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.

teachers' resources

Haunts and Taunts: a book for Hallowe’en and all the nights of the year!

Haunts and Taunts cover

Boggles and ghaisties,

And four-legged beasties,

And things that go bump

In the night.

This book is another old favourite of mine. It’s out of print, but (like Pancakes and Painted Eggs) is still available at some libraries. Or you could keep an eye out at second hand book shops!

Haunts and Taunts has the subtitle: A book for Hallowe’en and all the nights of the year. It’s full of spooky stories, poems, songs (with sheet music, arranged by Margaret Moore), explanations of customs from a variety of cultures, recipes, craft activities, and scary illustrations by Deborah Niland.

When Hallowe’en is over, you can dip into this book for stories and songs to use around a campfire (or around a candle at the kitchen table when the power is out!), or anytime if you love reading about boggarts, giants, enchantments, fairies and ghosts!

Ask your favourite librarian if they have it at your library.

This book was selected for review from the Editor’s own collection. Her tattered copy is a paperback and the ISBN is 034033452 5.