Friday, 18 December 2009

Advent of Christmas books

My friend NZBookgirl said I was allowed to steal her idea of an advent calendar of books - but it's taken me a while to actually do something about it! There are so many Christmas books I like, I've tried to stay with these - but there are an equal number of horrid ones out there!

If you want more erudite and helpful reviews - and images - please visit NZBookgirl - mine are short & stream-of-consciousness.
1 December: Dear Father Christmas by Alan Durant & Vanessa Cabban (Walker, 2005).
A collection of letters between Holly and Father Christmas, starting on 1st December. The letters are included in envelopes - so it's just like enjoying Christmas - and presents - every day!
2 December: Chimney-less at Christmas by Anna-Miringa Scott & Errol McLeary (Scholastic, 2004).
A fun rhyming story of a young boy worried that Santa won't be able to visit because they have no chimney. I'm sure that this may be a real concern. I'm not sure - I had a chimney! NZ book.
3 December: Nanny Mihi's Christmas by Melanie Drewery & Tracy Duncan (Reed, 2005).
I have always appreciated the Nanny Mihi books. I love the fact that the author / publisher hasn't put in a glossary - for me this shows how far we have come - that Māori words and phrases have become an accepted part of our vocabulary. I love this book because it celebrates the family-centred Christmas I love. NZ book.
4 December: Ernest and Celestine by Gabrielle Vincent (Julia McRae Books, 1983).
Oh how I love this book! Little Celestine wants to celebrate Christmas, but Ernest is worried because they have no money. But, with love and thought, the two manage to have a party and a Christmas - with a special visitor. Sigh.
5 December: Christmas with Rita and Whatsit by Jean-Philippe Arrou-Vignod & Oliver Tallec (Zero to Ten, 2007).
Rita and her dog Whatsit prepare for Christmas. They write their wish lists, and decorate. The line drawings are simple but very effective.
6 December: I'm not Santa by Jonathan Allen (Boxer, 2008).
Baby Owl, star of I'm not cute! returns. While sledding in the snowy woods he meets a baby hare who insists that Baby Owl is Santa. Debate and temper tantrums ensue - ended with the arrival of the man himself. Fun and silly!
7 December: That's not my Santa by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells (Usborne, 2008).
A simple touch-and-feel board book. All of this series is fun and perfect for little ones.
8 December: It's Christmas? by Tina Burke (Viking, 2006).
A fun and realistic look into the preparations needed for Christmas. Personal favourite illustration? Baby crying on Santa's knee for photo.
9 December: Morris's disappearing bag by Rosemary Wells (Dial Press, 1975).
Morris's siblings get cool presents for Christmas - [ice] hockey set, make up set, chemistry set - and all Morris gets is... a teddy bear. While his siblings play - and share - their toys, he is deemed too little to play with them, and no one wants his bear. But, Morris finds a disappearing bag... We have done this for years as a Readers' Theatre during Christmas storytime. Love it!
10 December: Wombat divine by Mem Fox & Kerry Argent (Omnibus Books, 1995).
Wombat desperately wants to be in the nativity play - but he doesn't suit any role... until bossy Emu declares he can be Baby Jesus.
11 December: Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera (Harcourt Brace, 1999).
Sophie's great-aunt is a mystery. When Sophie shows she is more about the receiving than the giving, Auntie Claus takes her in hand and introduces her to the family busines... With a surname of Kringle, it's not that hard to imagine what it is.
12 December: The Christmas caravan by Jennifer Beck & Robyn Belton (Scholastic, 2002).
Oh how wonderful! Simon sess a competiton for the best-decorated Christmas house and wants to enter the caravan where he lives with his mother. But there isn't money for flash lights - so Simon takes matters into his own hands, and decorates the caravan his own way. A true testament that money does not equal Christmas spirit. NZ book.
13 December: Marta and the manger straw by Virgina Kroll & Robyn Belton (Zonderkidz, 2005).
At Christmas service, Marta is given a piece of straw from the manger - for luck. As she goes home, she breaks off bits and gives them to people in more need. But that night, it is her & her family that need luck. And all the luck - and love - she has handed out, returns. NZ illustrator.
14 December: Hettie's Christmas gift by Bernice Screech & Rita Parkinson (Scholastic, 2000).
Hettie, an artist, wishes to paint a special Christmas gift for her new grandchild in the UK. But each image she chooses doesn't work. She wants a Christmas scene that embraces both her sunny Southern hemisphere Christmas, and her grandchild's snowy one. NZ book.
15 December: Let it snow by Holly Hobbie (Little Brown 2007).
Toot and Puddle struggle to find the best presents for each other. They know the best ones are special, one-offs, and handmade.
16 December: Max & Ruby's Christmas tree by Rosemary Wells (Grosset & Dunlap, 2007).
Bossy big sister Ruby is teaching Max what is appropriate when it comes to Christmas tree decorations - but Max has his own theory. The joys of family.
17 December: Olive, the other reindeer by Vivian Walsh & J Otto Seibold (Chronicle Books, 1997).
A celebration of mis-heard lyrics! Olive mishears a Christmas song - she has always believed she was a dog - but now believes she must be a reindeer! She rushes off to the North Pole to fulfil her role and help Santa out!

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