Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Pippa, Christmas

Book review: Quentin Blake’s A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Here’s a review from one of our Undercover Readers—just in time for Christmas!

Quentin Blake’s A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, ill. by Quentin Blake. ISBN 9781843651215, Anova Books.

"Quentin Blake's A Christmas Carol (cover)"Reviewed by Philippa, 9, WA.*

In this book, a crotchety old man, Ebenezer Scrooge discovered the true meaning of Christmas. But only after he is haunted by three ghosts!

It is written in an old-fashioned style but I like it, it’s a really good story. I especially love the illustrations. Quentin Blake is a great illustrator. My favourite illustration is the Ghost of Christmas Present because he looks a bit like Santa Claus.

I think that 9 to 99 year olds would like this book.

 

 

"Undercover Readers Club logo"*Philippa is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. The book reviewed here is Philippa’s own.

 

 

Posted in book reviews, Christmas, school holidays, teachers' resources, what we're reading

Even more Christmas books!

Well, there are only 7 sleeps left until Christmas day!

At this time of year, when I’m reading books to my children at bedtime, we always have at least one Christmas-themed book and (as we’re running out of days to talk about them) I thought I’d list a few all in one post!

One book that we continue to pull out since my eldest daughter was little is The Nativity, illustrated by Julie Vivas. It uses text from the Authorised King James Version of the Bible to tell the Christmas story and the illustrations really glow and make this a wonderful book. (You might know her illustrations from other books, like Possum Magic, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and Our Granny, or many others!)

We also love Twelve Days of Christmas by Rachel Griffin. It comes with a CD of the song ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and each double-page spread in the book covers one day of the twelve days. Each page has photographs of brightly-coloured embroidery showing scenes from that particular day – our favourites: the Five Gold Rings worn by an elephant, and the Pipers Piping, who are snake charmers. We love this book and we never get tired of the fun CD, and of course, the twelve days of Christmas aren’t over until Epiphany, so we can keep listening until well after Christmas! (This was published in the UK and my children seem to think that the twelfth day should be ‘Drummers drumming’ and not ‘Lords-a-leaping’, but I don’t know if this is an Australian preference or a Newman-children preference. If we’re singing it along with a piano we go with my children’s preference, but we respect the CD version when we’ve got that on!)

I believe Twelve Days of Christmas is currently out of print, which is A TERRIBLE THING! But I’ve seen it at several public libraries, so you could add it to your ‘must borrow’ list.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Kevin Whitlark arrived in our house just before December and (you guessed it) is a silly version of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ and full of all kinds of dogs doing doggy things. We like to sing ‘Three French Poodles, Two chewed up slippers, and a fat cat in a fur treeeeeee’ very loudly. If you love dogs (and Christmas carols), you will love this picture book. It really is very silly but it’s good fun and has been read quite a few times since it first arrived.

What about your holiday reading? Do you have any Christmas books that you just love and you think we should know about?

~ Rebecca Newman (Editor, Alphabet Soup magazine)

The Nativity, illustrated by Julie Vivas, Omnibus Books, ISBN 1862910529. This book was selected for review from the Editor’s own collection.
Twelve Days of Christmas, by Rachel Griffin, Barefoot Books, ISBN 9781841489407. This book was selected for review from the Editor’s own collection.
The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, by Kevin Whitlark, Scholastic Australia, ISBN 9781741694451. A review copy of  this book was sent to us by  Scholastic Australia.
Posted in Christmas, info, teachers' resources

A subscription for Christmas!

Alphabet Soup is a magazine about books and creative writing for primary-school aged kids. A subscription would make a fantastic Christmas gift for your favourite young bookworm. (A 1-year subscription only costs $29.80.)

All our subscribers for issue 5 go into a draw for a chance to win a book pack from Fremantle Press, worth $200.00!*

*Books in book pack may differ from those pictured.

Subscribe now to ensure your first issue arrives in time to go under the tree!

Inside issue 5:

  • Kids’ writing competition (win a $20 book voucher!)
  • Q&A with Christine Harris, author of the Audrey books
  • Meet an astronomer
  • Stories, poems and book reviews
  • 6 pages of kids’ writing (kids’ stories, poems, book reviews and artwork!)
  • Writing tips for kids

Merry Christmas from Alphabet Soup!

Posted in authors, book reviews, Christmas, competitions, illustrator, teachers' resources, what we're reading

Win a copy of Wombat Divine by Mem Fox!

This year Wombat is old enough to part in the nativity play, ‘so with his heart full of hope and his head full of dreams, he hurried along to the auditions.’ It’s hard to find a part that’s just right for him and when all the parts have been handed out, he’s a very sad wombat indeed. Everyone crowds around to comfort him but then Bilby has a brilliant idea.

This picture book is a favourite at our house. And the good news is – we have one copy of Wombat Divine to give away! To enter, tell us how you heard about Soup Blog by leaving a comment in the comments box for this post. We will draw a winner at random on 10 December 2009 and ask the winner to contact us with their posting address.

Wombat Divine by Mem Fox, illustrated by Kerry Argent, Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia, ISBN 9781862918412
This book was selected for review from the Editor’s own collection but we also received a review copy – the prize in the giveaway.
[The winner of this giveaway was Airalynn – see comments below. We’ll be running another giveaway soon, so keep an eye on Soup blog!)
Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Rebecca, Christmas, teachers' resources

The Sugar-Plum Christmas Book

Visit your local library and find this book in the lead-up to Christmas. Elsewhere on Soup Blog I have talked about Pancakes and Painted Eggs (a book for Easter), and Haunts and Taunts (for Hallowe’en). This is another book for Aussie kids put together by Jean Chapman.

It’s an old book – I first read it when I was in primary school. But sometimes the old books are the best! (And the old editors too *cough cough*)

Here’s a taste of what you will find inside The Sugar-Plum Christmas Book:

  • The Christmas story – the birth of Jesus.
  • What are Twelfth Night and Epiphany all about? And how does the nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence fit into Christmas celebrations?
  • Stories retold, like The Nutcracker, and The Day After Christmas (the story behind the carol, ‘Good King Wenceslas’).
  • Christmas stories and traditions from other countries.
  • Traditional childhood Christmas games (and some non-Christmassy ones too – they’re all good fun!).
  • Craft activities (my favourites are making your own snowflakes, Christmas cards, bonbons (Christmas crackers), and walnut-shell boats.
  • Recipes and instructions so you can make your own Christmas party food like shortbread, a cold pudding that doesn’t need baking, and Christmas decorations that do need baking. (OK, so you don’t eat these Christmas decorations, but they add to the festivities!)
  • Traditional and modern rhymes, chants and songs for the Christmas season.

The sad news is that this book is out of print. But I have seen it in several public libraries, so ask your favourite librarian if there is a copy at your local library or whether they can get it in for you from another library. (Or perhaps if someone asks what you’d like for Christmas you could add this to your wishlist. I bought my copy secondhand, and it’s as good as a new book!)

The Sugar-Plum Christmas Book, (A book for Christmas and all the days of the year), by Jean Chapman. Illustrated by Deborah Niland. Song settings by Margaret Moore. Hodder and Stoughton (Australia) Pty Ltd. ISBN 0 340 22049 x

This book was selected for review from the Editor’s own collection.

Posted in Christmas, Events, info, library, school holidays, teachers' resources

Premier’s Summer Reading Challenge 2009 – 2010

For children in Western Australia, the Premier’s Summer Reading Challenge runs from 7 December 2009 until 8 February 2010.

On the ‘kids’ section of the website, you can find out about some authors and illustrators, register for the Challenge and download an entry form. (Make sure you get your mum or dad’s permission before doing this.)

And your parents can take part in the Challenge (and even win prizes), so make sure they get some reading in over the school holidays too! (Tell them to check out the ‘parents’ page on the website.)

There’s also a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page if your parents want to know more. Here’s an example:

Q: What should children read?
A: Children should read what interests them. This could be a variety of books, magazines, comics and newspapers. They all count towards completing the Challenge.

See – you can even read Alphabet Soup and it counts. (And you’d be reading that anyway, right?)

Happy reading!

Posted in Christmas

Winner of ‘Snowy’s Christmas’ Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered our Snowy’s Christmas picture book giveaway.Snowy's Christmas, book cover Everyone who emailed us with the correct answer had an entry in the draw. (The correct answer  was: 24 December, or Christmas Eve).

The winner of the draw was Carol Warner, Western Australia – we’ll be posting a copy of Snowy’s Christmas to her this week. Congratulations Carol!

Keep an eye on Soup Blog as we’ll be running more giveaways in the lead up to Christmas!