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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.

We’re going on an Elf Chase

We're going on an Elf Chase

We’re going on an Elf Chase

 

We’re going on an Elf Chase

Martha Mumford

Laura Hughes

Bloomsbury, 2019

24pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526606303

We’re going on an elf chase.
Come and join the fun.
Can we catch them all?
YES!
Run, run, run!

Four bunnies set off on a jolly Christmas lift-the-flap adventure to find ten little elves hidden under the flaps. You’ll have to run, run, run if you’re going to catch them all! And there are lots of obstacles along the way, from clippy-cloppy reindeer to roaring polar bears and flippy-flappy penguins. But if you do catch them, there is a lovely surprise waiting.

With its rhythm from the rhyme and repetitive text of this delightful story and lots of flaps to peek under, this will be a popular Christmas Countdown read for little ones.  Apart from the things hidden under the flaps, there is a lot of detail to explore in the pictures, perhaps starting a conversation about winter scenes that will be unfamiliar to most young Australian readers and even an explanation of why Christmas is in winter in some parts of the world. 

I’m Ready for Christmas

I'm Ready for Christmas

I’m Ready for Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Ready for Christmas

Jedda Robaard

Puffin, 2019

board book., 14pp., RRP $A 12.99

9781760891619

Getting ready for Christmas is an exciting time for little ones. And it is no different for Miss Wombat’s family. There is much to do such as baking a big, round pudding from Great-great-great- Grandma’s recipe and decorating the tree. 

Very young readers will love seeing the things that their families do reflected in this very Australian interpretation of the Christmas experience, all helping to build anticipation for the great day. 

This is a new series of board books for our youngest readers shining a light on familiar events in their lives, aimed to bridge the gap between single-word concept books and the longer narrative of picture books.  Little ones can compare what the characters do to their own lives learning valuable concepts about stories and how they entertain as they do, a vital part of early literacy development. While their story might parallel Miss Wombat’s, why isn’t there any snow and the other trappings of the northern hemisphere Christmas that are so prevalent in what they see in print and on film?  Critical thinking can start as early as you like!