Review Blog

Oct 15 2017

That Christmas feeling by Lili Wilkinson

cover image

Ill. by Amanda Francey. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760294960
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Christmas, Sharing, Grandparents. Jean, Dottie and Shortbread, the dog, are sad. Their parents have left them with their grandparents before Christmas, telling them that they will return in time. But the things they do with their parents before Christmas are simply not happening with their grandparents and there is no Christmas feeling to the days. They usually help mum make the Christmas pudding, but grandma makes a mess of it. They help dad make streamers and help put up the Christmas tree, but gran and grandpa don't have a tree to decorate. They are disappointed while they recall what usually happens at Christmas time in their house.
The children go outside, and there they see a lovely tree in the garden, and looking up see all the sparkling lights they would wish to see. And just as they are realising that the trappings of Christmas do not have to be as they always are, their parents arrive home with an addition to the family which underlines the theme of the story, that Christmas is about families and being together.
The things people do every year pale into insignificance as the family hugs all of its members close.
In a classroom this could initiate discussion about what the students do at Christmas, showcasing the array of events and decorations, customs and traditions that are unique to each family, and underlining that we are all different. The soft illustrations entice to readers to look more closely, taking in the way things were in the past for gran and grandpa, revealing the things the children do with their parents, and showing that Christmas does not have to be about things, but about sharing time within the family.
Fran Knight

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