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Posts from the ‘Christmas’ Category

Christmas themed titles

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.

queen-victoria-s-christmasQueen Victoria’s Christmas Jackie French & Bruce Whatley, Angus & Robertson

“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-christmasThe 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-secretSanta’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-starThere 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-christmasThe 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-reindeerThe 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-hallsWreck 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.

Christmas Picture Books

I Love Christmas … and these are just beautiful Christmas picture books to share with readers of many ages.

The Watchmaker Who Saved Christmas Bruce Whatley (Random House)
This is a beautiful Christmas tale of Santa, a watchmaker and young boy and a broken watch.
Kids all over ask how Santa can deliver presents all over the world in just one night and here we find out – it is all because of one very special watch that Santa owns and that watch slows down time!! But what happens when that watch is broken – it has to go to a talented watchmaker who uses all his skill to repair the broken wheel.

The ABC Book of Christmas Mark Macleod & various illustrators (ABC)
This beautiful book faithfully retells the story of the very first Christmas; of the three wise men, the shining star, the baby in the manger, the flight to Egypt and of course the shepherds. It is a really fine retelling.
What makes this book extra special are the stunning double page illustrations by each of the contributing illustrators – including Wayne Harris, Stephen Michael King, Ann James, and Anna Walker

Twelve Dogs of Christmas the Kevin Whitlark (Scholastic)
With DOGS and not days in the title you know that this book is going to star DOGS in these very special twelve days. This Christmas the dogs are preparing the Christmas tree and a little chaos develops.
On the first day of Christmas my true dog sent to me – a fat cat in a fur tree … and there are also dogs a digging and pooping and licking and ffencing and skating and heaps more that will make the readers of all ages giggle with laughter under the Christmas tree.

Brucie Saves Christmas Yvonne Morrison & Michelle Pike (Scholastic)
This is a delightful sequel to An Aussie Night Before Christmas. It is also told in rhyming verse and it is FUN!
When Brucie the joey is born much anticipation surrounds his eventually joining the troop and pulling Santa’s sleigh … but Brucie is timid and shy and small and the other roos don’t think that he “Could be any help at all”. But when catastrophe strikes one Christmas Eve and a fog rolls in … you know that it is Brucie who saes the day – or night!

I Love Christmas Anna Walker (Scholastic)
This is such a treat and perfect for Christmas – and to add to the collection of sweet Ollie and Fred books. This book is just perfect for small hands and for sharing the joy of friendship at Christmas!
In this title we find out all wonderful things that he Ollie loves about Christmas including crinkly paper, the star, the donkey and the baby asleep, twinkling lights and baking cakes – but of course the best thing is listening for Santa’s reindeer with Fred!

Share one of these books with someone close and Merry Christmas all!

Australian Christmas Books

It’s getting close to that time of year again because they have started arriving in book stores all around the country – Australian Christmas books and here is a smattering of those on offer. They are great and will make wonderful gifts for friends overseas too becuase these books (mostly) are very very Australian!

I Love Christmas Anna Walker (Scholastic)
The Ollie and Fred books are just beautiful and just in time for Christmas out pops this title.
This time Ollie is sharing all the things that he loves about Christmas; from the crinkly paper to his Christmas decorations, baking Christmas cake, singing about Santa and twinkling Christmas lights.
A gorgeous Christmas gift book for youngsters of all ages.

An Aussie Day Before Christmas Activity Book Kilmeny Niland (Scholastic)
What do you do on Christmas day after all the feasting and all the present unwrapping and giving and sharing and fun? You take out this book and then spend hours filled with Christmas Day activities, all based around the Aussie Day Before Christmas picture book. There are word finds and spot the difference games drawing pages and anagrams and even a page to write a story. There are also stickers to use, recipes, construction activities and a whole lot more.
This should be in many Christmas day stockings!

An Aussie Night Before Christmas Board Game Book Yvonne Morrison & Niland Kilmeny (Scholastic)
This title appeared last year and was hugely successful but this latest evolution takes it to a new dimension. This time not only is the title a delightfully executed picture book with lovely text and illustrations but the book also contains six wonderful Christmas themed board games (with instructions), stickers and playing cards. This book is just perfect for family reading on Christmas day and also for taking care of those “what do we do” hours after the Christmas feast.

Brucie Saves Christmas Yvonne Morrison & Michelle Pike (Scholastic)
This is the sequel to An Aussie Night Before Christmas – this time its Brucie the joey who saves the day.
But how can a roo who loves reading books and doing science reports, who can’t tie presents or cook puddings and who definitely can’t fly like all of Santa’s other roos save the day?
All will be revealed on the night before Christmas when a blinding storm rolls in that will surely stop Santa delivering his presents!

Australian Twelve Days Christmas Board Book Heath McKenzie (Black Dog Books)
This picture book is now a board book which is just right for little hands who love to grab and hold.
And of course it wouldn’t be the Australian twelve days of Christmas without 12 Australian animals, including emus, wombats crocs, penguins and
… a kookaburra up a gum tree!

Twelve Dogs Of Christmas Kevin Whitlark (Scholastic)
The traditional twelve days of Christmas has morphed into the twelve Dogs of Christmas and is filled with everything doggie. There are puppies pooping pooches playing canines skating labs licking …. and a fat cat in a fur tree!
It is a delightful interpretation of the original.

So dash along to your local independant books stores and grab these Christmas treats.

Christmas Books for This Christmas

Just 4 weeks away from Christmas Day so here are the delightful Christmas books that have popped up this year. Four picture books and the perfect Christmas activity book are here!

Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle Glenda Millard & Stephen Michael King (ABC Books)
This is just a wonderful reworking of the Christmas story – set in a very Australian setting with a little pig called applesauce that learns that Christmas comes from the heart. Beautiful illustrations. Great story. Wonderful present.

An Aussie Day before Christmas Kilmeny Niland (Scholastic Australia)
Before the NIGHT before Christmas comes the DAY before Christmas and this is the book that explains everything that happened on that day. This glorious picture book is from the creator of the hugely successful An Aussie night Before Christmas.
‘Twas the day before Christmas and in his beach shack,
Santa was snoozing flat on his back.
‘Shake a leg, love,’ Sheila Claus said.
‘Time to get ready for the big night ahead.’
This is the book that tells how Aussie Santa gets ready to deliver his presents.

Letters to Santa Andrew Daddo & Michelle Pike (Scholastic Australia)
Now what would the animals from around the world write in their letters to Santa at Christmas time? What presents would they request from Santa? The amazing and very surprising answers are in the pull-out letters that are in the pages of this delightful book.

Princess and Fairy: A Very Sparkly Christmas Anna Pignataro (Scholastic Australia)
Princess and Fairy are back and this time its a very sparkly Christmas. The keeps of Christmas have asked them to decorate The Christmas tree in time for the midnight display. There is a list of items to collect for the tree … which the reader has to find – and of course the real key to Christmas must be found.

Roland Harvey’s Big Book of Christmas Roland Harvey (Allen&Unwin)
This book swill keep the kids (both big and small) entertained all through Christmas Day and beyond – there are recipes to make (the Christmas Pudding recipe looks delicious), activities to complete, ideas for homemade gifts, song to sing and even stickers to stick on those last minute Christmas presents. There are stories about Christmas celebrations and traditions from around the world. And of course this had Roland Harvey’s humorous illustrations.

A Bush Christmas CJ Dennis & Dee Huxley (black dog books)
It is wonderful seeing classic Australian verse that has stood the test of time gloriously illustrated – and this is one of those books. This story still is classically Australian – a hot Christmas, with a burning sun, visitors dropping by and a hot kitchen preparing a Christmas feast. It is sure to make new readers giggle and smile and with the great illustrations the reader will giggle and smile even more. An Aussie Christmas book for an Aussie Christmas.

Have fun sharing these Christmas themed books.

on the radio

Thanks to James Valentine for having me on his radio program Afternoons on 702ABC last Monday … we chatted for half an hour about Australian kids books and especially about the new titles coming out this Christmas — and they even had live video streaming going!

So if you missed it these are some of the books that we mentioned:

Fanatastic Presents – new releases
Wizard of Rondo
The Kings of Clonmel – Rangers Apprentice 8
Boy from Bowral
The Final Curtain – Max Remy 10
Pencil of Doom
Chain of Charm
Secrets of Deltora
High Crime in Milk Bay

CHRISTMAS BOOKS – new releases
Applesauce & the Christmas Miracle
An Aussie Day Before Christmas
Princess & Fairy – A Very Sparkling Christmas
Letters to Santa
Roland Harvey’s Big Book of Christmas

The list with publication details will also shortly be on my website … and linked from here!

Have fun grabbing those Christmas books!

Christmas Books for Christmas

My computer tells me that there are 30 days left till the jolly red fat man plops down the chimney so here are some of the Christmas books for this year.

An Aussie Night Before Christmas Pops Up! Kilmeny Niland & Yvonne Morrison (Scholastic)
This classic aussie picture book is now a wonderful pop-up book that kids and collectors too will love! The pop-ups, sliding tabs and fold-outs are sturdy. There are surprises on every festive spread – even Santa’s boxer shorts!
This story of course is the wonderful aussie verison of Clement Moores tradional verse written in 1822.

Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas (Book & CD) Colin Buchanan, Greg Chapman & Kilmeny Niland (Scholastic)
Want to sing some rolicking Aussie carols this Christmas?
Then this is the book & CD for you where you can singalong to the songs by Bucko and Champs, the creators of the hugely popular ‘Aussie Christmas’ albums. And if by chance you don’t know the words to Deck the Shed with Bits of Wattle or the other songs then you can follow along with the picture book. This book and CD will have everyone joining in for a corker of an aussie Christmas singalong. As the swagman at the gate said on the first day of Christmas – Have a ripper Christmas mate!

Aussie Jingle Bells Activity & Sticker Book Colin Buchanan & Nick Bland (Scholastic)
Here’s the book to entertain the kids (both big and little) after all the present unwrapping and festing has been done. There are mazes, word finds, join the dots, puzzles galore, stickers to create a barkyard Christmas gathering and even Christmas Day recipes to make … Far out! Educational activities even on Christmas Day!

Santa’s Aussie Holiday Maria Farrer & Anna Walker (Scholastic)
So what does Santa do when he isn’t getting ready for Christmas? He travels around Australia of course enjoying our down-under activites as he visits a few our of iconic places!!

Billabong Bill’s Bushfire Christmas Kelly Gardiner & Jobi Murphy (Random House)
Recent Aussie Christmas times have had the bushfire or two so this Christmas picture book surely fits here as the drama of a fiery outback Christmas is brought to life!