While it’s nice to read a Christmas-themed picture story book, it can sometimes be better when there’s also a music CD to listen to. The following books come with a bonus audio CD (which relates to the story in question), some of which are performed by well-known musical stars!
I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas – John Rox (Illustrated by Simon Williams). CD performed by Miranda Tapsell.
There’s always one present on a child’s Christmas wishlist that seems impossible. Maybe they want something that is financially out of reach, or something that is completely out of stock at the local shops. Or maybe they want a large African animal for a pet…
In this cutely illustrated story, all the little kitten wants for Christmas is a hippopotamus. She doesn’t want a doll, tinker toy, rhinoceros or crocodile- she has her heart set on having a hippo hero delivered to her from Santa. She has a convincing list of reasons for having a hippopotamus, and plenty of rebuttals for those who say it’s impossible. Will she get her Christmas wish?
Rating: 3.5/5 Published: October 2016
Ladybird Christmas Time
This Christmas picture story book is a little bit different from the others which also have CDs. Unlike the others, which are single stories and feature a CD song of the text, this one is an audio recording of the two stories (read by Roy McMillan), and then renditions of 14 Christmas carols and songs, going for a whopping 45 minutes! On the CD, McMillan reads The Christmas Story and ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, giving children the opportunity to follow along as they flip through the pages. A collection of Christmas carols and songs follow, with McMillan announcing the page number in the book that the lyrics feature on- once again giving readers the opportunity to ‘participate’. Most of the stories and carols in this book are quite traditional and religious, with only a few exceptions that have Santa as the focus. This book may be better suited to a slightly older audience, although the cute illustrations would appeal to people of any age.
Rating: 3/5 Published: October 2016
Sleigh Ride – L. Anderson & M. Parish (Illustrated by Matt Shanks). CD performed by Human Nature feat. Jessica Mauboy
When flipping through the pages of this picture story book, you’ll notice that the popular Christmas carol Sleigh Ride has been given a distinctly Australian twist. Although the original lyrics are used as the basis for the story, the illustrator has reinvented the scenes, creating ‘a wintry fairy land’ out of an esky blowing ice, ‘sleigh bells jingling’ in the form of an ice cream van and, of course, the ‘sleigh ride’, which is a big, red, tinsel-laden trailer getting towed by the ice cream van. The characters in the story are all native animals and include numbats, koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, quolls, galahs, and a wombat (although a penguin also makes an appearance), frolicking on the beach and building ‘sandmen’ (rather than snowmen). This is a sweet rendition of a classic carol and children will love looking at the animals celebrating Christmas, Aussie style.
Rating: 3/5 Published: October 2016
Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Haven Gillespie and J. Fred Coots (Illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom). CD performed by Human Nature
Christmas time is approaching and with Santa due to arrive at any time, Bear, Lion, Mouse, Giraffe and Monkey are getting excited. So excited, in fact, that they want everybody to know, and are making it their mission to travel around town announcing the news. They tell everyone that Santa is on his way, has checked his lists and that if they expect to be visited, they have to be good. This Christmas carol has always been popular, and it’s great to see it re-imagined in picture story format. The illustrations of the animals are expressive, and children are sure to enjoy the antics they get up to while announcing Santa’s arrival.