The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas, by Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton

On the first day of Christmas, my best mate gave to me …
A platypus up a gum tree.

The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas

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
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN 9781742833675

Available from good bookstores or online from Fishpond.

Santa Koala, by Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton

Santa Koala, Santa Koala
Off in a flap like a mad cockatoo…

When Santa stops to rest near an Aussie billabong, Koala and his animal friends decide they will give him a helping hand by delivering all the presents. Koala saves the day – or does he?

This funny Christmas tale/song, set to the tune of Waltzing Matilda will be sung along with and enjoyed by preschool and primary school aged children from the first reading, aided by the CD recording which accompanies it. Santa Koala is written and performed by Colin Buchanan whose previous offerings have proven popular, and illustrated with plenty of humour and colour by Glen Singleton. Great for the classroom and for gift giving.

Santa Koala: Hardcover + Music CD

Santa Koala, by Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton
Scholastic Australia, 2010
ISBN 9781741696929

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Lamington Man, by Kel Richards & Glen Singleton

I’ve outrun Matilda’s kitchen cat,
At only half speed, I can do that.
So run, run as fast as you can.
You can’t catch me. I’m the lamington man.

When Matilda makes a little man out of lamington mix, she doesn’t expect him to run away. But that’s just what happens – the little man jumps off the tray and outruns first Matilda and then her cat, a dog, and the postman. But will he outrun the crocodile basking by the river?

The Lamington Man is an Australian take on the classic Gingerbread Man tale. Told in rhyming verse, by Kel Richards and illustrated with plenty of quirky humour by Glen Singleton, this is a fun addition to the Aussie Gems series from Scholastic.

Whether young readers are acquainted with the Ginger Bread story or not, they’ll enjoy this new version.

The Lamington Man (Aussie Gems)

The Lamington Man (Aussie Gems), by Kel Richards & Glen Singleton
Omnibus, 2009

Cindy-Ella, by Tom Champion & Glen Singleton

Cindy-Ella is a hardworking outback girl. Every day her stepmother and her stepsisters, Rochelle and Sheryle, keep her busy cleaning the dunny, feeding the budgies and cooking the meet-pies for tea. When an invitation arrives for the Gundaroo Sheep Shearers Ball, Cindy-Ella is told there’s no way she can go. But after the others have left, Cindy-Ella’s Fairy Godnanna arrives. With a few waves of her wattle branch, she has Cindy ready for the ball.

This delightful picture book is an Australian version of the Cinderella fairytale. With plenty of Aussie icons, including the wattle, blue thongs and a red kangaroo, this cute version is undoubtedly Aussie and is brought to life in humorous illustrations by Glen Singleton. Part of the Aussie Gems series, this hard cover offering, with cute flocked-sheep embellishments will be enjoyed by young Aussies.

Cindy-Ella: An Aussie Cinderella (Aussie Gems)

Cindy-Ella, by Tom Champion, illustrated by Glen Singleton
Scholastic, 2008

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Father Koala's Nursery Rhymes, by Kel Richards

Tom, Tom the piper’s son,
Stole a pig and away he run.
Tom got caught, the pig got away,
And Tom went sailing to Botany Bay.

There is no doubt that kids enjoy hearing silly poetry – the sillier, the better. And Father Koala’s Nursery Rhymes is full of silliness.

Australian versions of popular nursery rhymes fill the pages, with Three Fat Chooks (instead of Three Blind Mice), Here We Go ‘Round the Banksia Bush, Swaggie Put the Billy On and many more. The comic illustrations of Glen Singleton complement the humour of the rhymes and, in many instances, outshine it.

This is not great literature, but is something children will enjoy.

Father Koala’s Nursery Rhymes, by Kel Richards, illustrated by Glen Singleton
Scholastic, first published 1992, this edition 2005

And Kangaroo Played His Didgeridoo, by Nigel Gray

You should have come to the Great Aussie Do,
The guest list read like an Aussie Who’s Who,
And Kangaroo played his didgeridoo.

With a possum in a pink tutu, a well-dressed cockatoo and a gecko sporting a tattoo, the guest-list at this Outback shindig is both impressive and funny. Author Nigel Gray manages to keep the same end-rhyme working throughout the story, which will amuse young readers and listeners and help them to predict the rhyming words as well. Adult readers will find it easy to capture the rhythm of the piece.

The comic-style illustrations of Glen Singleton are a perfect complement and the tease of having just the end of Kangaroo’s didgeridoo visible on all but the last two illustrations will keep youngsters turning pages and avoids repetitiveness in the illustrations.

First released in 1995, it is easy to see why this offering continues to be popular. There is no great conflict or puzzle to be solved – it is simply a fine rhyme detailing the guest list and happenings at the party. The interest is in the variety of attendees and in the already-mentioned end-rhyme.

And Kangaroo Played His Didgeridoo, by Nigel Gray, illustrated by Glen Singleton
Scholastic, 1995, this edition 2005