left out of the fun?
It’s Christmas Eve and Father Christmas has just the last village of the Back of Beyond to visit but he is really tired. Seeing The Three Bear’s cottage far below he stops for a rest and soon falls asleep in front of the fire. But when the bears come home they discover NOTHING will wake him. Not Baby Bear setting off the alarm clocks; not Mummy Bear playing Jingle Bells very loudly on the piano; not even Daddy Bear blowing his alpenhorn! How will the children of Back of Beyond get their presents?
Baby Bear has an idea and very soon the Fairy-Tale Rescue Rangers are there to deliver the last presents so no one misses out. But how will they cross the Roaring Rushing River, navigate the Deepest Darkest Wood and get past the Most Monstrous Mountain . . . all before the children wake up on Christmas morning?
This is one of those simple-good-fun stories that young children delight in at this time of the year, even moreso because they will recognise the members of the Fairy-Tale Rescue Rangers and be able to use what they know about them to predict how they might overcome the obstacles that confront them, enabling them to become involved in the story rather than just passively listening. They might even like to predict how Baby Bear might be able to help the Fairy-Tale Rescue Rangers in the future.
An interesting storyline, bright pictures, familiar characters, problems to solve – this has all the elements of an engaging story for young readers.