Every pre-schooler in New Zealand should have a copy of this classic picture book about diggers getting stuck in the mud. If you know someone small who hasn’t got a copy, this handsome book and 48-piece jigsaw boxed set would make an enticing present for under the Christmas tree. Note that the jigsaw is not recommended for children under 3 years.
ISBN 9781775434313 RRP $25 Pb
A Kiwi Night Before Christmas by Yvonne Morrison and Deborah Hinde, Scholastic NZ
This is a re-jacketed 2016 limited edition of the first version published in 2003. The back cover proudly states, “New Zealand’s best-selling Christmas book”, and I’m happy to believe it. In case you don’t already know it, this picture book offers a New Zealand version of the old English classic poem: “’Twas the night before Christmas, and all round the bach not a possum was stirring; not one we could catch. We’d left on the table a meat pie and beer, in hopes that Santa Claus soon would be here.” Naturally, New Zealand icons abound – my favourites are the sheep standing in as Santa’s reindeer. It’s illustrated in bright bold multi-coloured double-spreads, so pre-schoolers will enjoy poring over the pictures.
ISBN 978 1 77543 427 6 RRP $21 Hb
Marmaduke Duck and the Christmas Calamity by Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis, Scholastic NZ
This is the fourth title in the popular series about Marmaduke Duck and Bernadette Bear and Co., and fans of the whacky rhymes and action-packed illustrations won’t be disappointed. Santa plus elves plus reindeer have accidentally fallen down a snowy crevasse – so who’s going to deliver all the presents? The answer is easy – just imagine Bernadette Bear dressed as Santa, while the magic sleigh is pulled by an ox, an orangutan, a pig, a polar bear, a dog, a lamb, a frog and a ram! The Duck is standing in as head Elf, naturally. Great fun for reading aloud any time of the year, but especially enjoyable at Christmas.
PS. Santa and friends do get rescued at the end!
ISBN 978 1 77543 390 3 RRP $19 Pb
The Topp Twins Treasury of Sing-Along Stories, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, Scholastic NZ
This is definitely a “WOW!” book. It looks fabulous with its glossy hardback format and an arrangement of Jenny Cooper’s cheeky song characters on the front cover, along with fancy gold lettering for the title. The five rollicking songs inside have already been published separately: Do Your Ears Hang Low?, There’s a Hole in My Bucket, The Farmer in the Dell, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain, and Dingle-Dangle Scarecrow. But this is a great chance to keep your favourite songs in one convenient volume (the CD is packed inside the front cover). Jenny Cooper’s illustrations are delightful, and having them all in one big book makes them even more hilarious. This picture song book would be great to help families with their long summer drives to the beach…
ISBN 978 1 77543 430 6 RRP $30 Hb
Reviewed by Lorraine Orman