by Ludo Studios for ABC Kids
Penguin Random House, Australia, November 2020
2 to 5 year olds
32 page hardcover book
Bluey is a 6 year old blue heeler who has become much loved amongst toddlers and preschoolers through an ABC program. Bluey celebrating Christmas is likely to be a sure favourite amongst that age group!
Whilst waiting for Santa to arrive, Bluey, Muffin, Bingo and Dad invent a game called Vernadah Santa. They play a few rounds of this game, with a few issues along the way, and enjoy their Christmas Eve.
This was not exactly what I expected but it was fun to read.
The heelers have all come together on Christmas Eve and are waiting with as much patience as possible for Santa to arrive. It is in discussing how Santa will come in when there is no chimney on the house that leads to the invention of the game Verandah Santa. The game is fun and something young children will probably want to play as soon as they hear this story!
Through the game, there are some disputes amongst the young dogs which leads to ‘Santa only brings presents to good kids’ and some improved behaviour. This sends some nice messages to kids, like the value of apologising and accepting apologies, in a way that kids will understand. What I like more though is Bluey’s parents teaching Bluey why they should be nice to others – that it’s not just because Santa is watching. Kids hearing that lesson are more likely to learn consideration and self control than those trying to be nice in order to get a gift.
The book is long enough I could imagine it being a full episode of Bluey, making it long enough to have an actual plot and being interesting to four and five years olds plus adults. Yet it is still simple and short enough to suit all under fives – anyone who loves Bluey that is!
I like the attention to detail in the book, too. For instance, much of the family is lying around after a Christmas meal – many children will have seen that response in their own families! And I like the Koala up a pole, the parents holding hands and the kids unable to resist peeking during the game. The gifts given in the game were realistic, too – kids can all relate to remote controls, undies and toiler paper!
Would I recommend Bluey – verandah Santa? I think it is a lovely book with a nice message. It will definitely be loved by Bluey fans, and enjoyed by many other young children. So, yes, I recommend it.