Brucie Saves Christmas, by Yvonne Morrison & Michelle Pike

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!

Brucie Saves Christmas! by Yvonne Morrison and Michelle Pike
Scholastic, 2009

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

The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Heath McKenzie

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. First released in hardcover format in 2006, it has been rereleased this Christmas in board book format.

The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas [Board book]

 

The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas [Board book], illustrated by Heath McKenzie
Black Dog Books, 2009

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

The Aussie Night Before Christmas Board Game Book

’twas the night before Christmas
there wasn’t a sound.
Not a possum was stirring;
no-one was around.

Following on from the success of The Aussie Night Before Christmas hardcover, board book, pop up and activity book, this popular story has been rereleased as a board game book, containing both the story and 10 games for children to play.

The story is an Aussie version of Clement Moore’s poem The Night Before Christmas, complete with kangaroos, utes and thongs. At the back of the book there are boards for six different board games, and punch out cards for four card games, as well as tokens and instructions for all ten games.

An Aussie Night Before Christmas Board Game Book is a wonderful Christmas offering for young Aussies, or for sending overseas as an Aussie flavoured Christmas gift.

Lots of fun.

An Aussie Night Before Christmas

An Aussie Night Before Christmas Board Game Book, by Yvonne Morrison and Kilmeny Niland
Scholastic Australia, 2009

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

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, by Kevin Whitlark

On the first day of Christmas
My true love sent to me…
A fat cat in a fur tree.

It’s Christmastime and all the dogs are busy getting up to all kinds of mischief. Each day brings a new batch of doggy fun – two chewed up slippers, three French poodles, four pointers pointing and more. Using the repetitive pattern of well known song The Twelve days of Christmas, the book encourages kids to join in, whilst also providing lots of silliness both in the words and the doggy illustrations

On each spread the new set of dogs or mischief is illustrated around the text on the left side, whilst on the right the dogs from the previous spreads cavort over, under and around the Christmas tree. There are dogs of different sizes, shapes and colour, doing doggy things such as catching Frisbees or fetching balls, as well as more unlikely, humorous things such as playing cards, fencing or playing instruments.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas is a lively offering which will appeal to children from toddlers and through primary school.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, by Kevin Whitlark
Scholastic Australia, 2009

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

I Love Christmas, by Anna Walker

Ollie the Zebra has won the hearts of lots of young Aussie readers with his ‘I Love’ stories. This Christmas, he appears in a new offering, I Love Christmas, telling us what he loves about Christmas.

From decorations and tinsel, to gluing glitter and helping make the Christmas cake, Ollie loves everything about Christmas – but what he loves best of all is to sit with his dog, Fred, and listen for Santa’s sleighbells.

I Love Christmas is as gentle and beautiful as earlier titles in the series, including I Love My Mum and I Love to Sing. With gently rhyming text, and watercolour illustrations, this small format hardcover book is perfect for babies and toddlers, and would make a lovely first Christmas gift.

I Love Christmas

I Love Christmas, by Anna Walker
Scholastic, 2009

This title can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Roland Harvey's Big Book of Christmas

Kids love Christmas, but many children don’t know a lot about the traditions behind the celebration of Christmas. In this child-friendly book, Roland Harvey explores the origins of the Christmas feast, from the story of the first Christmas, to the selection of the date and more, before exploring the different ways that Christmas is celebrated around the world. There are traditional and more modern recipes from each region, for children to test out.

In the second part of the book, there are a wide range of Christmas activities for kids to try out – including making simple gifts and decorations and games to play on and around Christmas. There are also the words and musical notation for a range of Christmas songs, and the bonus of a sheet of gift tags.

This informative number would be a great offering in the lead up to Christmas, and would also be a wonderful classroom tool for exploring Christmas traditions.

Roland Harvey's Big Book of Christmas

Roland Harvey’s Big Book of Christmas, by Roland Harvey
Allen & Unwin, 2008

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

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle, by Glenda Millard

One orange evening,
tiger-striped with blackened trees,
a pig sat, reminiscing.

In the wake of a bushfire which has ravaged his owners’ home, Applesauce the pig struggles to feel any joy in Christmas. Wise Owl tells Applesauce that Christmas comes from the heart, but Applesauce’s heart is heavy. He wants joys for his people, Marigold and Joe. And, in the final pages of this delightful tale, Applesauce learns Owl’s lesson as he sees a Christmas miracle unfold.

This poignant tale is written in prose, yet has a delightful lyrical quality, with every word tenderly wrought. Adult and child readers alike will feel Applesauce’s melancholy in the words, as well as the whimsical yet gently muted illustrations by Stephen Michael King.

This is a book not just for Christmas but for any day – and it is a heart-warming tale with a message for everyone.

Divine.

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle, by Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King (ill)

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

An Aussie Day before Christmas, by Kilmeny Niland

’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
Scholastic, 2008

Christmas With the Wiggles

Christmas is almost here, and in the Wiggle House Murray, Sam, Jeff and Anthony are busy decorating the tree and wrapping presents. As their friends arrive to help, the fun really starts.

Sure to please young Wiggle fans, this little book shows the Wiggles dong things kids will relate to – decorating the tree, counting down the sleeps until Christmas, and even poking at presents to guess what’s in them. There are also more Wiggly type activities, such as performing at carols in the park, and Jeff falling asleep. The illustrations are bright and the text is simple. No surpises here – just more of the Wiggly formula which young fans enjoy.

Christmas With The Wiggles

Christmas With the Wiggles
ABC Books, 2008

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

A Christmas Carol, By Charles Dickens, ill by Robert Ingpen

It is very difficult to write a review of a book which simply takes your breath away, as this one does. It is so awe-inspiring as to make any attempt to comment on techniques used or the quality of the finished product feel a little amateurish. What does one say about a masterpiece?

The book in question is a new release version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Australia’s own Robert Ingpen. This hardcover offering feels like a classic – with a slipcover featuring a miserable Scrooge staring at the reader, and pages printed on strong parchment pages. Most illustrations are coloured, but have muted tones which make them feel as if they were rendered in Dickens’ time, and others are sepia toned. There are double page spreads and smaller illustrations, but every spread has at least one illustration.

At the front of the book, readers are given a glimpse into the history of the story, and an author’s note, as well as a back of book list of further reading and a bonus short story (also illustrated), Dickens’ A Christmas tree.

This is a real collector’s piece, but its collectability should not prevent it also being presented to children to read and to love. It would be a wonderful Christmas gift.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
Walker Books, 2008