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A Christmas Wish

 

 

 

A Christmas Wish

A Christmas Wish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Wish

Beatrix Potter

Eleanor Taylor

Puffin, 2017

18pp., board book, RRP $A12.99

9780241291757

It’s Christmas Eve and Peter Rabbit and his sisters are excited, but Peter is worried too. They have all wished for a special present but Peter can’t sleep, and he knows Father Christmas won’t visit if he’s still awake. As the hours drag by anxious Peter hears a little creak here, and a little bump there, so now he’s even less likely to fall asleep, especially as he is convinced each noise must be Santa and he gets up to investigate. Then he decides to sit and gaze at the lights on the Christmas tree…will Santa come while he’s there?

The charm and delight of Beatrix Potter’s tales about Peter Rabbit have endured over decades and this adaptation is no exception.  Perfect for that final sleep on the BIG night, little ones will empathise with Peter as they share his excitement and find it just as tricky to get to sleep it will become a classic part of the annual Christmas Countdown.

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Ori’s Christmas

 

 

 

Ori’s Christmas

Ori’s Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ori’s Christmas

Anne Helen Donnelly

Self-published, 2017

32pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780646962207

Christmas is coming and Ori the Octopus wants to celebrate Christmas with his friends.  But each friend has a request for what should be done or otherwise they will not attend.  Singing Christmas carols, taking photographs, wrapping presents, a Christmas tree, a hot lunch… all the common Christmas traditions are requested. But when the day comes and Ori has organised all that has been asked, each creature finds that they can’t do everything and all looks gloomy.  Until…

Bright, colourful illustrations accompany this original story which offers lots of opportunities for the little ones to join in with actions and comments about the special things their families always do at Christmas that would need to be included if they had been invited.

Notes for parents and teachers as well as some cut-out decorations that can be coloured and hung are included. Something different for very young readers.

A Very Quacky Christmas

 

 

 

A Very Quacky Christmas

A Very Quacky Christmas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Very Quacky Christmas

Frances Watts

Ann James

ABC Books, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780733329623

Sebastian Tortoise is bamboozled by Samantha Duck’s Christmas preparations.  As she winds tinsel around the reeds, hangs baubles and her Christmas stocking on a branch, and sings “We wish you a quacky Christmas” while making a long list so she can give presents to all the animals in the world, he keeps telling her that Christmas is not for animals.  But she convinces him to help her by pointing out that Christmas is about giving and sharing and that they can make all the gift themselves by getting the other animals on the farm to help. 

To his surprise, the animals love the idea and each helps in their own way keeping Samantha and   Sebastian very busy.  But having made all the presents, delivering them on Christmas Eve becomes problematic – perhaps Christmas is not for animals after all.

This is a gentle story for younger children that celebrates the joy of sharing and giving, belief and perseverance and offers another perspective of the meaning of Christmas for little ones. Is Christmas just about receiving presents?  Do presents have to be store-bought, big, bright and shiny to be worthwhile?  What could they make by themselves or with a sibling or friend to give to others? Perhaps children could draw a name out of a hat and make just one present for that child as part of the STEM curriculum so each gets something and the pressure put on parents to provide presents for everyone that is becoming a common expectation can be abolished.  

Even though Sebastian was so sceptical he agreed  to help Samantha and he is the one encouraged to keep trying when all seems lost so explore the concept of friendship and how teamwork can often achieve the impossible. 

Unlike many books with a Christmas theme, this one is as rich in ideas to explore as Santa’s sack while still maintaining the charm and the delight of the season. 

Teachers notes are available but for me,  the story stands alone as a must-have addition to that special time of the Christmas Countdown at bedtime.     

 

Marvin and Marigold: A Christmas Surprise

 

 

 

Marvin and Marigold: A Christmas Surprise

Marvin and Marigold: A Christmas Surprise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marvin and Marigold: A Christmas Surprise

Mark Carthew

Simon Prescott

New Frontier, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781925059991

On the first of December Marigold Mouse found a rather large box at the front of her house.  As she struggled to lift it inside branches and baubles fell out fueling her curiosity. But a letter from her mother soon solved the mystery – it was the family Christmas tree with all the traditional decorations that had been on it and held so much love and so many memories for Marigold’s family. 

Seeing her friend Marvin Mouse looking a little lonely and forlorn next door, she invites him in to help her to decorate the tree. And as they work together memories are unwrapped and revisited and shared as the tree begins to take shape until everything is complete and it lights up the night.

Told in gentle rhyme, this story is not only about the tradition of putting up the tree and reliving memories but also about sharing the times with those we love or who are feeling not-so as the festive time draws now.  It’s lovable characters, recognisable story line and bright illustrations will really appeal to youngsters on the Christmas Countdown and perhaps inspire them to think more deeply of the significance of those special decorations.

I Went to See Santa

 

 

 

I Went to See Santa

I Went to See Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Went to See Santa

Paul Howard

Bloomsbury, 2017

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

9781408844724

It’s a classic scenario of little ones and their need to be just that bit better than their friend.  So when the little girl announces that she went to see Santa and got a pair of Christmas glasses, her friend says well he not only got Christmas glasses but also an amazing magic set!

And so it goes on and on, getting more and more fabulous until the most unexpected end!

Young children love stories like this where they can not only join in but also help the ageing, forgetful adult remember all the things in the list.  

If you share this with more than one, prepare for a rollicking, raucous time that will bring joy and delight and an affirmation that stories and books and reading are FUN!

How Many Quacks till Christmas?

 

 

 

How Many Quacks Till Christmas?

How Many Quacks Till Christmas?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Many Quacks Till Christmas?

Mark Sperring

Ed Eaves

Bloomsbury, 2017

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

9781408871089

It’s nearly Christmas on Merry Farm and the animals are getting excited.  As Puppy prances around the farm,  he is asked by all the animals how long they have to wait. The piglets, lambs, foals, calves, even the ducks are all asking…

‘How many quacks till Christmas?’
the ducklings want to know.

‘How many quacks till Christmas?’
and ‘Quack, will there be snow?’

Does Puppy have the answer?  Is it a lot of oinks, baas, neighs, moos and quacks  or not so many? Who knows?  Aha! Mr Cockerel does!

With its bold, bright illustrations, rhyming text and a familiar storyline of waiting till the BIG day, this is a delightful story for young readers that they will relate to.  Perfect for the Christmas Countdown, they can start their own calendar of sleeps which in turn, can help them begin to understand that elusive concept of time!And if their calendar comprises a story a night, even better!

 

All The Way Home

 

 

 

All The Way Home

All The Way Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All The Way Home

Debi Gliori

Bloomsbury, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781408872079

Father Penguin has a secret, one that Mother Penguin can never know but which he tells Little One…

When penguin eggs are laid, the mothers go out to sea fishing leaving the fathers to huddle together to keep the eggs warmed balanced on their feet.  But they don’t eat and Father Penguin was very hungry.  He had had nothing to eat at all  – not a thing – and so he gradually makes his way to the outside of the Dad Huddle when suddenly a huge gust of Antarctic wind plucks him and his precious egg off the ice…

And the adventure begins.  Faced with a foreign environment, unfriendly creatures and a desperation to be home before Mother Penguin discovers him gone, he is beginning to get very worried.  Then help arrives from an unexpected source,  the Special Air Navigation Transport Authority …

Debi Gliori always tells a fine tale and illustrates it beautifully in a style that is so appealing to young readers and this one is no different.  Littlies will love being in on Father Penguin’s secret -there is nothing like feeling you are a special confidante – and they will have fun speculating whether Baby can keep the secret.  After all, he does tell his mum that they have had an adventure and brave Daddy flew them home. And everyone knows penguins can’t fly!! Did it really happen or is Father Penguin just a really good storyteller?

Something a little different for the Christmas Countdown but completely charming.

A Christmas Advent Story

 

 

 

A Christmas Advent Story

A Christmas Advent Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christmas Advent Story

Hannah Tolson

Ivy Snow

Bloomsbury, 2017

24pp., hbk., RRP $A21.99

9781408889787

Christmas is on the horizon – it’s been in the shops since September – and the excitement is beginning to mount so a Christmas Countdown is in order.  This is a brightly and boldly illustrated book with lots of flaps for the young child to lift as they explore the book.

While predominantly English with snowy weather, warm clothes and skating and tobogganing dominating the first few pages, nevertheless it still features many of the traditions that we follow trees, carols, presents and Santa so young children will relate to it.  It may even provoke discussion about why in a country where Christmas is at the height of summer, we still cling to the wintry theme with the traditional colours of red and green from the holly and the ivy remaining the most popular, snowy scenes on Christmas cards, turkeys and puddings and Santa is a very warm red suit. 

A good start to the Christmas Countdown readalong. 

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

Professor Astro Cat's Solar System

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Astro Cat’s Solar System

Dr Dominic Walliman

Ben Newman

Flying Eye Books, 2017

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781911171379

Professor Astro Cat is the smartest cat in the alley, in fact so much so, he’s got a degree in just about any discipline under the sun.  In this, the latest in a series to help younger readers understand science better, he takes young explorers on a journey around the solar system, visiting each planet and explaining its various features in simple to understand language and appealing illustrations that will answer the questions and pique the interest of those who want to know more.

From the time they are able to distinguish night and day, little ones want to know more and so this is an excellent beginning book that will help them understand how things work. In keeping with the demands of the young and the potential of the digital environment, there is also an app which has a four-star review from Common Sense Media

With the heavy emphasis on STEM in the curriculum and the NSW government investing $80 000 000 in STEM over the next three years this would be a worthwhile investment for your collection for littlies.

 

Lullabies for Bed Time

Lullabies for Bed Time

Lullabies for Bed Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lullabies for Bed Time

Susan Betts, Kerry Brown, Phil Cummings, Mike Dumbleton, Katrina Germein and Louise Pike

Doris Chang

Little Book Press, 2017

28pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780994385383

With illustrations and a palette as gentle as the rhymes within, this collection of bedtime poems by some of Australia’s leading authors is the perfect pull-the-curtains finale to the day.

There is so much research about the need for babies to hear the rhythm, rhymes and nuances of their natural language from their very earliest days that this would be the perfect gift to any new parents wanting to start their child on their reading journey from the get-go while establishing a bedtime story routine that should extend for many years.  And, with its uniquely Australian flavour it is one that will reach beyond those first few months well into preschool years.  

The term ‘lullaby” conjures up a feeling of being warm, cosy, safe and loved – and these do just that.