Curl up with one of these newly-released seasonal stories
Time Out Kids staff
Jingle bell Christmas Illustrated by Julie Fletcher
Ages: 3+, Dhs65, Macmillan
What does Santa Claus do when he gets home on Christmas Eve? In 10 thick, charmingly cute pages, we watch a rather rotund Father Christmas as he dishes out gifts to his helpful elves, prancing reindeer and, of course, good old Mrs Claus. But there’s still a parcel left under the tree! Who could that be for? Great for tots, this beautifully bright book jingles as you turn the pages, while its short, simple storyline and adorable lift-up flaps will hold the attention of kids under three. The bells, however, mean this one is slapped with a 3+ target range, although in our opinion, it’s a bit too basic and babyish for this age bracket.
Father Christmas needs a wee! By Nicholas Allan
Ages: 3+, Dhs39 (without the CD) $10.26, with CD (read by
Bernard Cribbins), www.amazon.com, Red Fox
Father Christmas needs a wee (he’s been drinking since half past three…). So begins Nicholas Allan’s cracker of a Christmas book which resurfaces this year with an accompanying story CD read by Bernard Cribbins. Music and sound effects bring to life the
excruciating dilemma (toddlers will identify with this) Santa faces when he’s caught short on the most important night of the year. Written in brilliantly bouncy rhyme that also encourages counting skills, little ones will love
reciting the various drinks. It’s also stuffed to the stocking top with silly humour and wonderful facial expressions of a desperate Santa. The big and bold illustrations fail to capture the magic of Christmas, but the story is saved by being so fabulously funny and naughty. Anything to do with underpants, wee or Father Christmas is a big hit with little kids.
Jack Frost By Kazuno Kohara
Ages: 2-6 years, Dhs39, Macmillan
A delightful, simple tale of a young boy who is down in the dumps because all his friends are hibernating. He meets
Jack Frost and, after a bit of persuasion, is thrilled that Jack is willing to play with him – provided he doesn’t mention anything ‘warm’. Minimalist blue and white illustrations are ideally suited to the sparse winter landscapes of the tale, proving that kids don’t need bells and whistles to be absorbed by a good story. This touching tale of friendship is one which you’ll enjoy reading all year round.
Smudger the dog saves Christmas By Lissa Evans
Ages: 3+, $9.52, www.amazon.com, Random House
At first, we had a few reservations about this book because simply reading the words (Evans’ writing and captions are more ironic than informative) means you miss out vast chunks of the story. Rather, it’s Holly Surplice’s superb illustrations which bring the tale to life, and, once you get used to that fact, the tale-telling is transformed into an interactive experience where your child’s interpretation of the pictures is key. Smudger, not the best-behaved dog in the world, finds himself shoved into the garden on Christmas Eve from where he embarks on a walk with a difference, accompanied by a man in a red suit and
some exhausted reindeer. The escapades of this wonderfully mischievous pooch – captured to hilarious perfection by
Surplice – are a delight. This is a book which will yield fresh and funny discoveries every time you read it.
Gargoylz save Christmas By Burchett & Volger
Ages: 6+, Dhs33
Fun-loving schoolboys Max and Ben embark on the 10th madcap mission
of this collectible series. Santa’s elves have the Sneeze Disease, so with the help of Santa’s special helper, the
mischievous reindeer Gargoyle (gargoylz are naughty mini monsters), the boys attempt to help Santa save Christmas. Brimming with Beano-esque humour, kids will adore the mischievous characters and find their naughty antics hilarious. With detailed illustrations on every page, plenty of cracking Christmas jokes, and a free sticky gargoyle reindeer to throw at the wall, this book will keep boys aged six to seven entertained. There’s a brilliant website too, with loads of games which can be unlocked by finding the code word hidden in one of the pictures.
The night before Christmas Illustrated by Eric Puybaret
Ages: 3+, Dhs19.95 (with CD), Dhs72 (without CD), www.amazon.com, Macmillan
Stockings hung by the chimney, visions of sugarplums dancing and a miniature sleigh with eight tiny reindeer, it just wouldn’t be
Christmas without this much-loved classic, brought beautifully to life in a delightful new picture book (with an optional musical CD). The artwork is rich and lush, while the detail – think a twinkle-eyed, dimple-cheeked santa – is enchanting and conveys perfectly the wide-eyed wonder of everyone’s favourite Christmas poem.