Christmas is Puggle’s favourite time of the year as everyone helped to put together a very special day for each other. All he wanted to do was help them as they went about their special tasks, and to their credit, Long Tail, Lacy Tail and Mama Grey were willing to let him try. But even though he told his legs and his claws and his arms to be careful, somehow things didn’t go as planned. What can you offer when all you are clumsy, spiky and waddly? Despondent, Little Puggle wandered away and sat looking at the sparkly night sky. And then he made a special wish on a falling star…
We first met Little Puggle when he saved the bush choir’s performance to celebrate the birth of the emu chicks, and to have him back with a special Christmas story complete with the most glorious illustrations is a treat in itself. Once again the message of being yourself and making the most of what you can do is strong, and will particularly resonate with young readers who also want to help with the preparations in their own home but are just a little bit little to do some things. But, maybe instead of wishing upon a star, the family could work out just what they could do and that becomes their personal task to be responsible for – even if it’s just making sure the presents are still under the tree each morning!
When Flick and Birdie’s Grandma Aggie found an imp in an old bottle and wished for her granddaughters to have unlimited wishes, it seemed like it would be a lot of fun. But then Imp twisted the wish so that only Birdie could have the wish. But Birdie is a baby and that can get tricky when one so young and immature and isn’t yet talking has so much power. So Flick has to be really careful how things are handled.
Christmas without Grandma Aggie is making everyone sad and while Flock knows that her gran would want this to be a special time for them all, particularly Birdie, she’s finding it hard to find her Christmas spirit. To cheer them up, Mum and Dad invite the neighbours over to decorate gingerbread houses. After a few false starts because Birdie gets confused, all is going well until Mrs Mortlake brings up Christmas wishes, giving baby Birdie all the wrong ideas…
This is the latest in this series there is an emphasis on family and friendships and the importance of strong, positive connections between them, with the teachers’ notes offering some relevant questions to consider and discuss that not only relate to Flick and her feelings but also those of any students facing their first Christmas without someone special at the table. Through the story, they can see that their emotions are valid and validated and that it is okay to not have a happy face all the time. With Flick, Mr Tran and Mrs Mortlake all having different reasons for feeling off-kilter it shows that times like this when there is such an emphasis on happiness and ho-ho-ho that it is not necessarily that for everyone and so readers are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of those around them.
Written for young girls, particularly, who want a bit of escapism without too much tension, especially those with younger sisters who can be troublesome at times, this is a series that is very much a book about being careful what you wish for.
There’s a feeling in the air, We’ve been waiting all the year…
Heath McKenzie has used his iconic stylised digital illustrations to bring to life this cheerful song about the excitement and anticipation of families on Christmas Eve as preparations are made. for the big day.. There are all the things that we associate with the celebration – Christmas lights, special food, the tree, decorations, traditional songs – all bound together like a tangle of lights in the love, joy and fun shared by the family. and all overseen by a new bright star “like the angel sitting on top of the tree, looking down from above, shining her love”.
As well as learning the words to the song, little ones will love seeing all those things that are so familiar to their family as much as they are to the book family, but they might like to talk about those things they do, say and eat that are different too.
One to share after your family night of decorations and preparations.
Regardless of one’s religious beliefs or lack of them, I believe that it is an important part of our role as teachers to enable students to understand the origins of a time of year that claims our attention like no other. This book which uses the text from the King James version of the Bible is the perfect introduction. Superbly illustrated by Jan Pienkowski using silhouettes against the most stunning backdrops, it portrays the story in a unique way that does not interfere with any preconceived, more classical images the reader might have.
The illustrations bring the text to life, giving it meaning where there may have been none because of the unfamiliar syntax of such long-ago words. Pienkowski has interpreted the text in his own way with much detail that even being in silhouette form evoke emotion and movement and intrigue. And there is whimsy such as the two small figures on the poop deck of the Wise Men’s ship, who are pointing in different directions and plainly arguing about which way is East. As well as the exquisite illustrations, the pages are embellished with all sorts of delightful touches that make the reader feel they have one of those illuminated books of old in their hands.
This is the perfect book for beginning the Christmas Countdown – as classic as sharing ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.
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!