Review Blog

Nov 03 2017

A Christmas menagerie edited and compiled by Beattie Alvarez

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Christmas Press, 2017. ISBN 9780994528049
(Age: 7-12) Recommended. Themes: Christmas, Short stories. Twelve short stories will delight young readers and any adult who reads them aloud to children. The stories are by well known authors, Janeen Brian, Michael Pryor, Sophie Masson, Gabrielle Wang and Sherryl Clark as well as some new and emerging authors.
This is a compilation to dip into and enjoy. Clever wombat by Janeen Brian has a very busy Wombat ticking off the tasks for Christmas from his list but needing the help of his friends to find a special Christmas tree. Children will giggle about Michael Prior's story of Santa's special helper the pig who has to help Santa out by eating all the treats left out by families, the delightful illustrations by Kathy Creamer adding to the humour in the story. Adults and children alike will thrill to the story of The ancient wren by Michael Grey, with its moral "Happiness, like kindness, is only real when shared". I was really taken with Pony for Sale, written and illustrated by Gabrielle Wang. Although it isn't a traditional Christmas story, the themes of generosity, sharing and caring that come through this tale of a little girl who has to give her pony away when her family moves to a small flat are ones that bring the spirit of the festive season to life.
Each story is illustrated by different illustrators, Kathy Creamer, Fiona McDonald, Beattie Alvarez, Ingrid Kallick, and Yvonne Low and the bright colourful drawings all add to the joy in the book.
A selection that will continue to be enjoyed by children over the years, this is a worthy addition to every library and classroom.
Pat Pledger

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