When Christmas rolls around, there are often many children’s books released to mark the occasion, but how do you know which one to go for? Here are a few ideas if you want to buy a specifically Aussie-themed Christmas book for your child…
There Was An Old Bloke Who Swallowed A Present – P. Crumble (Illustrated by Louis Shea)
This duo have already released quite a few books in their ‘There was an old bloke/ lady’ series, and now they have added another to the collection. In this one, the hungry old bloke starts his feasting with a present, which has bounced out of Santa’s sack and straight into his open mouth. From then on, nothing is safe, with a Christmas card, gingerbread man, turkey, snowman, choir, and even Santa’s sleigh consumed. Kids will love looking for poor Santa on the page as he hides from the old bloke and tries to work out how to get his present back. Although the ‘snowy’ Christmas theme of the book is more international than Aussie, the fun Australian bloke sentiments are still there. The holographic cover is also a bonus for children who like the magic of a little bit of animation.
Rating: 3/5 Published: October 2014
An Aussie Day Before Christmas – Kilmeny Niland
You won’t find a more ‘bogan’ Aussie Christmas tale than this one- using every slang word imaginable, and filling all the stereotypes of an Australian bush Christmas, this book would make the perfect gift for anyone wanting to completely avoid a traditional or internationally-styled Christmas story. This Santa enjoys a sleep-in, has a wife named Sheila, a dog named Blue, reads the news while on the dunny, and likes to have lamingtons for arvo tea. His cosy beach shack is surrounded by bush, with plenty of native animals including koalas, kookaburras, kangaroos and cockatoos living nearby. Rather than wear a big red and white suit (which would obviously be too warm for our climate), he prefers to don a festive ‘grouse’ shirt and red shorts, and delivers his presents in a rusty old ute pulled by eight strong ‘roos. This is a fun book to read aloud, and the illustrations are quite entertaining. You can’t get much more Aussie than this!
Rating: 4/5 Published: September 2009
An Aussie Night Before Christmas – Yvonne Morrison (Illustrated by Kilmeny Niland)
This is a distinctly Aussie adaptation of the traditional ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ poem, and, if you’re a fan of the original, this will provide you with an interesting variation. It’s Christmas Eve and the kids have just gone to bed, when they hear a mad ruckus outside. They sneak out to investigate and see Santa and his rusty old ute, being towed by eight strong kangaroos through the starry sky. While the kangaroos have a drink at the water tank, Santa scoots down the gum tree next to the house and climbs through the window. Wearing red stubby shorts, old thongs and a festive-looking shirt, he enjoys the lamingtons and treats that the kids have left for him, places the prezzies under the tree (with a hint of butt-crack showing, of course) and then takes off into the night to deliver to the rest of the houses. The fun illustrations in this book really compliment this distinctly Australian version of the poem, and provide a creative twist on the original.
Rating:4/5 Published: September 2009
Deck The Shed With Bits Of Wattle – Colin Buchanan & Greg Champion (Illustrated by Glen Singleton)
Syd Echidna is all prepared for Christmas- he has decorated his shed and couldn’t be prouder. But then a mini cyclone sweeps through and destroys everything in its path, including all of Syd’s hard work! With his shed in ruins, Syd goes to bed upset. But Bossy Cocky saw what happened and he rallies the rest of the bush animals together to help fix up Syd’s place and make him happy again. As Syd sleeps through the night, his friends collect bottle brushes, waratahs, pebbles and native blossoms to help redecorate Syd’s home. When Syd wakes up on Christmas morning, his friends have completely refurbished and decked out his entire shed- what a wonderful Christmas present! This is a lovely Christmas story/song with an Aussie theme (sung to the tune of ‘Deck the halls’), and it provides a strong message on Christmas spirit and mateship. There is a bonus CD included with this book so that you and your children can sing along as you flip through the pages and read the story.
Rating: 3/5 Published: October 2014
We Wish You A Ripper Christmas – Colin Buchanan & Greg Champion (Illustrated by Roland Harvey)
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa Wombat is about to head out on his sleigh to deliver presents across Australia, but then, as he flies over a windmill, a gust of wind rips his list from his hands! How can Santa Wombat deliver presents to all the good boys and girls if he doesn’t have his list? As the rest of the bush animals go about their evening- playing cricket, decorating trees and wrapping presents- Santa wombat searches around billabongs and scours around sheds, looking for the missing list. Will he find it in time, so that everyone can enjoy a ripper, full-bore, deadset Christmas? This book comes with a bonus CD so that children can sing along to the story as they turn the pages. This version of ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’, along with the unique illustrations in the book, are sure to provide a bit of Aussie cheer this festive season.