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.

Mariella and the Stars, by Selena Hanet-Hutchins

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

In a story vaguely reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, Mariella is sent to her room because of misbehaviour.
The night the stars fell from the sky
Mariella had gone too far.
(She knew she had, right before Mum said so.)

Having been told she is not allowed to read, Mariella feels sorry for her behaviour. In the dark room she feelssmall and lost and afraid. That is, until she goes to the window and sees the shooting stars shining and twinkling as they fall from the sky. The stars give Mariella an idea. She attaches the glittery, fallen stars to her slippers. This turns them into tap shoes and she starts to dance to the music inside her. But then Mariella comes to realise it’s not fair to keep the starlight magic to herself.

This is a gentle and delightful story about creative use of imagination as Mariella deals with the consequences of her behaviour and learns to think of others. The text is made more attractive by the whimsical illustrations and brilliant use of colour. The starlit night scenes are particularly attractive and effectively convey the magic of the night.

Mariella and the Stars

Mariella and the Stars, Selena Hanet-Hutchins, Illustrated by Michelle Pike
ABC books, 2009
Hardcover $24.99
Age guide 3+

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

Letters to Santa, by Andrew Daddo, ill Michelle Pike

Dear Santa
Would you be a grizzle guts if you’d slept through every Christmas? I thought so. I always miss the food!
So I’d like an alarm clock set for dinnertime.
Even better, can you bring the dinner, too?
Thanks, Santa. I promise not to grumble at you. GB

Christmas is coming and, just like every year, letters to Santa are being written. But this year is different – because this tear the letters are from the animals of the world, and they have their own special lists of wants. The Grizzly bear (GB), for example, wants to be woken for Christmas dinner, while the Aussie roo wants some sunglasses for the glare of headlights on the highway.

This solid novelty format picture book is interactive, with each letter in an envelope reminiscent of its country of origin. Letters are slid out of the envelopes, but remain cleverly attached meaning they won’t be lost and are printed on solid card making them difficult to tear. The illustrations are bright and humorous, and there is plenty to explore from the postage stamp endpapers right to a surprise illustration on the back of book imprint page.

Plenty of Christmas fun here, this one will please kids aged four to eight, and possibly older.

Letters to Santa, by Andrew Daddo, ill Michelle Pike
Scholastic, 2008