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A Selection of Books for Children: Part 3

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Ink Stains

As Christmas approaches, we present a series of short reviews by Grace O’Reilly of books for children.

50 Christmas Things to Make & Do by Minna Lacey & Rebecca Gilpin

A cute little folder like book with a spiral ring binder for arts and craft lovers.  This book, 50 Christmas Things to Make & Do, by Minna Lacey & Rebecca Gilpin was first published in America in 2007, and printed in China.  It will keep children and adults busy in the cold and wet weather in the lead up to Christmas.  Designed by Amanda Gulliver and illustrated by Katie Lovell, Antonia Miller, Jan McCafferty, Molly Sage, Non Taylor and Josephine Thompson.  The photography is by Howard Allman.

There is an index at the back of book where the creator can look for what they have in mind to make and do, from paper lanterns and paperchains to hanging decorations, and cards to give to people.  For those creators, who are eager to create but looking for an idea of what to make and/or do, the contents at the front are full of ideas too.  From frost branches, to penguin gift-wrap, from gift boxes to an Advent castle, there are lots of ideas to get the young and old going on their creative adventures.  Make sure to have your paints, glitters and glues at the ready for your festive creations.

This is an ideal book for a teacher in both primary and secondary schools as well as for crèche and playschool staff or Scout and Guide leaders to have.  Get your group making fabulous creations to sell at Christmas fairs and stalls, and to add a bit of festive cheer in the classroom or at home.  Personalised home-made gifts are always cheaper and more sentimental, as they are made with love.

“This inspiring book is bursting with fun, festive ideas for things to make and do in the weeks before Christmas.”

Order your copy online here.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

The Usborne Pocket Scientist – The Blue Book

First published in 2002 by Usborne Publishing Ltd, and the copyrights are dated 2201, 1995, 1993, 1992, 1990.  The cover deign is by Russel Punter and the cover illustration is by Christyan Fox, with thanks to Susanna Davidson.  The Usborne Pocket Scientist – The Blue Book, has materials from twelve other books, all listed at the back of the book, under the blurb which reads,

“This pocket-sized guide tackles the mysteries of everyday things, from nature to science and technology.  This simple text and bright, detailed illustrations combine to answer questions in clear, step-by-step stages.

There are also descriptions of fun and interesting websites that you can visit to find out more.  For links to these sites, and to download pictures from the book, go to the Usborune Quicklinks Website at www.usborne-quicklinks.com

The book is made from paper from a sustainable source.  On the contents page little scientists can see what pages to go to for their own personal tastes in science, from, how do animals talk to why is night dark to experiments, there is a chapter that will tickle each scientist’s fancy.  For those unsure of the chapter they want to go to first the index at the back of the book will help readers to decide on which pages they want to explore and investigate on.

Order your copy online here.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

This short story done in a poetical manner, by Clement C. Moore is a Christmas classic, that has been enjoyed for many, many years now.  There have been tons of publications of Moore’s The Night Before Christmas, with different cover styles and illustrations.  The copy that I have in front of me now is a Marks and Spencer version, copyrighted by Exclusive Editions in 2009, and was printed in China.  The illustrations within this little book are copyright of Caroline Pedler, and the beautiful pictures are modernised and her own colourful ideas.

Before Rudolph’s time, St Nicholas and his eight tiny reindeer pull a sleigh around the world to fill of the stockings of all the good boys and girls, full of toys.  The magic of Christmas eve is prominent in this well-loved seasonal rhyme that is one of the best loved of all time.  I grew up listening to this story, my parents grew up listening to this story, the very book I have here has “This book belongs to…Olivia” inscribed at the opening page, where she was gifted this book on her very first Christmas back in December 2011, and she and her little brother Ben have this read to them by my husband Simon, in his Santa impersonalised voice, every year, before we do the food and drink for Santa and the reindeer.  Written by Clement Clarke Moore and first published in 1823, this read-aloud classic has been beloved for generations, and will be for generations to come.

“Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

In certain areas in the tale, you can see the older English used, which adds to its charisma and charm.

“And Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.”

…” with a little old driver so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.”

I love how all of the original reindeer are all named, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen.  Unfortunately, some people will argue with the part with smoking, but it is important to keep it there and tell readers that it is simply a product of it’s time, before people knew about the dangers of smoking, and poor body image,

“The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump…”

Clements wrote this tale in a completely different time and era, and it was always just meant to be for fun and excitement.  It is certainly one that I intend to read to my own grandchildren one day.

“But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight,

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!”

Order your copy online here.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

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