Friday, December 25, 2009

Book Review, The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas

The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas is a board book. Don't you love the way board books are made so robustly? They're perfect for toddler hands that haven't yet learnt respect for books. But don't dismiss it as "just for toddlers"

This charming picture book is illustrated by
Heath McKenzie, and published by Black Dog Books. McKenzie presents his own quirky take on the Australian parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Instead of being gifted with a ridiculous amount of poultry, we find his true love being sent aussie icons like :

four cuddling koalas
three little penguins
two pink galahs
and a kookaburra up a gum tree.

McKenzie is such a talented artist. There is wonderful humour and detail in each page. The sharks have fierce expressions, but are presented in buckets and blow up pools, and wearing floaties. You can sneak a peek at this page about six sharks swimming on
Black Dog Books own site - just click under the heading "multimedia". My favourite page is the final one. It presents the whole ensemble of animals gathered around a building reminiscent of the Ettamogah pub, and the true love is tearing her hair out at the sight of all her gifts!

As well as the hardback picture book version,
there's a CD available, with the song, games and activities. There's also a separate activity book. Kids will enjoy the online demo where they can decorate their own Christmas tree with baubles, lights and tinsel.

Black Dog Books really add value to your whole reading experience with
teacher notes that are also suitable for homeschooling parents who are looking for ways to integrate literature into their curriculum. I love the suggestions for The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas - prepared by Joy Lawn, a Children's Literature Consultant. Joy has so many creative ideas as followup activities.

What a great book to celebrate Christmas!

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