Hopping around the Christmas tree by Johnny Marks

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Book and CD. Ill. by Benjamin Johnston. Performed by Colin Buchanan. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743811429
(Ages: 3-6) Recommended. Themes: Christmas. Colin Buchanan, former Play School presenter, brings great energy to this very catchy Christmas sing-along. The classic song, Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is given an Australian twist, as Aussie animals begin to gather for a bush Christmas celebration. The words are mostly all changed but fit perfectly with the tune, making it easy to sing along. In fact, it is difficult to read - it demands to be sung! The illustrations are crisp, cheerful and full of action, mirroring the energy of the song. Sometimes these adaptations suffer because in the attempt to get the words to fit the tune sentences start to lose meaning. That is not a problem here - it really is well done. Each verse features a different animal (joeys are 'hopping around the Christmas tree, at the Christmas party hop'; cockatoos are 'flapping around the Christmas tree, let the Christmas bells sway'). This is a real treat for young ones who will love dancing and bopping along. Perfect for schools and music teachers as well.
Nicole Nelson