With Christmas only six weeks away, it was time to pull out some of our Christmas books. We have a pretty good selection of Christmas themed books and I wanted to share some of the Australian ones here.
Our absolute favourite Christmas book, What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas? is by Australian author and illustrator Heath McKenzie. It is a perfect picture book for sharing aloud and is sure to make you laugh!
Other humourous rhyming books for an Aussie Christmas include There Was an Old Bloke who Swallowed a Present and There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Star, both by P. Crumble and Louis Shea. With hilarious illustrations and a familiar cadence, these are great for young children.
For some Christmas carols with an Aussie twist Colin Buchanan has it covered with Santa Koala (to the tune of Waltzing Matilda), Aussie Jingle Bells and The Twelve Days of Aussie Christmas. The latter also has a list of things to spot in the pictures throughout the book. Fair Dinkum Aussie Christmas is a collection of songs by Bucko & Champs which can be sung to the tunes of some traditional carols. Possibly the most popular Australian Christmas song is Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris and Bruce Whatley; it is certainly our favourite! We also like The Twelve Cats of Christmas by Kevin Whitlark. If you’re more of a dog lover, you may prefer The Twelve Dogs of Christmas!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without reading An Aussie Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve! I love the idea of Santa arriving in an old ute.
Fans of Diary of a Wombat won’t be able to pass Christmas Wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. That wombat sure does like carrots!
We have a picture book called Santa is Coming to Sydney. Santa takes the whole night to make his special deliveries to Sydney children before flying home… it’s probably nice for kids in Sydney to read about Santa coming to their city, but my kids weren’t really impressed, as it made it seem like Santa would only be visiting Sydney. I do like that Santa uses Santa-Nav to get around though.
If you’re looking for something to keep the kids entertained, you might like to try Where’s Santa? In Australia by Louis Shea. There are literally hundreds of things to spot in this Where’s Wally?-esque book. The humourous illustrations will keep the kids busy for hours!
We also enjoyed The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas by Michael Salmon (my favourite version), Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen, and Christmas in Australia by John Williamson and Mitch Vane. We borrowed these ones from the library.
What Aussie Christmas books do you like to read with your kids?
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Star! by P. Crumble and Louis Shea, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2012.
Yet again, P. Crumble and Louis Shea has made us laugh with a wonderful twist on the tale of the Old Lady who swallowed some things that really couldn’t be good for her. In this wonderful Christmas themed story the Old Lady is up to her old trick of swallowing larger and larger items, including an elf and a whole tree!
Hilarious illustrations complement the funny text, and make this an excellent book for sharing. My kids like to spot things in the pictures, like the little mice that are hoarding lollies and having a ride on the reindeer. My favourite illustration was of the bookshelf when she swallows the elf, the names on the spines of the books are parodies of real books. The kids didn’t appreciate this as much as me, and preferred the scene with all the Christmas lights.
This edition has a very cool lenticular cover. When you tilt the book, the Old Lady goes from the bottom of the tree, up the tree into a position of eating the star. My preschooler loves to do this over and over.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Star! is a fun Christmas read for children in preschool and primary school.
Tortoise and the Hair by P. Crumble and illustrated by Louis Shea, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2014.
Tortoise is getting ready for his big singing performance, but he can’t find his favourite wig! He needs that wig to perform, but where has it got to? He starts searching all over the house. Meanwhile, the wig is having its own interesting journey, after Bear picks it up on the bus, and eventually Hare acquires it. Can Tortoise get the wig in time or will he perform without it?
We have laughed plenty through many readings of Tortoise and the Hair. It is an unusual twist to the old tale of the tortoise and the hare, playing with the words hare/hair. When we read this book the first time, I told my preschooler that Tortoise’s wig made me think of Elvis, and she said “who’s Elvis?”…. I really must try to educate my kids on such important things! Despite this shocking lack of knowledge, both my kids liked Tortoise, with and without the wig. I liked the message of the story that Tortoise can accomplish his dreams without the external reassurance of his wig. He is talented and special just being himself. It is an important thing for our children to remember, that everyone is special and being ourselves is the best we can be.
Amusing rhyming text and fantastic illustrations make Tortoise and the Hair a great book to share with preschoolers and lower primary school children. My kids like picking out funny things in the pictures, like the kangaroo paperboy and Monkey in his hammock. I was pleased to see Hare make an appearance too, racing to the venue!
There Was an Old Bloke Who Swallowed a Chook by P. Crumble and Louis Shea, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2011.
P. Crumble and Louis Shea have created another Aussie twist on the tale of the Old Lady who swallowed the fly. This time it is an Old Bloke, and he’s swallowed a chook! And a galah and a possum and a number of other Australian animals, until he swallows his ute.
This is a funny book great for pre-schoolers and lower primary school children. The story is simple, fun and repetitive, and very appealing for kids. The illustrations are fantastic too, making both myself and my children laugh. My preschooler likes the chook that is knitting while sitting on her eggs, the mole that is using a map, and the dinosaur skeletons that were preserved mid-chase. I like the illustration of the bloke on the front cover with the chicken leg sticking out of his mouth. This is also a great book to share.
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Mozzie by P. Crumble and Louis Shea, paperback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2010.
This is an hilarious Australian twist on the classic There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. Only here, the Old Lady swallows a Mozzie (mosquito), followed by a range of Aussie animals, which get bigger and bigger.
The illustrations in There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Mozzie are fantastic. The Old Lady is comically dressed in purple slippers with matching purple hair, and a purple bow on her wide-brim hat. My favourite picture is of the Old Lady eating an echidna sandwich with tomato sauce, but every page contains a wonderfully humorous drawing. And the story is just as entertaining, as she eats her way through the Australian bush in an attempt to catch the mozzie she has swallowed.
I shared this book with my children, and they loved it. It’s best for lower primary school children and below, though all ages can have a laugh while reading this book. It is perfect for reading aloud and for sharing. Once we’d read the story we really enjoyed talking about the pictures, and how silly the Old Lady is for swallowing all those animals, especially since she took her teeth out at the start! A fun book we will read over and over.