“ Genre: Junior Books / Author: Hilary McKay / Edition: New edition / Paperback / 32 Pages / Book is published 2002-10-17 by Hodder Children's Books „
This beautiful hard backed book only comes out in December in our house. It was a present for my eldest son from the private nursery he attended when he was 2 years old. It was given to him by Santa. He doesn't remember that part of it, but they both enjoy this appearing at this time of the year because it features a small child called Bella in the run up to Christmas.
Bella is a 3 year old girl, who doesn't remember the Christmas's from her being one or two, so she has a lot of questions about what happens in the run up to Christmas.
Bella learns about Christmas at her play school when the teacher reads them stories and they do a nativity play. She gets really upset when Santa visits school as she doesn't understand why he forgot to bring a present for her cat, Blackjack. Her mum, dad and gran explain to her that is just the start of Christmas, and first they have to do a whole lot of things to prepare for it, such as make mince pies, deliver cards, make a christmas cake, decorate the house and tree, sing carols, and then, on Christmas Eve, leave treats for Santa and the reindeer, before hanging up the Christmas stockings.
I really like reading the story to my 2 children, as with them being small as well, they have very few memories of earlier christmas celebrations within our house, so they enjoy reading this and then talking about the things that we do together. They also have little concept of the preparations going on for weeks before hand, such as the nativity and Christmas party at school, so to them, there is some frustration about why it is not Christmas already, and this shows them that there are a lot of enjoyable preparations to do before the big day arrives, and it helps to calm them down a little.
This book has quite traditional illustrations. It was first pubished in 2001, and I could have thought it was a bit older than this. It feels a bit timeless, like it is something that I could have had read to me a child, and could be read in another 20 years to a child and it will still have some relevance to the children of the time. The traditions of Christmas really have not changed in all that time.
I love having books that are specifically about Christmas as it makes them feel quite special and like a treasure that comes out alongside the sparkly chirstmas decorations. I have had to read this to my two every day since advent started, and it has not been a chore, we have thoroughly enjoyed it. I especially like hearing what bits my two do remember from other years, such as where they remember decorations being hung, and things we did together as a family, and this is being recalled because of reading this book.