So Gross Christmas

Is pudding really made with pig fat?
Do reindeer really eat goose poo?
Why is Santa so fat?

Only kids could go looking for gross facts about Christmas – but there is no denying that children do enjoy anything gross, so why not let them look at Christmas through a whole new light? So Gross: Christmas answers dozens of questions about germs, mess, body odours and more, all with a Christmas slant.

Produced by the team from D-Mag, answers to the questions are scientifically accurate, so kids are learning while they are laughing, which has to be a good thing. There are also some gross Christmas gifts for kids to make – including green slime and fake brains – jokes and more.

Perfect as a stocking-filler.

So Gross: Christmas, DMAG
Scholastic Australia, 2006

Slinky Malinki's Christmas Crackers, by Lynley Dodd

brilliantly bright,
the tree was a truly
someone was waiting
to meddle and play,
to get up to tricks
in his usual way.

Slinky Malinki is surely one of the world’s best loved cats – certainly amongst those adults and children who have been fortunate to meet him in Lynley Dodd’s picture books. Christmas Crackers sees Slinky pitted against a Christmas tree. He waits till the family has finished decorating then creeps out to explore – with hilarious results.

Dodd has a brilliant way of blending the rhyme and rhythm of her stories with delightful illustrations, filled with detail. They are fun for adults to read aloud, and children just adore listening to them.

This is a real Christmas treat.

Slinky Malinki’s Christmas Crackers, by Lynley Dodd
ABC Books, 2006

Wombat Divine, by Mem Fox

Wombat loved Christmas. He loved the carols and the candles, the presents and the pudding, but most of all he loved the Nativity Play.

When Wombat goes to the auditions for the Nativity, he tries out for every part – from the Archangel Gabriel to the Three Kings, and even Mary. But someone else is chosen for every part, because Wombat is too big or too heavy, or too short or too sleepy. Finally, just when it looks like Wombat is going to miss out completely, Bilby has an excellent idea. Wombat could be the Baby Jesus. When the night of the play comes, everyone is nervous, except Wombat. He plays his part to perfection – even falling asleep.

Wombat Divine is a touching Christmas story from one of Australia’s best known picture book authors, Mem Fox. The richly coloured illustrations, by well-known artist Kerry Argent, bring the Australian animals to life in a perfect complement to the tale.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary since the book was published, Scholastic have produced a special edition with metallic highlights on the cover.


Wombat Divine, by Mem Fox, illustrated by Kerry Argent
Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia
First Published 1995, this edition 2005

The Nativity, by Julie Vivas

And so it was that, while they were there, the day came that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The biblical language of this magical version of the story of the birth of Christ, will not be at all inaccessible for young listeners, because author/illustrator Julie Vivas, couples the text with beautiful illustrations which provide a gentle but stunning interpretation.

The Nativity was first released in 1986 and has had numerous reprints since, both in Australia and overseas. It was short listed for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year, is a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honour Book and an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book. Nearly twenty years on it is just as breath-taking in its simplicity. This new edition has been redesigned and the artwork re-scanned and reproduced.

This is an awesome offering from Australia’s finest illustrator.

The Nativity, illustrated by Julie Vivas
This Edition Omnibus, 2005
First Published 1986

Children's AudioBook Review: Christmas Stories for Kids

There are plenty of Christmas tapes and cds on the market, but this production offers something a little bit different.

With a combination of stories, song and humour, this is great for Christmas listening at home as well as being suitable for the primary classroom.

On side one Sophie Lee reads the delightful Eloise at Christmastime, while Mark Mitchell, whose comedy will be well known to many parents, tells the hilarious tale of a Crisis on Christmas Eve. On the reverse side, Jane Clifton signs an Australian version of the Twelve Days of ChristmasA Bellbird in a Flame Tree, from the book by Kilmeny Niland, and Kym Lardner (and friends) add a fun, yet beautiful, version of the nativity story.

Christmas Stories for Kids is a great offering from ABC Audio and would be a thoughtful gift for the kids on your list.

Christmas Stories for Kids, with Jane Clifton, Kym Lardner, Sophie Lee and Mark Mitchell
ABC Audio, 2001

Six White Boomers

If you are an Australian parent then there is a good chance that you grew up singing Six White Boomers at Christmas time. This song, and the legendary singer Rolf Harris, have been a art of Christmas in Australia since 1960. This Christmas you can share the magic with your children.

Rolf Harris and Scholastic Australia (under its Margaret Hamilton imprint) have combined to produce the song lyrics in a beautiful picture book with accompanying compact disc.

The book includes the full lyrics to the song, written by Rolf and his friend John D. Brown, with watercolour illustrations by Bruce Whatley bringing the song to life.

The CD includes a recording of the song so that you and your young ones can sing along with Rolf. And, if you want more, there are two bonus Rolf Harris tracks – Christmas in the Sun and Pavlova

An introduction at the beginning of the book explains how Rolf came to write the song. he explains that he was always amazed to hear Australian sing songs about snow and icicles in the middle of Australian, and so set out to write a song more appropriate to our climate and culture. The longevity of this song’s success indicates that he struck a chord with fellow Aussies.

Every Australian child deserves a copy of this book – one of the few Christmas songs written especially for Australian children. Friends and relatives overseas may also enjoy this piece of Australiana.

Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris and Bruce Whatley
A Margaret Hamilton Book from Scholastic Australia, 2001