book

Whose bum? at Christmas ~ Christmas book review

Whose bum? at Christmas Cover of whose bum at Christmas

by Heath McKenzie
Illustrated by Ada Grey
Lake Press, Melbourne, 2019

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 14 page board book with lift the flaps

Doing some Christmas shopping recently and I came across this cheeky little book which we’re giving to our young nephew. It was first published this August so it is quite a new Christmas book.

The story

It’s a board book so not much of a story other than trying to predict who owns the bum sticking out from the flap.

My review

My nine year old read this to her brother and I last night, and we all laughed!

Sure the kids found it a little easy to guess whose bum it was on most pages, other than the names (I mean it is a bit hard to know which reindeer is which from their bum and they expected the snowman was actually Frosty).

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing an elf

I like that each bum is sticking out from something different, be it a fridge, a gift or a Christmas pudding! And the kids just kept giggling at the bums, of course!

Inner page of whose bum at Christmas showing a reindeer

The pages are thick and sturdy so can cope with little fingers turning and opening the flaps, but the flaps themselves are obviously not as thick as a full board book so make a judgement on the child’s ability to treat books gently, or not!

 

Would I recommend it? It’s a bit cheeky, but that’s what makes it fun! SO yes I recommend it for little people, but perhaps put it away for visitors without a sense of humour!

Santa baby ~ Christmas book review

Santa Baby Cover of Baby Santa

by Smriti Prasadam-Halls
Illustrated by Ada Grey

Bloomsbury Childrens Books, United Kingdom, 2015

Age group: 2 to 5 year olds
Format: 32 page hardcover picture book

This book combines my love of books and my daughter’s obsessions with babies, so it was bound to be a favourite in our house!

The story

Santa’s young son and his young reindeer friend, Roo, are disappointed at not joining Santa on his big Christmas Eve trip.

My review

I fond the premise of this book cute – namely that Santa has a baby and Roo is a baby reindeer – presumably Rudolph‘s baby although this is not said or hinted at.

So Baby Santa is disappointed at not being old enough to go out in Santa’s sleigh and has to wave goodbye as Santa takes off with a sleigh full of gifts. It amused me that Santa sent the baby (really a young child!) to bed as you can’t get any gifts unless you get to sleep!

Inner pages of Baby Santa

They find some gifts, think Santa left them behind, so take off in their mini sleigh. After a couple of distractions (typical of a toddler or young child!), they get into trouble and {spoiler alert!} are rescued by Santa. As an adult I predicted who the left behind presents would belong to, but young readers will be surprised and amazed at the twist it gives to the story!

Inner pages of Baby SantaThe illustrations are clear and cute, the story is nicely paced and easily understood by young readers. My nine year old enjoyed reading it out loud – the only word she stumbled over was ’twas 🙂 – and loved the story itself.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes I do recommend it! Santa Baby is a lovely little story and young children will find lots they can relate to, with a bit of dreamed off excitement thrown in!

 

 

 

Can an elf earn scouting badges?

Tinkles had popped herself on the couch this morning reading my children’s cub and scout record books!

Tinkles sitting with a cub and a scout badge book

She had the books open at pages my children are working on – I thought maybe she was just checking up on their progress, but the kids thought that maybe she is trying to achieve the badges as well!

What do you think – was she checking up on the kids, or competing with them?

Christmas at Grandad’s Farm ~ Christmas book review

Cover of Christmas at Grandad's farm

Christmas at Grandad’s farm

by Claire Saxby
Illustrated by Janine Dawson
Five Mile Press, Scoresby, 2013

Age group: early primary school

Format: 32 page hardcover

This book I spotted in an op shop during the year and have finally got around to reading and reviewing it! I recognised Saxby’s name from the ‘meet…’ series about famous and worth Australians.

The story

The children arrive at Grandad’s farm on Christmas Eve in preparation for the full family celebration on Christmas Day.

My review

The story starts with (and repeats occasionally as a chorus) “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way” and is written in stanzas, so I found it impossible not to sing this book – I bet you have already sung some of it yourself having reading this sentence!

I loved the traditional Australian references – swimming in the creek, cramping into Grandad’s old ute, playing cricket on Christmas Day, scoffing lunch, and everyone collapsing in a stupor on the couch afterwards!

Inside pages of Christmas at Grandad's farm

As I’ve written before, it is important for children to relate to others through books and movies etc so finding a story and song that is about sunshine and BBQs rather than snow and sleds is great for those of us in the southern hemisphere! Let’s face it, it may be good for kids but I enjoy finding things that I can relate to sometimes too!

The illustrations are detailed so there is some fun finding interesting images (eg the old tyre swing).

We got this without the CD but did not miss it, especially as the Jingle Bells tune is so well known. However, hearing the entire song sung by Rusty Berther may be a fun element to add to the book – or any time you are listening to  Christmas music of course!

Would I recommend it?’ This is a lovely book, fun and fair dinkum, and although it was new to me, it felt familiar and ‘right – rhyming and fitting the Jingle Bells tune along with the Australian references, it feels like the Christmases I grew up with.

Inside pages of Christmas at Grandad's farm

I’m ready for Christmas ~ Christmas book review

I’m ready for Christmas cover of I'm ready for Christmas

by Jedda Robaard
Penguin Books, Australia, 2019

Age group: 1 to 4 year olds
Format: 14 page board book

Published just last month, this is a gorgeous Australian Christmas book that I found whilst looking for a gift for an almost one year old – I’m sure she’s going to love it!

The story

A young koala is enjoying the start of summer and preparing for her favourite time of year, Christmas.

My review

This is a lovely book on so many levels – it is Australian, about Christmas, is positive and is based in real life so kids can relate to it.

Our lead character is involved in fun things like decorating the Christmas tree and playing in a park, and more mundane tasks like cleaning, cooking and rearranging furniture! Young children will spot things that are happening in their own homes, which is both comforting and educational for them.

I also noted and loved that she wrote a letter to Santa, too!

koala writing a letter to Santa illustration

The pictures are much of the story of course, and are well worth spending time on. They are beautifully drawn and include lots of detail without being cluttered or overwhelming. Illustration is Robaard’s background, from learning graphic design to teaching children’s art, and it shows in this beautiful book. Inner pages of I'm ready for Christmas

Overall, the book is positive but I particularly like some of the little touches like our Koala thinking ‘about my friends and family and their favourite things too’ and making their gifts. Decorating the tree makes things look magic and the Christmas pudding recipe has been handed down through the generations.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely! This is perfect for any baby or toddler, through to pre-schoolers and maybe a little older.

 

Last day of advent calendars!

Yes, it is Christmas Eve, Santa is almost here and our Christmas count downs are just about done!

Ornament calendar

Given it is Christmas Eve, finding Santa behind the flap is perfect! This is one of my favourite ornaments from this set – it just works really well with the two pieces giving the impression of Santa’s rotund body and cheeriness!

The cute image underneath of Santa racing down a hill on a sled is fun, too.

Press out decoration Santa on the Christmas tree

 

Lego City

Like the press-out calendar, the Lego City calendar left Santa until Christmas Eve! It was not unexpected (Santa was also on day 24 in 2015, 2016 and 2017) but still fun to find and build Santa carrying his sack!

This is what Santa looked like before we put him together.

Santa and his sack, with the Christmas tree and presents behind.

 

Lego Friends

Unlike the other two advent calendars, Lego Friends did not finish with Santa or even a Christmas tree. Instead we made a lovely little train pulling a trailer carrying a letter (to Santa perhaps?)

Lego Friends train

Christmas book

Of course, we had to save The night before Christmas to read tonight in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Hopefully it will help put everyone to sleep nice and early…

Day 23, or Little Christmas Eve, is here!

Happy Little Christmas Eve, as they call it in Norway.

Ornament calendar

The hidden image tonight was cute – Merrit peering at a smiling bauble in a tree! We then made a red and orange bauble to hang on our tree.

finding a Christmas bauble decoration in the calendar

Lego City

The Lego City calendar produced a yellow helicopter which my son enjoyed putting together.

yellow Lego helicopter

Lego Friends

Tonight’s most exciting discovery, however, was the Christmas Tree in the Friends calendar.

Lego Christmas tree ornament

Christmas book

Our Christmas book is That’s good, that’s bad which the kids always enjoy, even if it is not my favourite Christmas story.

Day 22 – Christmas is close now…

Only two more flaps to open after tonight – we’re getting very close to Santa’s arrival now! Have you planned your snack to leave out for Santa yet?

Ornament calendar

We pressed out and created a shooting star for day 22. The picture underneath is cute, with two kids looking out a window at a shooting star – but I love that the neighbouring picture (from day 17) has Merrit and a reindeer also looking at the shooting star!

Shooting star ornament

Lego City

We made a little robot in the Lego City advent calendar tonight. The wind up key didn’t attach on the back as the instructions indicated though so my husband stuck it on the robot’s head instead!

small Lego robot on red background

Interestingly, there is a robot in the Christmas Collectables, too! I still don’t see the connection to Christmas, other than someone wanting one as a gift (but on that basis, EVERYTHING could be included!)

Lego Friends

Strangely, tonight’s Lego ornament is a microscope… well maybe not so strange if that is one of the decorations representing a Heartlake friend I guess (and I am more than happy if one of the Lego girls is into science as that is a great role model for kids).

Lego microscope ornament

Christmas book

And now we are going to settle down with our next Christmas book – Where’s Santa? I hope you enjoy your Christmas reading tonight, too!

Countdown – day 21!

Well that’s it for the school year – the last schools have now had their final days (yes, state schools in some states have had classes right up to today!) and summer holidays are officially here! I think that makes tonight’s advent calendar opening even more exciting for those kids, including mine!

 

Ornament calendar

So, to finish the school year, my kids discovered a candle decoration and a picture of a candle with hot chocolate and an orange (maybe the orange is for us summer Christmas people and the drink for our northern neighbours?)

press out candle decoration

Lego City

Time is ticking away and Christmas is edging closer, so a themed clock tower is a well timed find in the City advent calendar tonight!

Lego tower clock

 

Lego Friends

Day twenty-one and Christmas presents have arrived! Cute little gifts with a holder on the side for a string to hang them on the tree, my daughter is very happy with today’s find!

to Lego presents with stars on top

Christmas book

Tonight’s book to share is the toys’ night before Christmas which is such a beautiful book and somewhat appropriate as we are getting so close to Christmas Eve!

Advent count down reaches day twenty!

Wow, we’ve made it to day twenty now.

What has happened on the 20th December? Well, in 1699 Peter the Great changed New Year from 1 September to 1 January, Grimm’s Rumpelstiltskin was first published in 1812, It’s a wonderful Life (a classic movie played every Christmas) premiered in 1946, and Rosa Parks sat in a ‘white seat’ on a bus in 1956.

Ornament calendar

Our ornament calendar today produced a sack for Santa – the image clearly shows it is full as the elves are struggling to move it!

Santa's sack pressed out ornament hanging on a tree hear a sleigh

Lego City

My son likes this mini digging machine, but I’m not sure it will fit in with his mining Lego very well as it is so small!

Lego digging machine

Lego Friends

Tonight’s Lego ornament is pretty – a white snowflake with blue ‘waterdrops’ on the end to give it colour and interest – and fits in with the white Christmas model.

Lego snowflake ornament

Christmas book

And tonight’s Christmas book is Santa is coming to Australia! – and he is coming soon! It is a cute book and my kids love spotting places they can recognise – maybe we can get a map out tonight and they can trace Santa’s journey across Australia, too.

It’s Wednesday and it’s day 19 in our countdown

Wednesday, middle of the working week and heading for our last weekend before Christmas…

What Christmas cooking have you done this year? Maybe some edible gifts, a gingerbread creation, vanilla wreaths or perhaps some Turron.

Ornament calendar

Merrit holding a baby’s rattle – a very relevant ornament theme once you have read the accompanying story – and having her hand licked by a reindeer in the hidden image.

AN elf holding a baby rattle ornament

Lego City

The Lego City advent calendar’s flap revealed a lot of pieces tonight – my son formed them into two remote cars and two remote controllers, with a lo of spare pieces left over. I wonder how many kids will get a remote control car from Santa this year?

two Lego remote controls and matching cars

Lego Friends

We now have a gingerbread man ornament hanging up, thanks to the Friends calendar. He is quite cute and but I don’t think he’d be as much fun to eat as our gingerbread sleigh or gingerbread house!

Lego gingerbread man ornament

 

Christmas book

Tonight, my son is going to read us Wake up Bear! which I am truly looking forward to as I remember it being a special story we enjoyed last time we read it.

We’re onto day 18 in advent calendars

One week to go to Christmas! School, work, advent calendars and preparations are still going strong though, so let’s find out what our calendars provided for day eighteen…

Ornament calendar

Perhaps not a typical ornament, Santa’s hat is certainly a well known symbol of Christmas and good cheer!

collage of Santa's hat ornament pictures

Lego City

As there is a picture of this on the box, my son has been looking for this monster truck to come out of the calendar since day one!

Lego monster truck

Lego Friends

Following on from all the cupcakes on Sunday (day sixteen), the Friends ornament is a cake stand.

Lego cake stall

Christmas book

Tonight’s Christmas book is going to be Santa’s Husband which is such a great book for making us question perceptions and accepting alternatives. If you haven’t read it with your family yet, I suggest you read my review (so you know what to expect) and then read the book with as many children as you can!

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