Christmas Countdown: Days 4, 5, 6 - Santa Jaws, Snow Ghost & Where Snow Angels Go

It’s hot enough in Queensland to melt the antlers off a reindeer right now. And at the risk of creating another distressing metaphor, so too are the days  melting away faster than a soft-serve ice cream on a hot afternoon, sigh…Which is why we have not one but three fabulous Christmas reading gift recommendations today, all guaranteed to warm you within but keep your festive-cool chilled and relaxed.

Santa Jaws

Mark Sperring and Sophie Corrigan’s Mince Spies was a Christmas treat to be relished. Their 2020 Christmas offering, Santa Jaws, is just as enticing, albeit slightly more sinister sounding. I love how Sperring twists a beloved theme, spices it with some clever word play, and laces it all together into a delightful mix of rhyming verse and subversively silly and sensitive scenarios.

Shelly Shark’s altruistic intensions bring unexpected joy, then suspicion, then alarm, then pure exuberance for one very stalwart little squid named, Sid thanks to his unmitigated belief in Santa Claus. This underwater festive frolic is awash with bright cheery colour and a reminder to all to never judge a shark by the size of her nashers. Themes of friendship, dismissing stereotypes and environmental awareness (I love the inclusion of recycled shopping bags used by the fishies whilst shopping at Haddocks), bob about merrily in this jolly tale of misconstrued subterfuge. Great fun for under 6s.

Title: Santa Jaws
Author:  Mark Sperring
Illustrator:  Sophie Corrigan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $14.99
Publication Date:  November 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781408897812
For ages:  3+
Type:  Picture Book

Buy the Book: Bloomsbury Books, Boomerang Books

Snow Ghost

It wouldn’t feel like Christmas without the sparkle and shimmer of magic. Even in the southern hemisphere, the weight of summer heat is lessened by the suggestion of swirling snow and glittery night skies. Snow Ghost transports readers of all ages into a world of white and wonder. As Snow Ghost slips into the township of a young boy and girl, she worries where she can rest and settle. Ghosts are not easy to welcome into one’s life after all. But the boy and girl whoop with wild abandon as they play in the snow, unafraid and non-judgmental. They are blissfully aware of their new magical friend and rather than mourn the end of their time together, welcome her back…home. This tale of hope unfolds in lilting poetic verse perfect for sharing aloud with a loved one. The soft muted brushstrokes of Mayo’s illustrations complement the intimate tone of Mitton’s narrative providing a rich winter wonderland that must be experienced this Christmas.

Title:  Snow Ghost
Author:  Tony Mitton
Illustrator:  Diana Mayo
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $24.99
Publication Date:  December 2020
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781408876633
For ages:  4 – 8
Type:  Picture Book

Buy the Book: Bloomsbury Books, Boomerang Books

Where Snow Angels Go

Like the books before it, Where Snow Angels Go, is lavishly decorated with swirls of foil and shimmering snowflakes, so there is no mistaking its magic. In fact there is no shortage of snow-white feathers and crystalline stars in this utterly enthralling tale by Maggie O’Farrell. Each page is generously bedecked in silver and frosted blues framing Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini’s beautiful illustrations in a picture book that is double the normal length – some 69 pages. This somehow adds to the books appeal, perhaps because of the language used and the swift movement from one scene to the next; it’s a joy to read.

Sylvie is a young girl in mortal danger. Fortunately though, thanks to the fun she had making a snow angel in the snow a year before, she has a divine protector, a real-life Snow Angel, whose job it is to ‘save’ Sylvie. After an initial bit of bumbling, Snow Angel does indeed save Sylvie from a terrible illness. Sylvie not only remembers her glistening guardian, she can communicate with him, something that is never usually allowed. But after he leaves that first fateful night, Sylvie’s snow angel doesn’t return. Determined to summon him, Sylvie stages a number of daring situations yet still he won’t appear, until one day, Sylvie’s safety is again compromised.

As the seasons double back on themselves, Sylvie comes to understand the importance of feeling protected and safe, something her snow angel explained to her; that once you make a snow angel, they can never be unmade, they will never truly disappear nor desert their creator. This seems an important way to protect those you love from danger. So Sylvie beseeches Snow Angel to return one last time to help her.

This imaginative tale encapsulates the fragility of life by harnessing the worries and determinations of a young child. The power of belief shines as brightly as the snowflakes adorning each nook and corner of this book. It can change anything. Call it magic or simply love, the essence of believing is ultimately the best gift of all. Where Snow Angles Go is whimsical and warming. It bubbles with delicious hints of relatable wit thanks to the beguiling presence of Snow Angel and his casual tête-à-têtes with Sylvie and is perfect to curl up in bed with either alone (for older readers) or as a shared nightly experience.  

Title: Where Snow Angels Go
Author:  Maggie O’Farrell
Illustrator:  Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini
Publisher: Walker Books, $29.99
Publication Date:  November 2020
Format: Hardback with Dustcover
For ages:  5+
Type:  Picture Book

Buy the Book: Walker Books Australia, Boomerang Books



Norah Colvin said…
I could have done with some of these snow stories yesterday when I was grossly overheated. Thankfully, today has cooled a little. I love the sound of Santa Jaws - so clever. The other books sound lovely.
DimbutNice said…
Yes, I know exactly what you mean, Norah. I read these when the humidity was Singapore high! Somehow, they really did help. Santa Jaws is cracker and cracking good gift to boot. :-D

Popular posts from this blog

Discussions on Diaspora: A personal insight

Happy Release Day! This Is My Dad

Review: My Shadow Is Pink