Santa's gone surfing by P. Crumble
Ill. by Thomas Fitzpatrick. Koala Books, 2017. ISBN 9781743815663
(Age: 4-7) Themes: Rhyme, Christmas, Australian Stories. This is a reimagined story of Santa's journey with an Australian flavour (think An Aussie Day Before Christmas but not as respectable). P. Crumble is known for his silly picture books (particularly his many I know an old . . . stories as well as for his stories about Kevin, the grumpy cat in The Cat Wants Cuddles and The Cat Wants Custard) and this one is no less silly. It features a bogan-ish main character named Trev taking over from Santa, who just wants a holiday at the beach. The reindeers are replaced by emus with names such as Stinky and Sheila and as Rudolph's equivalent there is Squinty with his bloodshot red eye. The sleigh is a rusty old yellow ute and Trev sports chin stubble, rubber thongs and some stubby footy shorts that are falling down and showing off his spotty pink jocks and flabby stomach. He hasn't passed Santa school yet but he's all they've got on the emergency list.
There is one map showing Trev's journey up and down the east coast and another of his lap of Tasmania. It lists off cities and dots some of them on the map but it would have been better if this structure continued through the rest of the country to give readers a visual idea of his entire journey and to orient them to the geography of Australia. (It is probably a bit ridiculous to expect a story this silly to be educational but it would have added to its value).
This makes a bit of a farce of the Santa story and is quite unpleasant to an adult (Santa is stinky, sweaty and obese, Trev is quite repulsive and daft looking and Squinty's bloodshot eye is rather off-putting). Children, with their love of the distasteful, will probably think it is riotously fun.