The song goes “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” … and that is totally true for me. I love Christmas and the sharing of gifts and the festivities that accompany this time of year. And for us in the southern hemisphere it is often hot and dry – a theme that is often picked up in some of the very specific Christmas titles that are published here.
So the following are a few of the Christmas themed titles that were published by Australian authors and illustrators just in time for this Christmas. Some are very noticeably Australian in their content.
One of my favourite Christmas themed titles would have to be this lovely picture book created by the masterful team who created Diary of a Wombat.
“What is the mystery in the palace?” declare the royal dogs – the narrators in this title. Something strange is happening at the palace and the dogs can′t work it out. They can smell spicy cakes and fruit mince pies being prepared in the royal kitchen. The royal family are doing strange things with paper and outside there are strange cries (singing). Mysterious parcels are arriving and then, very strangely, a green tree is brought to the palace and placed in the royal study. Then the doors are shut and the dogs, along with most other palace residents, are shut out until the next morning when the Queen rings a bell and the door is opened to reveal a spectacular surprise.
Here is the story of the first time Christmas as celebrated with the traditions that we are now accustomed to — Christmas cards, paper hats, big puddings,cake and the glorious decorated Christmas trees.
The Down-Under 12 Days of Christmas Michael Salmon, Ford St
As indicated by the title of the book this is a very Australian 12 days of Christmas featuring Santa and Australia’s iconic animals. With surfing sharks, skiing snakes, dancing dingoes, leaping lizards and a heap more – including a kookaburra up a gum tree – this classic Christmas rhyme has a very Australian feel.
Santa’s Secret Mike Dumbleton & Tom Jellett Random House
So what does Santa get up to after all the presents have been delivered on Christmas Night? First he sleeps all Christmas Day and then…
when he wakes the time is right
For Santa’s secret winter flight.
And of course that winter flight with his reindeer and the sleigh takes him to sun drenched and hot Australia. Here he has an old beach shack with a place to hide the reindeer. And now he can open his very last present and join in a great Aussie summer tradition! An adorable Christmas picture book with a cheeky Australian twist.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Star P. Crumble & Louis Shea, Scholastic
An old lady once swallowed a fly but now there is … an old lady who swallowed a star.
I don’t know why she swallowed that star
Now that’s bizarre!
This old lady has a rather large appetite and swallows so many things to do with Christmas … a stocking, an elf, the fairy lights and a whole lot more! But what will she swallow last to make her pop?
There will be much chanting of this rhyme around the Christmas tree this year!
The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas Colin Buchanan & Glen Singleton Scholastic
Once again a wonderful array of Australian characters like jackaroos, dingoes, cheeky chooks (chickens), a sweaty swagman as well as very Australian icons like snags (sausages) and meat trays are the stars in this rendition of the 12 days of Christmas. Of course Santa is part of the countdown and he is surfing! There are heaps of things to find in the whimsical illustrations and this book also comes with a CD for a bonus singalong at the Christmas table!
For very young readers moving on from picture books comes a new title in the Hey Jack series:
The Lost Reindeer Sally Rippin, Hardie Grant Egmont
There’s one more sleep till Christmas. Jack can’t wait to give his best friend Billie her Christmas present that he made all by himself! But when Billie gives Jack a present all of a sudden he is embarrassed by his home made present and wishes he could give her a better one, even though Billie loves Jack’s present.
Now Jack and Billie are off to Carols by Candlelight and Jack is wearing his reindeer antlers that make everyone laugh. And while at the carols Jack finds a truly unique and amazing present that he can give to Billie.
Just a lovely read.
And for slightly older readers:
Wreck the Halls (Lightning Strikes series) Meg McKinlay, Walker Books
It’s the holidays and Nathan’s mates Weasel and Ronnie have passes to the massive theme park Wild World. Nathan wants to get there too … but the passes cost a lot of money – which he doesn’t have but it’s christmas time and that means christmas lights and decorations and prize money for the best neighbourhood house adorned with christmas lights. So with a little hep from his mates, and supplies from the neighbours, and a little knowledge about satellites, the internet and voting online Nathan and his mates set out to win the $500 prize money … with some very surprising results.
Fast paced and funny the Lightning Strike books are great for boys.
So these are the Christmas themed titles that popped onto my desk. Hope they are also shared under many Christmas trees this year.
This post also appeared on the blog Cynsations.