Featured Reviews Christmas 2023

Featured Reviews from our Christmas 2023 mailout:

Author: Teresa Lagrange
Illustrator: Teresa Lagrange
ISBN: 9781761068041
Publisher: A&U Children's
Release date: 5 Oct 2022
Reading age: 2 to 5 years

Book Description: On the first day of Christmas, the Island gave to me, an owl in a Lilly Pilly tree. Australia's Christmas Island is home to hundreds of species of birds, native plants and wildlife, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. In this version of the much-loved Christmas song, we celebrate the unique birds that live on this wild and remote island from the bright-red plumage of the Frigatebird to the iridescent green of the Emerald Dove. Depicting the rare and special birds of this remote part of Australia, The Twelve Days of Christmas Island is a uniquely Australian Christmas book to be cherished and read year after year.

Novel Insight Review: An adapted version of the 12 Days of Christmas song featuring 12 birds from Christmas Island. Contains information about the birds and the Lilly Pilly, an Australian tree, with beautiful simple illustrations.

Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jon Klassen
ISBN: 9781529512779
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Release date: 4 Oct 2023
Reading age: 3 to 6 years

Book Description: The multi-award-winning duo of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen tackle a perennial question: how does Santa go down the chimney? When Santa arrives at a child’s house on Christmas Eve, does he go down the chimney feet first or headfirst? What if he gets stuck? What if there’s no chimney? Maybe he slides under the door, as thin as a piece of paper? Or is it possible he pours himself through the tap? What happens once he’s inside? Mac Barnett’s iconic talent for earnest deadpan humour and Jon Klassen’s irresistibly funny art honour this timeless question with answers both ridiculous and plausible, mounting in hilarity as the night continues. Channelling a child’s fanciful explanations, this latest collaboration by a bestselling team will find a secure spot among family Christmas traditions.

Representations: Shows a European/Western-style celebration of Christmas.

Novel Insight Review: Have you ever wondered how Santa fits down the chimney? In this comedic story, Mac Barnett ponders all the ways Santa could fit down the chimney. Does he turn into jelly? Does he fold himself into an envelope and slide under the door? Does he go head-first or feet-first? Does he bring treats for the dogs or night-vision goggles? Even though we will never know, as the story says, we're glad he can. A thought-provoking read filled with great questions and hilarious illustrations.

Author: Lana Spasevski
Illustrator: Joanie Stone
ISBN: 9781922930286
Publisher: Affirm Kids
Release date: 31 Oct 2023
Reading age: 5 to 8 years

Book Description: Say hello to Sadie ... a superstar baker with a big heart! In this book, Sadie needs to: surprise her class with Christmas cookie gifts make a berry pavlova for a Christmas Eve tea party build a gingerbread house masterpiece with her best friends But Sadie's sweet intentions do not always go to plan! Her cookie gifts are surprisingly messy. Her pavlova is a crackly catastrophe. And the gingerbread house starts to crumble! Can Sadie find a way to save the day? In these three Christmas stories (complete with recipes!) the unstoppable Sadie shows that any problem can be solved with generosity, kindness and, of course, a stockingful of Christmas spirit.

Representations: Intergenerational friendships: Sadie visits the nursing home with a pavlova and shares it with the elderly for Christmas.

Novel Insight Review: In this collection of Sadie stories, Sadie has three more adventures with her parents and friends, who all love baking. In Book 1, Sadie's cookies don't turn out as planned. Butter, her dog, licks the cookie dough Sadie carefully prepared, and the test cookies ooze all over the tray. Now Sadie has less than 15 minutes to make a new plan before the class party. Sadie decides to pack jars of the Christmas cookie ingredients so everyone can make their own. It's a huge success! In Book 2, Sadie and her family take baked goods to the nursing home, but Sadie's pavlova breaks apart. When Sadie realises her heart is also breaking, they decide to remould the pavlova into a heart shape and cover it with cream and strawberries. Everyone loves it! Finally, in Book 3, Sadie and her parents invite Arlo and Amber, Sadie's best friends, and their mum and stepdad to share their Christmas. While the gingerbread house doesn't quite work out as they hoped, they still have a lovely Christmas. These are simple stories aimed at first readers that include recipes and tips to help you bake.

Author: Rebecca Fraser
ISBN: 9781761111075
Publisher: Wombat Books
Release date: 1 Mar 2023
Reading age: 7 to 11 years

Book Description: When Cailin has to spend Christmas at her eccentric grandfather’s shack at Whitefoam Cove, her holiday plans are ruined. She barely remembers him, let alone knows him. Memories of her father are everywhere and, to make matters worse, she’s left her cricket bat at home. It’s going to be the worst summer ever. But there’s treasure to be found at Whitefoam Cove! Just when it seems she and Grandpa are finally making a connection, disaster strikes … and Cailin knows it’s all her fault.

Representations: Intergenerational friendship: Cailin and her grandfather bond while hunting for sea glass.

Novel Insight Review: Grief and disappointment can affect people very differently. Cailin had big plans for summer: hanging out with her best friend, playing cricket, and experiencing Christmas. When she finds out she will be spending her holidays with her grandfather in a shack by the sea, she’s very disappointed. Although she tries to be nice, she struggles to see how staying with an eccentric old man—who she barely knows—in a house with no internet could be a good thing. The more time they spend together, the more Cailin sees how her grandfather’s own grief at losing his son—her dad—many years ago has affected him. He has kept many things that once belonged to his son and leads a solitary life. He even takes Cailin hunting for sea glass on the beach, something her dad used to love. Cailin grows to love this too and finds herself enjoying her time with her grandfather, and her newly formed connection to her dad, far more than she thought that she would. But when Cailin makes a hurtful and harmful mistake, their friendship is put to the test. A heartwarming and engaging read that highlights the power of family, the value of relationships that cross generations, and the excitement of treasure hunting for all ages.

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