Sunday, December 11, 2011

12th December

For many schools in Australia this is the last full week of school before the summer holidays. Most classes will be reading about Christmas in other parts of the world where there is snow, it is green and probably cold. It is wet here at the moment and for the first time in many years it is green, there are not water restrictions, there is not the threat of bushfires and there isn't drought. Usually Rain for Christmas by Richard Tulloch and Wayne Harris is what I get out to share with classes each Christmas, but this year it is time for a change.

So what to read at Christmas that is Australian? Today some fun, tomorrow those with a more serious message.

New this year is the third book about that wombat, Mothball, Christmas Wombat. Here Santa's reindeer have to fight with Mothball for the carrots that the children left out for them. Mothball then gets to ride on the sleigh and as always Mothball is causing mischief. It seems as if wombats are a hit at Christmas as this follows the success of Mem Fox and Kerry Argent's Wombat Divine and Michael Dugan's Wombats Don't Have Christmas.

Also by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley and also about those characters from Shaggy Gully is Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip. Here Emily the emu is determined to make grumpy bunyip smile and be happy on Christmas Day. This book is joyous and noisy and fun to share with preschoolers who want to make tuba noi

Grug and his First Christmas by Ted Prior is one in a very long series of books about Grug, a creature created from the top of a native Australian burrawang tree. Hard to explain to someone who hasn't read a Grug book before, but Grug and his friends make good reading and he has a dedicated following of young readers.

And the last one about an animal, albeit not an Australian animal, I Love Christmas by Anna Walker. This is one in a wonderful series of books for very young children. The magic and excitement of Christmas is brought to the fore through rhyme and by Ollie, a zebra who loves wrapping presents, making decorations and partaking in all the Christmas preparations. A good starting point for discussions and writing about what the children in your class like about Christmas.

And a non-animal one that also has illustrations by Anna Walker is Santa's Aussie Holiday by Maria Farrer. In this story Santa goes on a well-deserved holiday. He travels around Australia visiting places such as the Great Barrier Reef and Rottnest Island that everyone wants to visit.

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