Thursday, December 22, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]


Aliens Love Panta Claus, by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort, 26 pages.

The aliens are back, just in time for a very special occasion - Christmas!
“The aliens are excited, as tomorrow’s Christmas Day. So instead of stealing underpants, they’re giving them away!”
Determined to share their festive spirit, the aliens “help” out in Santa’s hectic workshop by adding a flamboyant pair of underpants to the toys for each child, dressing the elves in frilly knickers, and putting neon underwear on each reindeer “to light the way”. They even pack Santa’s presents in a huge spotted pair of bloomers instead of Santa’s usual toy sack.
When Santa’s sleigh breaks down just before his Christmas Eve takeoff, the aliens are especially helpful. With the loan of the aliens’ speedy spaceship, Santa and the aliens are able to travel to the roofs and chimneys of children’s houses all over the world – and the grateful reindeer (in their neon underwear) are able to remain at home in the North Pole.
And “it really is fantastic / How Santa shoots down each chimney / On a rope of underpants fantastic”!
As an added touch, the mischievous aliens take down the stockings in each house and tie up some colourful knickers instead … after adding some especially garish underwear to every Christmas tree – for some “happy knicker cheer”!
The many fans of Claire Freedman’s hilarious “Aliens” stories will welcome this fun, festive addition to the series.
** Recommended for ages 3 to 6 years.
    
Home for Christmas, by Jan Brett, 26 pages.

Rollo, a rebellious little troll, was tired of helping his family every day on the farm with chores such as chopping wood, collecting the eggs and caring for the animals. One morning, he decided that he had had enough. Grabbing his rucksack, he ran away into the forest.
Little Rollo hiked and played all day. That night, feeling very tired, he snuggled down in an owl’s nest. He stayed there happily for a few days, but when Mother Owl pushed the owlets, one by one, out of the nest for their first flying lesson, he knew it was time to leave.
Next, the little troll joined a bear family. After that, he visited an otter family, a lynx and some moose, staying with each for a few days.
By now, the cold snowy weather had arrived, and something had happened. Rollo was no longer feeling rebellious about doing daily farm chores. He was lonely and homesick, and he missed his family.
Returning home after a long toboggan ride, the little troll was welcomed home with open arms by his mother, father and sister - just in time for Christmas!
In the following days, the troll family noticed something quite nice. Rollo no longer complained about his chores – in fact, he did them very cheerfully.
Jan Brett’s superb picture books are extra-appealing because of the abundant amount of detail included in her gorgeous illustrations. Readers will be interested to know that she created this picture book after a trip to the tundra area of Sweden, where she observed many of the animals included in this story.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on December 22nd. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

For more Christmas picture book suggestions, visit our favourites in the catalogue.

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