On the first day of Christmas, my best mate gave to me …
A platypus up a gum tree.
Whilst not the first Aussie version of the famous Twelve Days of Christmas song, The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas is a delightfully Australian offering, with lots of images of the best of Australia, and Australian summer. The lyrics (and illustrations) are filled with cheeky chooks, snags (sausages), rusty utes, meat trays and more – and the refrain of a platypus up a gum tree.
The illustrations, by Glen Singleton bring all these to life plus more, with extra items hidden in the illustrations for readers to find – including giddy goannas, red-nosed boomers, Christmas crocodiles. Accompanied by a CD recording of singer/songwriter Colin Buchanan, this hard cover offering would make a great Christmas gift and would also be welcomed for classroom use.
The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas, by Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton
Available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.
All the other kangaroos,
Thought him rather shy and small.
They didn’t think poor Brucie,
Could be any help at all…
Brucie is a small joey who isn’t brave and is not good at any of the Christmas things the other kangaroos can do. So, when Christmas time comes, he feels sad and left out. But when Christmas Eve comes and it’s foggy and cloudy, it is Brucie who comes up with a solution.
Brucie Saves Christmas! is a fun rhyming tale for Aussie kids. A sequel to An Aussie Night Before Christmas, it also has some parallels with the story of Rudolph, with the odd man (or, in this case kangaroo) out, being the very one who can save Christmas. At the end of the story, there is also a song about Brucie, to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer.
With humorous illustrations by Michelle Pike, this is sure to appeal to youngsters and would make a great Christmas gift.
Brucie Saves Christmas! by Yvonne Morrison and Michelle Pike
This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
’Twas the day before Christmas
And in his beach shack,
Santa was snoozing,
Flat out on his back.
‘Shake a leg, love,’
Sheila Claus said.
‘Time to get ready
For the big night ahead.’
It’s the day before Christmas and Santa is in a tizz. He still needs to wrap the presents, check the ute and choose his roos. Will he get everything done in time?
This humorous offering is a poetic prequel to An Aussie Night before Christmas and, like the former, is filled with uniquely Australian references, both in the text and the illustrations. Santa wraps prezzies, dresses in grouse bright clothes and has a cuppa and a lamington before he heads off for his night’s work.
An ideal gift for a young Aussie, and wonderful for classroom sharing in the lead up to Christmas.
An Aussie Day Before Christmas, by Kilmeny Niland
Each year Santa likes to have some fun
a chance to get some rest and sun;
he spins his globe for inspiration
and finds a perfect destination…
Following on from the release of the picture book Santa’s Aussie Holiday, Christmas 2008 sees the release of a companion activity book. With a range of Christmas activities, some of which are completed in the book, and others for which the book includes instructions, there is plenty to keep kids busy before and after Christmas.
Activities include dot to dots, puzzles and writing activities, as well as things to make including an origami penguin and homemade Christmas biscuits.
Sure to be a favourite are the centre of book stickers – there are eighty plus of them featuring Santa, reindeer, sleighs, utes, kangaroos and more. There is also a colour double spread with which to create a sticker scene.
This would make a lovely Christmas present, or a pre Christmas treat.
Santa’s Aussie Holiday Activity Book, by Maria Farrer and Anna Walker
Each year Santa likes to have some fun,
a chance to get some rest and sun;
he spins his globe for inspiration
and finds the perfect destination…
We all know that Santa lives amidst the ice and snow at the North Pole, but when Christmas is over he deserves a little rest, so he heads down to Australia for some fun. His reindeer are left at the Australia Zoo while he tours the country, surfing, scuba diving and more.
Santa’s Aussie Holiday sees Santa touring Australia, from the Great Barrier Reef to Rottnest Island, as he takes a well-earned break in the days after Christmas. The illustrations emphasise the whimsy of the piece, with little details such as the pink galahs in the grasses near Uluru, and the emu and its chicks running alongside Santa’s ute, providing plenty for the reader to discover.
A fun offering with rhyming text and a true-blue Aussie feel, this would make a lovely Christmas gift for a child aged three to six.
Santa’s Aussie Holiday, by Maria Farrer and Anna Walker
’twas the night before Christmas
there wasn’t a sound.
Not a possum was stirring;
no-one was around.
Since it was first published in 2005, An Aussie Night Before Christmas has been one of Australia’s most popular Christmas offerings. Now this title is available in a pop up format, certain to delight young Aussies.
With the text an Australianised version of Clement Moore’s famous A Night Before Christmas, the book is filled with Australian images – from Santa arriving in a ute, to thongs, farm dogs and gum trees. The pop up elements are delightful, including the outback house, a big Christmas tree, kangaroos with wagging tails and Santa sliding down the aforementioned gum tree.
This would make a great Christmas gift, appealing to kids aged 2 to 8, though as with any pop up book, the smallest readers may find the pop ups just too tempting.
An Aussie Night Before Christmas Pops Up, by Kilmeny Niland and Yvonne Morrison
We wish you a ripper Christmas
A full-bore ripper Christmas
A dead-set ripper Christmas
And a snappy New Year.
Like it or not, Christmas is coming, and it won’t be long before you start hearing Christmas songs playing in shopping centres, schools, and even your home. This year, instead of singing of snow and sleigh rides, how about focussing instead on Australian traditions such as barbecues, fire trucks and utes?
In Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas, Bucko and Champs (aka Colin Buchanan and Greg Champion) share ten uniquely Australian Christmas songs, many sung to familiar tunes. From Deck the Shed With Bits of Wattle and We Wish You a Ripper Christmas (see excerpt above), to Australians Let Us Barbecue, sung to the tune of the national anthem, there is plenty here to tickle the funny bone of Aussies young and old, and, importantly, to get them singing along. The accompanying CD means there’s no excuse for not joining in, and the blokey voices of Bucko and Champs mean there are no high notes to strain for.
Presented as a hardcover picture book, with colourful, humorous illustrations by Kilmeny Niland, this is a durable offering which will last many Christmas seasons and become a family favourite. It is also suitable for school use, especially for teachers searching for something different for end of year assembly items. Beaut stuff.
Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas, by Bucko and champs, illustrated by Kilmeny Niland
The 2005 offering An Aussie Night Before Christmaswas a runaway success. Now, in time for Christmas, Scholastic has followed up with two activity offerings for fans of the picturebook.
An Aussie Night before Christmas Sticker Book includes text and illustrations from the original picturebook, with stickers for children to complete the scenes. Readers can add Santa to the night sky, festoon the house with lights and decorate the Christmas tree, with over 80 stickers to use for these tasks.
An Aussie Night before Christmas Activity Book features activities for slightly older children, including word searches, art and craft and even recipes. There are 32 pages of activities developing skills in counting, discrimination and more.
This pair is loads of fun and would make a good addition to a gift of the original picturebook, or even on their own.
An Aussie Night before Christmas Activity Book and An Aussie Night before Christmas Sticker Book , both by Kilmeny Niland and Yvonne Morrison
Scholastic Australia, 2006
Dashing through the bush, in a rusty Holden ute,
Kicking up the dust, esky in the boot.
Kelpie by my side, singing Christmas songs,
It’s summertime and I am in my singlet, shorts and thongs.
The words to this one will be familiar to most Australians – Aussie Jingle Bells has been sung at concerts, Christmas pageants and more for several years. Now, though, singer Colin Buchanan (who some will recognise from Playschool) teams with illustrator Nick Bland, to present the song in a hardback picturebook format, with plenty of Aussie scenery and a CD recording of the song.
This is a wonderful Christmas treat which kids and parents alike will enjoy for years.
Aussie Jingle Bells, by Colin Buchanan and Nick Bland
Scholastic Press, 2006
With shops full of tinsel and presents, it’s pretty obvious Christmas is on its way. But there’s a catch. Alongside the tinsel and lights, are scenes of snow, plum puddings and all the trappings of a Northern Hemisphere style Christmas. Here in Australia, Christmas usually entails cooling down and trying to escape the heat as we celebrate this special event in the midst of our summer.
The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas, puts an Aussie slant on the old song, with partridges and maids a milking replaced with a kookaburra up a gum tree, wombats, possums and, of course, flies.
Accompanying the humorous text are colourful, funny illustrations with illustrator Heath McKenzie interpreting them in a unique way. The seven possums playing are in front of the TV with Playstations, and the six sharks are swimming in paddle pools.
This is a fun Christmas offering which will appeal to Aussie kids, but would also make a novel gift for overseas friends and family.
The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Heath McKenzie
Black Dog Books, 2006