Review Blog

Oct 28 2016

Christmas at home by Claire Saxby

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Ill. by Janine Dawson. Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760402952
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Christmas. Diversity. What a lot of fun is to be had when the author and illustrator get together to make an Australian version of O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. The whole family gets together to decorate the tree, filling the branches with baubles, and wrapping up presents. Christmas lights are highlighted when the family goes on an excursion and drives past houses that have huge Christmas lights decorating their gardens. A stroll through the neighbourhood also shows the myriad of Christmas lights in neighbours' gardens, with Santa on the roofs of houses and toy kangaroos waving from the grass. All culminates in a shared feast with relatives and neighbours bringing loads of food for the Christmas lunch, everyone sharing presents and then home to bed exhausted.
The narrative will have enormous appeal as children and adults will be able to sing along with the story or could have fun making up their own verses. The pages are filled with Christmas cheer, with a warm and loving family, friends and neighbours gathering together to rejoice in sharing during the festive season.
I love the illustrations by Janine Dawson. Each page is filled with happy and diverse individuals all enjoying themselves so much and children will be able to recognise the familiar traditions that have evolved in Australia - the lights on houses, the long table set up in the backyard and the children going to sleep in a tent on the hot summer's night.
This heart-warming Aussie version of Christmas is sure to be welcome in all libraries and classrooms.
Pat Pledger

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