Review Blog

Oct 12 2014

Christmas in Australia by John Williamson

cover image

Penguin, 2014. ISBN 9780670077724.
(Age: 4 to adult) Humour, Christmas.I am surprised that a CD is not included in this book, as I really felt that I needed to hear the song sung to give me an idea of the scan and rhyme. So I went onto Youtube, and there it is. Listening to this made it all clear! and I would heartily recommend it being used to establish how the ballad sounds.
Discussion could then start about how ballads and singing is different from poetry on the page in a book.
But apart from that the story of Christmas in Australia is given a wide range as the groups come together at their favourite camping ground. Grandparents, aunts and uncles and lots of kids, all pull together to have a decorated tree, and a fabulous lunch on Christmas Day. Santa comes in a ute for the kids, the women cook a meal fit for kings, and the families play cricket. All the while someone is trying to take a photo of the group, an activity which continues to come unstuck while one or the other person is off doing something else. Readers will love recognising bits of their Christmas Days, or recognsiing the 'traditional' Christmas Day in Australia, or just joining in the fun portrayed on the pages.
Mitch Vane's cartoon style illustrations add to the fun of the ballad, and readers will love searching out the variety of things he includes as well as the things going on behind the scenes. A treat for using at Christmas, or when looking at poetry and ballads, or looking at the variety of illustrative styles used in picture books.
Fran Knight

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