Book Bites: Sharing The Merry Picture Books

It’s that time of year to untangle the LEDs, consume enough sugar to drown Willy Wonka, and hark and herald the angels until you are hoarse. I LOVE it! But for less sensory abuse and a better excuse to take a moment off from the crazy this time of year can induce, turn to a picture book. You don’t even need someone small to share it with although if you don’t own a small person, consider reading your favourite stories at your local library, charity or children’s organisation. Sharing the merry is what it is really all about and this handful of new Chrissy titles is but a teeny selection of what is on offer. To really fill your stockings check out some of my traditional festive favourites either at DIM’S re VIEWS or over at Boomerang Books Blog.  Now, let’s start Rocking Around the Christmas Tree!

Jingle Smells  – Fun Rhyming Parody

Mark Sperring loves a quirky silly sounding rhyme. Turns out he is partial to a bit of stink too, which becomes the theme and Christmas’s eventual salvation in his latest festive romp, Jingle Smells. We’ve all heard of Batman smelling to the spirit of this well-loved tune but what happens when Jingle the little skunk rolls into town trailing behind him his terrible funk?

Hilarity ensues ably illustrated by Sophie Corrigan’s sweet hand and some exciting page layouts. Villainy and drama are flecked with specks of self-doubt until Jingle learns to embrace his unique bodily perfume and harness it for good. This is another chunk of cheer to add to your Sperring Corrigan collection which includes, Mince Spies and Santa Jaws.

Title: Jingle Smells
Author: Mark Sperring
Illustrator: Sophie Corrigan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $14.99
Publication Date: November 2021
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781526636812
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Bloomsbury, Boomerang Books

An Aussie Christmas Gum Tree – Rhyming Australiana

Steely blues and dusty greens mark the tone of this Aussie bush inspired Christmas picture book which features the merest suggestion of humans in favour of generous helpings of Aussie animal antics. One day shortly before Christmas, Kookaburra and Possum witness the humans performing some curious manoeuvres on a potted pine tree. Not to be outdone, the resident fauna decide to decorate their own version of a Christmas tree and join forces in search of suitable adornments. Wombat thinks they’re running up the wrong tree so to speak but reluctantly joins the forage until a sizeable treasure of colourful trinkets is amassed. Their (gum) tree is a magnificent sprawling specimen, just perfect for their purpose however a dilemma soon arises when they attempt to hang their decorations.

This joyful rhyming read-aloud story is full of bounce and vigour and softly rendered images of a bush-load of Australiana favourites sure to ignite the tree-decorating urges of young and old alike.

Title:  An Aussie Christmas Gum Tree
Author:  Jackie Hosking
Illustrator:  Nathaniel Eckstrom
Publisher:  Walker Books Australia, $24.99
Publication Date:  October 2021
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781760652715
For ages:  4 – 9 

Type:  Picture Book                                                                                                                               

Buy the Book: Walker Books Australia, Boomerang Books

Little Bilby’s Aussie Bush Christmas – Rhyming Australiana Series

Sparkly things never fail to grab my attention so the foil embossed cover of this latest title by picture book buddies, Yvonne Mes and Jody Pratt, had me from the start. Bright and bubbly, this festive edition of the Little Bilby’s series provides stockingfuls of fun, joie de vivre as our little bilby buddies leap and jump and scamper about the Aussie bush in search of delectable decorations. (They would have been very handy to have around when decorating that big old gum tree I just mentioned!)

Anyway, along the way they encounter various critters and creatures eager to contribute to their cause. The offerings are not exactly what you’d expect to find on a Christmas tree but are equally as glorious and collectable. Glossy seashells, curly feathers, shiny seedpods: all beautiful and inspiring in their own unique ways. And the finished tree … well it is magnificent. This is a lovely colourful way to introduce toddlers to the joys of the natural world and how nature often provides objects worthy of much more awe and celebration than gaudy shop-bought dross. There are even instructions for making your own Aussie inspired Christmas decorations. Just perfect!

Title:  Little Bilby’s Aussie Bush Christmas
Author:  Yvonne Mes
Illustrator:  Jody Pratt
Publisher:  Lothian Children’s Books, $19.99
Publication Date:  September 2021
Format:  Hardcover
: 9780734420404
For ages:   0 – 4                                                                                                                                

Type:  Picture Book

Buy the Book: Hachette Australia, Booktopia

Once Upon a Silent Night: A Nativity Story – Traditional

Snowflake-flecked and oozing with gentle magic, this portrayal of a soon-to-be-mother’s quest to find a suitable place to birth her baby is neither overtly religious nor too abstract. The mother wonders: will anyone welcome my child? Her plea is answered by an array of barnyard animals each eager to offer the best they can to accommodate the mother and her unborn child. Soft sweet hay from the donkey, warming wool from the sheep, soothing lullabies courtesy of the nesting doves: all serve to calm the mother’s concerns and ensure that on this silent special night the new baby’s gift of love is reflected back to all who bestowed him with as much. Touching and endearingly illustrated, Once Upon a Silent Night is a lovely retelling of well-known story worthy of Christmas sharing.

Title:  Once Upon A Silent Night
Author:  Dawn Casey
Illustrator:  Katie Hickey
Publisher:  Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $22.99
Publication Date:  November 2021
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781408896921
For ages:  4 – 7

Type:  Picture Book                                                                                                                                

Buy the Book: Bloomsbury Books, Boomerang Books

Bluey: Christmas Swim – TV show tie-in

In addition to a handful of other Bluey Christmas orientated titles and activity books, this giftsome hardcover book version of every kids’ favourite blue heeler pup is a stocking filler you are not going to want to pass up. It’s Christmas day so the Heeler family have gathered en mass to celebrate. Decorations, toys and other recognisable Christmas detritus litter the rooms. Gifts are gleefully exchanged and Bluey receives, Bartlebee, a new toy oddly reminiscent of someone we know well. She loves him and promptly initiates him into the Heeler way beginning with a dip in the pool, as you do. Pool-inflatable ruckus ensures reflecting a typical Aussie backyard scene. But will Bartlebee survive the festive fracas and make it to New Year?

This is a Bluey episode that will make the whole family cringe (because it’s so archetypal) and laugh. The story is quite drawn-out in parts but will amuse fans of the extended Heeler family. I especially love the unashamed promotion of bon bon (Christmas cracker) pulling and paper crown wearing. Good on ya, Bluey! And Happy Christmas to all.

Title:  Bluey: Christmas Swim
Author:  Puffin Books based on TV series
Publisher:  Penguin Random House Australia, $16.99
Publication Date:  November 2021
Format:  Hardcover
: 9781761041204
For ages:   3 – 8 

Type:  Picture Book                                                                                                                                

Buy the Book: Readings, Boomerang Books , Booktopia



Norah Colvin said…
Thanks for the suggestions, Dimity. I do love Christmas books, especially new takes on old themes and parodies. I was disappointed last week when I was unable to buy a copy of Yvonne Mes's book at any of my local bookstores or even online at Where the Wild Things Are. I finally ordered a copy from Booktopia but I don't think it will arrive in time for me to gift to my little friend on Tuesday. Although I ordered it on Sunday, it was only dispatched today. :(
DimbutNice said…
Thanks for dropping by Norah. Let's blame the delay for everything not on Santa but overhead congestion thanks to a back log of postal services now trying to deliver their goodies around the globe. I know your little friend will love the Bibly's Christmas when it finally arrives. :-)

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