We’ve been busy reading Christmas stories in the Library this week. Below are a few that the children have enjoyed!
Merry Christmas, Splat! by Rob Scotton
Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books
The popular, manic-furred cat Splat is back in this seasonal tale (or should I say ‘tail’?) and this time, he’s worried that he’s not been good enough for Santa to bring him a massive present. (His teasing sister doesn’t help matters by stoking the flames.) Splat therefore decides to be as helpful as possible around the house to ensure that he’s in Father Christmas’s good books, much to his mother’s chagrin. Splat washes clean dishes, over-decorates the Christmas tree and, in an attempt to clear snow from the path to the front door, actually only succeeds in letting the snow in the front door. When Splat goes to bed on Christmas Eve, he waits up all night to see if he’s done enough…
The children loved this story, with its crazy drawings (Splat is just so ‘in your face’!) and his well-intended by misguided attempts to prove what a good cat he is. We used the story as a basis for an activity to guess what Splat wanted for a big present and the following were some of the suggestions:
- robots (suggested twice – I think these must be on some of the children’s Christmas lists this year)
- a giant mouse that Splat can eat (poor Seymour must be quaking in his Santa hat)
- a giant mouse woolly toy for cats
- a starfish
- a woolly mammoth
- a photo box with coloured photos
Here’s a small selection of drawings from the children:
Madeline’s Christmas, by Ludwig Bemelmans
Published by Puffin Books
The mischievous, sweet-natured convent girl Madeline is the only one who’s feeling fine in the old house in Paris that was covered in vines, for everyone in the house, even the mouse, has gone down with a terrible cold. She’s cleaning and cooking and waiting on everyone, even Miss Clavell, when a mysterious rug merchant appears at the door with, fortuitously, 12 rugs that Madeline purchases to keep everyone’s feet warm in bed. However, the rug merchant is not so lucky and becomes frozen without his wares. He is forced to return to ask for them back and, in exchange, he helps Madeline give everyone a Christmas they will all remember.
This book is a joy to read aloud. The children loved the rhymes (and when they stared at me when I prompted them for the end rhyme, and I suggested ‘Bob’ at random, this was also hilarious). Most of the children were familiar with the story from the film version so I hope they have gone away with a desire to read more about the adventures of Madeline in other books.
The Smelly Sprout, by Allan Plenderleith
Published by Ravette Publishing Limited
I haven’t seen this book in many bookshops but it’s a firm favourite in our Library. Poor Little Sprout has been chucked out of his house at Christmas because no one likes him, so he goes on a quest to find his destiny. Along the way, he encounters a grumpy Christmas tree, an irritable snowman and a greedy fox, who all reject him with the rhyming refrain, “Out, smelly sprout!” In the end, the sprout meets another lonely soul who looks relieved to see him. Will they be best of friends?
The children love this. Many say they hate sprouts, and like to join in with the refrain, but they’re glad by the end of the story. I’m not sure that this will make them eat their sprouts on Christmas Day or at any other time, but it’s worth a try if you want them to see sprouts as anything except an evil vegetable. I still won’t eat them though…