Just right for Christmas by Birdie Black & Rosalind Beardshaw
Nosy Crow, 2014. ISBN 9780857631367
'Waste not, want not' is a maxim well-known to those of us raised by parents who themselves grew up in the Depression years. And it's a principle with just as much import in our modern disposal consumer-driven society.
When a king buys a length of sumptuous red velvet to have a cloak made for his daughter's Christmas present, it is not just the Princess who receives a beautiful present. After each character has 'snipped and sewed' to make a special gift, beginning with the palace seamstress, the leftover scraps of fabric are put outside the back door, where another character comes along and is thrilled with the unexpected bounty. As Milly (mouse) finds the last tiny scrap of red fabric, she knows it is just enough to make little Billy a cosy scarf for Christmas.
Proving that one person's trash is another's treasure, the one swath of fabric makes five Christmas presents for some very happy recipients.
As a delightful contrast to our fine Australian Christmas books, this is typically English with snow, holly, badgers, squirrels, thatched roofs and smoking chimneys. It would make a super comparison text for young children exploring customs, climate and culture, broadening their view of the world in a simple, gentle story.