3 to 6 year olds (and anyone loving the Gumnut babies!)
I love May Gibbs‘ gumnut babies! They are cute and so very Australian, so a Christmas book about them is very exciting!
And today seems the perfect day to post this review as it is the Gumnuts’ birthday – they are 100 today! The first edition of May Gibbs’ Gumnut Babies was published on 5 December 1916, with Snugglepot and Cuddleipie coming along soon after.
Snugglepot can’t wait for Christmas tomorrow but Cuddlepie still has a long list of tasks to complete.
This story has a bit of suspense in it (will Mrs Snake succeed in her mischief? What is Cuddlepie rushing off to do?) and ends with a positive message, of course. I like that Snugglepot is given a gift of friendship rather than a physical item, too.
The two gumnuts are quite different characters, with one being more like the adult and one more relatable for children. For instance, Cuddlepie does most of the preparations while Snugglepot pinches raspberries off the cake and searches for his Christmas gift when Cuddlepie is out 🙂 Yet there is no anger or reproach from Cuddlepie towards Snugglepot, giving the feeling of acceptance and understanding of their differences.
As expected for a Gibbs inspired book, the images are colourful, simple and yet detailed. Personally, I was amused by noting the place mats and pillow cases are much bigger than the clothes worn by our gumnut babies! Unfortunately, the discrepancy between the two images of Mrs Snake beside the Christmas tree jumped out at me (the decorations on the tree are not consistent across the images, with the star moving from the top tip to a little lower with different coloured ornaments around it and the frog) but it didn’t detract from the story and I doubt young children would notice.
I loved the little spots of humour in the book – wattle seed flavour resulting in a four pointed star, Mrs Snake being bopped on the head, and popping drinks in the creek are good examples.
Would I recommend it? How can I say no?! I love the gumnut babies and Christmas so it is a great combination, especially on their birthday! I absolutely think this should be in every Australian Christmas book collection.