'Twas the dawn before Christmas and, down at the bach,
Santa was fishing ... just one more he'd catch.
From the creators of the ultimate Kiwi Christmas read-aloud A Kiwi Night Before Christmas comes this prequel - and Santa's got work to do! Luckily his trusty little helpers have been busying themselves in his workshop with all that gift wrapping.
But those prezzies won't be going anywhere without Santa's 'reindeer' to pull the tractor - so where have those sheep got to?
A new Christmas story in true Kiwi spirit with hilarious Kiwi colloquialisms and jokes, and bright, energetic illustrations.
Reading the title of this book got me interested "a kiwi day before Christmas" instead of the normal "twas the night before Christmas". I really love the idea of doing a Kiwi Christmas book as there are so many out there with snow, cold weather, warm gear and warm meals, when in New Zealand its the start of Summer, and we are surrounded by beaches which many families go to for their family gatherings on Christmas day.
This Santa wears kiwi gear tshirt, shorts and gumboots. He drives are tractor that is pulled by sheep which is awesome since New Zealand is made up of a lot of sheep. What I like is the book brings in is what our world looks like now with social media "insta_nam" and "EweTube" while the sheep are on holiday. The book goes around getting santa ready for the big time and looking for the sheep to drive his tractor. With the last sheep Fluffy to be found the book includes a puzzle which my older kids said was easy to find her. It took me a little while guess it needed a younger set of eyes LOL. Once they were all together again santa was ready to up and go. I did like they used Te Reo Maori at the end as that is one of our languages of New Zealand.
Its a great book and would be perfect for all Kiwi children to have and enjoy with their families.
Having experienced many years of Christmas in the northern hemisphere, I have always found it strange that in New Zealand we celebrate this festival with images of snow and reindeer, and stodgy roast dinners - in the first month of summer, which is (as far as I am concerned, anyway) a time for beach, barbecue and cold drinks. We live in a land which boasts a farming tradition rather than the industrial, and where black singlets, shorts and gumboots are more common than red-and-white cold weather suits! So it was delightful to find this story which features a proper kiwi santa complete with tractor and real sheep.
The boys were delighted by this story. Their baby cousin (Mr One) was visiting them so he sat on my knee to look at the pictures while the boys sat one each side so they could see too. Although Santa was dressed in waders and a fishing hat in the first picture, they immediately recognised him through his round face and white full beard, so were all set for a seasonal yarn. They are familiar with the old poem "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" as they have heard it many times, and since the text of this new version is almost a paraphrase of the original, there was a sense of deja vu for them. When we got to the last line, the wording of the original ("Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night") is fully echoed by this version's "Kia ora to all and to all a good night".
They loved the way Santa had "farmite" for breakfast, and were quick to point out the kiwi on the mug he was using. Little touches like this help to put the story into a local context. Mr Six said he would quite like a farm bike like Santa's for Christmas, but I don't think the budget will run to that - but he can always hope! There is a wonderful picture where the geckos and fantails are helping Santa to wrap all the presents - with wrapping paper featuring pohutukawa and jandals instead of frosted holly and jingle bells. The two boys loved that.
Mr Six was also intrigued by the social media postings from the sheep on holiday as he is starting to use a device himself! He needed some help with the content as it was a little obscure, but he certainly got the gist of it. Mr Five and Mr One, however, were more interested in turning the page to see the sheep enjoying their takeaways. Mr Five likes hot chips so he thought that was a great thing to do. Mr One just tapped the page and tried to peel the balloon off!
We had a lot of fun finding Fluffy in the middle of the flock of sheep on the farm-stay - they all appeared to be the same until you looked really closely. In the end, Mr Five found her. It was a great idea to include a puzzle like this - simple enough for a small child to solve - to add interest to the story. The boys were also intrigued to see that the lead sheep was wearing a set of antlers and a red nose although nothing further from a reindeer could exist - he still looked like a sheep. Just one that had dressed up for the occasion! In the original poem there are only eight reindeer; in the song there are nine, with red-nosed Rudolph being the leader. This version combines both; the leader has a red nose, but there are only eight sheep in all.
I think every kiwi child should have a copy of this book. It is delightful on many levels, and this is not just my own opinion. The two older boys agreed with me 100%, and Mr One showed his appreciation by wanting to see ALL the pictures again!
Random listing from 'Books'...
The crickets chirped, the dogs barked, the cows mooed and the sheep maaed. The horses knickered to their foals and foxes howled, as they came out of their holes. How will Farmer Hayden ever get to sleep with all this noise?
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"A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)