toys

The toys’ night before Christmas – Christmas book review

The toys night before Christmas Front cover of The toys'night before Christmas picture book

by Dugald Steer
illustrated by Susanna Ronchi
Ken Fin Books, Collingwood, October 2004

Age group: 2-8 years
Format: hardcover picture book

I saw this book at a friend’s house when she encouraged me to read it, knowing that I love Christmas and books! I’m glad she did.

The story

It’s Christmas and Jack-in-the-box is disappointed that the toys don’t get any Christmas gifts.

My review

This is a beautiful book. Not only are Ronchi’s illustrations bright and colourful, the pages are textured with the main images embossed on the page. I found it impossible not to run my fingers over every page as I read this book.

The story is nice and simple – Santa forgets to bring gifts to the toys. Most of the toys accept they are toys, lol, but Jack is upset and sets about getting the toys acknowledged.

Jack sets out to make a Santa experience for the toy box residents, including a bird-pulled-sleigh! It involves the toys all working together, especially once someone gets stuck in the chimney!

Every page has a sign of Santa to find, too. The story ends, unsurprisingly, with Santa making Christmas extra special for Jack and his toy friends.

inside pages of the book

Absolutely gorgeous book to have on display for Christmas!

Working as Santa’s Elfs

It had been a rough year money wise. Christmas Eve was here and there wasn’t going to be anything under the tree. Luckily the kids were all small and probably wouldn’t even realize that Christmas had come without a visit from Santa.

I decided to at least bake some cookies for the holiday. Mainly to lift my own spirits.

I was just taking out the last pan when my brother-in-law showed up. He helped pack up the 3 children and fresh baked cookies so we could spend the night and Christmas day with the rest of the family.

After getting all the kids asleep for the night, he proceeded to open his closet which was piled to the ceiling with boxes. He started to pull stuff out handing it to us. It was toys! He worked for a donation center. All the toys had been donated but rejected because they weren’t in very good shape.

tools for reconstructions (sewdriver, thread, pliers & glue)Until the wee hours of the morning we fixed and rebuilt cars, dolls, stuffed bears and tricycles.

When we were finished there was more toys than all our kids needed. My husband and his brother loaded the extras in the car and using a list my brother had gotten ahold of, took off and left presents at doors of other struggling families with small children.

The next morning watching the kids tear open the gifts made me happy but the fact of what we had accomplished made me feel the happiest. Really felt like one of Santa’s elfs.

Retired toymakers helping Santa in Africa

I read a story about some men in Brisbane who are making toys for kids in Africa. Just little wooden blocks and trucks, but for kids who are sick in a poor place so usually just play with blown up gloves which is too sad.

Even nicer, some nurses from Brisbane are taking the toys to Africa and giving them straight to kids’ hands on Christmas morning – not just sending a brown box.

Smile from young nurses with gifts and things to teach local nurses will make a lovely Christmas so me gratitude to retired men and nurses if that ok.

Wooden blocks with Santa images

Wooden blocks can be used many ways by young children

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