Santa, Santa, Santa …

DSCN5961 (800x600) 

Waiting for Santa
Steve Metzger and Alison Edgson
Little Tiger Press
This really is Christmas enchantment, small furry animal style.
It’s Christmas Eve and Bear is awake before his friends. ”We’ve got to get ready for Santa Claus!” he informs them excitedly. Badger however, doesn’t share his enthusiasm: “Santa’s not coming … He doesn’t even know we’re here!” he grumbles.
His other pals are unsure but fortunately Bear’s enthusiasm wins them round and so under his direction they rally, busying themselves making signs,

DSCN5962 (800x600)

preparing snacks for Santa’s reindeer and decorating a Christmas tree. This they sit down beside, once they’ve managed to tie the star atop, that is. It’s a long wait for Santa’s arrival and as night falls and they sup their cocoa, doubt starts to creep in; even Bear begins to feel anxious,

DSCN5963 (800x600)

but then up in the sky …

DSCN5964 (800x600)

That’s not quite where we leave the friends though: Santa needs a little help with his delivery round and one of their number (heartily endorsed by Badger) goes off with him on the sleigh.
A sweet story focusing on the build up to the big day; the animals are relatively undemanding rather than greedy about presents; and I particularly like the element of teamwork. Alison Edgson’s soft scenes are a delight and the tense atmosphere as the friends sit under the tree waiting is almost palpable.

There seems to be a plethora of cute seasonal stories for the under sixes this year; here’s another:

DSCN5959 (800x600)

Santa Baby
Smriti Prasadam Halls and Ada Grey
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Disappointed that he cannot accompany Santa on his delivery round, Santa Baby complains to Roo and both agree it’s no fun being small. But when they step indoors what do they find but two large parcels left behind.


Fearing a child will be left presentless on Christmas morn, it’s a case of dashing through the snow, “We’re off to save the day.” But can they do just that in the face of super snowball fighting elf friends, slippy, sliding penguins and a rather reckless midnight loop-the-loop?


And who are the recipients of the two parcels they’ve risked life and limb to deliver? To discover the answers, you’ll have to get a copy of this charmingly illustrated, delightful, rhyming story (that echoes the patterning of The Night before Christmas), and share it with young listeners.


How to Catch Santa
Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish
Hodder Children’s Books
The recipe is as before if you’re familiar with the amusing ‘How to’ series from the Reagan/Wildish team – well kind of.
The spirited youngsters are on hand to furnish Santa-catching instructions but first there are all manner of considerations. Questions for Santa “How do you stay clean?” for instance and things you want to tell him – “I’m trying very hard to be good.” is pretty important. Then you might want to give HIM something – ‘A nose-warmer for cold sleigh rides’ should go down well.
Of course, none of this is any use unless you actually manage to catch the man and some ways are definitely NOT top of the list …


What’s needed instead is craft and guile…


and plenty of patience for sure. Even then a degree of quiet is vital for ensuring you don’t miss those special sounds – sleigh bells and the odd Ho Ho HO! for instance …


Oops! Nearly forgot to say ‘Santa won’t come to your house until you’re asleep.’ So, catching him? Well there’s always next time …
Tongue in cheek humour verbal and visual in sack loads herein.

DSCN5954 (800x600)

The Night Before Christmas
Clement C. Moore and Mark Marshall
Little Tiger Press
Mark Marshall’s visuals for the favourite Christmas Eve poem are full of seasonal charm with a modern edge to them. Santa though, truly is ‘a right jolly old elf’ …

DSCN5957 (800x600)

as he pays a special visit to Ruby and Sam’s home. They’ve left him the customary offering …

DSCN5955 (800x600)

and are snug in their beds, till young Sam is summarily awoken

DSCN5956 (800x600)

and watches St. Nicholas filling the stockings and he’s not the only one watching.

Use your local bookshop          localbookshops_NameImage-2

Reindeer Romps with Ruby, Rudey and St. Nick.

frog 004 (600x800)

The Naughtiest Reindeer
Nicki Greenberg
Allen & Unwin
Disaster has struck at the North Pole:
Rudolf the reindeer was lying in bed with a runny red nose and an ache in his head.
‘I’m sorry,’ he groaned. ‘I just can’t pull a sled. You’ll have to ask my sister Ruby instead.’
The only trouble is Ruby is anything but a popular choice with the other reindeers: “Not Ruby! Please!” is the unanimous verdict. But like it or not, high-spirited Ruby is what they get.

frog 005 (800x600)

Things go pretty well to start with but then boredom kicks in and Ruby starts getting ideas: ideas that result in mayhem at house after house and a very stressed Santa, so stressed in fact that on his return, he discovers he’s missed out one of the house.. Time for Mrs Claus to spring into action, but where is Ruby?

frog 006 (600x800)

Oh no! She too has been forgotten. When she finally gets to the house rectify Santa’s error, it seems that Santa had paid them a visit after all.
This hilarious rhyming tale has the rhythm of the Clement Clark Moore classic Twas The Night Before Christmas and veritably gallops along. It’s great fun to read aloud, superb entertainment for young audiences who relish Ruby’s tripping, tangling antics, particularly her drinking from the toilet at 26A and with a surprisingly satisfying ending I can see this becoming one of those favourites that’s brought out every Christmas at home or school. The magic starts right on the front cover with that sparkly, tactile tree and I just love those off beat ‘corky’ reindeer characters Nicki Greenberg has created.
Buy from Amazon

If you want an illustrated version of the classic poem try:


The Night Before Christmas
Clement Clark Moore and Richard Johnson
Picture Corgi pbk
Richard Johnson’s illustrations are a-glow with festive magic. His interior scenes give a feeling of seasonal warmth that sharply contrasts with the beautiful snowy landscapes of St Nicholas’ journey and I particularly like the beribboned borders that frame some of the verses.
Buy from Amazon

rudey 006 (800x600)

Rudey’s Windy Christmas
Helen Baugh and Ben Mantle
Harper Collins Children’s Books pbk.
Most humans know the consequences of over indulging in Brussels sprouts: not so Mrs Claus. Santa?

rudey 004 (800x600)

One can’t be sure; but definitely not his reindeer and in particular Rudey who sets off on the Christmas rounds with a tummy full of the little green objects. Guess who fed him those. The result? Suffice it so say, the air is polluted with Rudey’s windy emanations much to the amusement of the other reindeer. Indeed they laugh so much at the plethora of toots that they quite run out of steam. The sleigh comes to a halt in the USA. And there’s only one way to get it air bound again –

rudey 005 (800x600)

over to Rudey and his turbo-charged rear.
Delivered via a jaunty rhyming text and comical illustrations. Those reindeer certainly have a twinkle in their eyes and on their return to the North Pole, they are greeted by Santa’s elves who have something to say about the quality of the air there too. Mufflers please…
I imagine giggles galore hereafter.
Buy from Amazon
Use your local bookshop: