"What a whole lot of hoo-ha, this 'let's all be merry' - the dinners, the pressies and fuss! A load of old CODSWOLLOP!" hollered old Jerry. "But leave early then - if you must!" Miserly old Jerry from the Kai Corner Dairy is the New Zealand equivalent of Scrooge. Children will love spotting the odd Kiwi icon in Webb's humorous illustrations.
We all know the traditional Charles Dickens story with Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future. In A Kiwi Christmas Carol Chris Gurney has modernised this story but the message remains the same. Ebenezer is replaced with old Jerry a dairy owner that is only there for the money and forgets all about customer service and being a good employer.
The story is written in rhyming couplets. I found it is important to read it carefully as otherwise it just sounds wrong and I would have to reread it just to get the flow. After a couple of times reading the book this wasn't a problem and the children enjoyed it more when I read it properly.
The text wasn't as Kiwi as I had expected but the illustrations had more of a New Zealand flavour. There was the Tip Top ice cream logo outside the dairy, pohutukawa and the ghosts had a definite Maori appearance.
The children (4.5 and 6 years old) both enjoyed the story and were pleased that Jerry decided to get into the Christmas spirit. The story is much shorter than the original book and this helps to maintain the children's attention. It is also in a modern context the they can relate to. I also really enjoyed this version of the book and will be lending it to my daughter's teacher to read to the class as there is a wonderful message about what Christmas is about.
At $12 this book is a bargain and fantastic value for money. I just loved the modern twist on the classic enduring story of The Christmas Carol and this book is just so kiwi right from the illustrations on the cover. This really took me back to the excitement as a child in the lead up to Christmas in the old suburbs of Wellington or Auckland with the villas and the dairy on the corner where you went for your Tip Top Ice cream.
Old Jerry is a miserly old coot who is visited with the ghosts from Christmas past, present and future and then in line with the traditional story changes his ways and all is good and happy. The illustration's are just so perfect (make sure you look closely at the ghosts )and I really enjoyed this modern kiwi take. With Christmas knocking on the door this is perfect to read and a good chance to explain the concept behind the story to your littlies.
I have really enjoyed reading this with my little misses and Miss Three has wanted to read it every night. A perfect Christmas book and one that is much easier to understand than the original classic.
I can definitely recommend this and you still have time to enjoy reading it in the lead up to Christmas.
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