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This new edition of A Kiwi Night Before Christmas, based on the perennially favourite Clement C. Moore's poem 'A Night Before Christmas', comes with a music and story CD. The story is read by Chris Melville. Also included is a full-colour press-out model of the beach bach that children can make for themselves.
Being an early childhood teacher I see the Scholastic book club magazines each month and love it when it starts to get close to Christmas! I don't know what it is - Christmas may only come once a year but you certainly can not have too many Christmas books! I purchased A Kiwi Night Before Christmas a couple of years ago now and am pretty sure it came in a pack with two or three other Christmas books too. This one though is by far my favourite!
Firstly, books that come with a CD get a big tick in my book! It means that I can read it to the tamariki myself, or if I feel like giving my voice a break I can pop the CD in. It is amazing how CDs draw the attention too - it's like a new teacher coming into the room and because they are new they are entertaining and all of the tamariki have their eyes on them!
Secondly being a proud New Zealander I love books that feature New Zealand and New Zealand things. And what better a genre to do it with - none of this building snow men, sitting around a fire etc that we don't get to experience at Christmas - this book really shows what it is like for Christmas in New Zealand so for the tamariki it builds a far truer picture of Christmas.
I would recommend this book to anyone and will be keeping my eyes peeled for it to come out this year to send to some friends in Australia who now have children of their own. Would love to share a little bit of a Kiwi Christmas with them!
If there is one thing that draws me to a book for young children, it is the inclusion of extras like a CD so the children can sing along, or a construction model that the children can enjoy as an extension activity. "A Kiwi Night Before Christmas" includes both, so I was prepared to purchase it even before I checked out the content. But here too I was not disappointed.
The story is based on the original "Night Before Christmas" which was the first modern Christmas story ever written - it introduced the reindeer pulling Santa with his flying sleigh - and is familiar to almost everyone. To make the story accessible to young New Zealanders of the 21st century, the author has set the story in familiar locations and included references to popular foodstuffs and kiwi beach clothing styles. These references reflect the climate of the southern hemisphere, where Christmas is celebrated in summer and the surroundings are quite different from those often depicted on Christmas cards or in stories.
My three-year-old granddaughter loved the illustrations and had a great time counting the sheep and the presents in Santa's bag while six-year-old grandson had fun punching out the pieces of the model and trying to put them together without adult help. Unfortunately the original base for the model was mislaid in the excitement, so we had to improvise a replacement using the outline which was luckily still attached to the book. It still worked, luckily, and he was able to complete the model! Then the three of us settled down to listen to the CD together. It was great fun as we looked at the book at the same time.
I think this book will become a family favourite and will be re-read for many Christmases to come. The model now has pride of place with the children's Lego models, and the CD is in the player ready for another spin. Definitely a must-buy for entertainment value.
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