Lulu Bell and the Christmas Elf by Belinda Murrell
Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857985033
Look who's back in town! Just in time for Christmas as well! Christmas in Australia - concerts, carols, cooking, cricket, crafts and community.
Lulu Bell and her family are preparing for Christmas along with their friends and neighbours. One really exciting event is the school concert and parents are busy making costumes and props with real community spirit. Lulu and her brother and sister help their mum to make and bake lovely gifts for the teachers and are planning their letters to Santa.
Amidst all the happy busyness there is some sadness though as Lulu's friends, Olivia and Jo, have lost their cat and are completely distraught. It's a dangerous world out there for a little cat on its own.
The real joy of the Lulu Bell books is the sense of love and warmth and strong community ties that binds the characters together and coupled with that is the opportunity for young readers to learn. In this case, something of Dutch customs and language (through Olivia and Jo's family), the dangers of scrub ticks for domestic pets and 'how to' do things - in this book, making costumes, decorations and cooking delicious recipes.
Thankfully, there is a very happy resolution for all and the Shelly Beach folk are able to celebrate their Christmas with true joy and gratitude.
This one is going straight to Small's Christmas parcel so she can enjoy another adventure from the animal hospital and Lulu.
As a wonderful bonus, Lulu Bell's Christmas kit is available and teacher's notes are here.