If you’re looking great picture books to read with the kids or grandkids these holidays, look no further than these four books, reviewed by Lyn Potter.
Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day
This cute little picture book is about the kind of last-minute panic which so often happens around Christmas.
Tomorrow is Christmas jumper day at Peppa Pig’s playgroup. But when Daddy Pig fetches the Christmas box containing the Christmas jumpers and Christmas tree decorations from the loft they strike a problem. Peppa and George have outgrown last year’s jumpers. George tries on Peppa’s jumper, and it fits him perfectly. But Daddy Pig’s Christmas jumper is far too big for Peppa, and it doesn’t have any sparkly bits. What can be done?
Daddy Pig sends Peppa and George off to bed and promises to sort something out. Luckily there are some baubles and a big pot of glitter at the bottom of the Christmas box with which he manages to fix Peppa’s sparkly jumper problem in a rather ingenious way.
Peppa is thrilled that everyone at playgroup loves her glittery jumper. But Daddy Pig will be busy for quite some time wiping a whole lot of glitter off his work suit.
The colourful illustrations, simple storyline and the fact that it is a sturdy little board book make this a good one for very little children from eighteen months up.
Another plus is that 10 % of this book will be donated to the Save the Children charity.
Title: Peppa Pig: Peppa’s Christmas Jumper Day. Imprint: Ladybird. RRP $12.99
Stink-O-Saurus Saves Christmas
Millions of years ago, dinosaurs did live in this country. Recently a fossil hunter discovered that one of the largest known dinosaurs, a titanosaurid, almost certainly roamed New Zealand about 80 million years ago.
That was well before Father Christmas was ever thought of so this tale of how Stink-O-saurus saves Christmas demands a long stretch of the imagination! It is a hilarious story about how Father Christmas can’t deliver his presents because his reindeer have all come down with the flu. But Stink-O –Saurus manages to save the day with his unique smelly powers.
Children’s entertainer and songwriter Deano Yipadee has teamed up with Wellington illustrator Paul Beavis to create this humorous tale. The catchy song on the accompanying CD will soon have children singing along
One of my grandnephews will love all the farty humour in this book, the other dislikes any such silliness. Have a think about which camp your grandchild is in before wrapping it up and putting it under the Christmas tree. Recommended for children 3 years and up.
Stink-O-Saurus Saves Christmas is by Deano Yipadee and Paul Beavis. Publisher: Scholastic. RRP $19.99
Sarah’s Two Nativities
While there are again plenty of Father Christmas themed picture books this year stories about the nativity are far and few between. Sometimes it seems as if the real meaning of Christmas, about the birth of the baby Jesus and God’s message of peace and goodwill to all the world is at risk of being forgotten.
Sarah’s Two Nativities is a new Picture Book about not one but two nativities.
In Sarah’s house, the Bible and the Koran sit together on a shelf side by side. The stories Sarah likes best are the stories her grandmothers tell her about the nativity.
Grandmother Maria reads her the story from the Bible of how baby Jesus was born in a manger. Angels sang in the heavens, while shepherds looked up and saw a bright star which led them to the stable. They were followed by three wise men bringing gold, frankincense and myrrh. They too worshipped the baby Jesus who was sent to bring peace to the world.
Grandma Azar tells Sarah the nativity story from the Koran. An angel told Mary she would have a child, and she would call his name Jesus. She went into the desert and laid beneath a palm tree. Weak with hunger and thirst she feared she would die. But Allah made a river at her feet, and ripe dates to fall from the tree. When Mary ate the dates and drank the water she recovered, and the baby was born. When Mary brought her baby home to her family, he opened his mouth and said, “Allah has made be blessed wherever I may be.”
Sarah is confused, because while both these stories are about the birth of Jesus, they are quite different. Which one is true she wonders? Her grandmother explains that both stories are about the mystery of God.
Then the whole family sits down to enjoy Christmas dinner together. This interfaith story was written to teach children in a gentle way that Christmas is a time for people of different faiths to sit around the table to eat and celebrate together.
Sarah’s Two Nativities. Author: Janine M Fraser. Illustrations by Helene Magisson. Publisher: Walker Books. RRP $28.99.
The Crayon’s Christmas
The postman is kept busy delivering Christmas letters to the crayons who live at Duncan’s house. Inside are Christmas cards and messages from friends and relations and little gifts made from paper: a set of clothes in paper doll format, a game, a world map, a super-secret recipe for gluten-free cookies and hot chocolate and a punch-out Hanukkah dreidel.
After they have been out carol singing a big package for toddler crayon arrives. He had ordered it online for himself but is happy to share it.
Duncan was happy that the crayons has received so many presents. But as there were none for him, he felt that nobody had noticed or cared about him. It made him sad, but he was in for a big surprise. In this season for giving, the crayons had decided to give back to the boy who had always given them love, respect and even a home.
Many children will have already met Duncan’s crayons in two previous books: The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home. Both were best sellers. They especially would enjoy this interactive book with lots of fun little activities to do as they open the envelopes and pouches which are glued inside.
The Crayon’s Christmas is by Drew Daywalt, pictures by Oliver Jeffers. Published by Walker books. RRP $28.98
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveler, writer & passionate home cook