The Usborne Book Of Christmas Stories by Russell Punter and Illustrated by Philip Webb
Yes, yes, I can hear you – ‘But it’s only November!’ – I know. But I thought I’d review this now so that you have time to go out and buy it as a present before Christmas really arrives!!
Tori recieved this stunning storybook last Christmas and I knew the instant I opened it that it was going to be a long-standing favourite.
The book is beautiful to look at before you even venture inside the cover. Bright colours, friendly looking writing and everything kids love about Christmas – Santa and his reindeer, present, snow, sledging, snowmen, pretty lights – adorn this large (but not too large for a child to handle) hardback volume. I say hardback, as it is, but it is almost padded to the touch rather than harsh – perfect for little fingers to grip when they’re sat on your lap for storytime.
Inside the book is no less beautiful, every page is full colour with big, bold pictures that compliment the stories. Philip Webb’s illustrations are clever and even had me chuckling as I noticed all the little details. They are bright and colourful and even last Christmas, when Tori was only 5 months old, she would point out things that caught her eye and grin broadly.
The book contains six different stories including:
‘The Fake Santa‘
Santa Claus is very confused to find parents shouting at him on his rounds and accusing him of upsetting all the children. Puzzled he continues on his rounds only to spot a sleigh very similar to his own following along below and goes down to investigate. Will Santa save the day and solve the mystery of the second sleigh?
‘The Elf and the Toymaker’
Alfie the Elf is not having a good time in Santa’s Toy Factory. He’s supposed to be in charge of sweeping the floors but it’s just so boring he keeps falling asleep! One day Alife dozes amongst the presents long after everyone else has packed up and gone home and when he wakes up he decides to have a closer look at the Toymaker. Alfie has always wanted to be in charge of the Toymaker but as he curiously peers down an interesting looking tube he loses his footing and falls in! Now he has to try get out without breaking everything or getting squished when they turn the machine on in the morning…
‘Freezy’s New Buttons’
Freezy the snowman is very sad – every other snowman on his street has lovely pebble buttons but he doesn’t have any at all. Then one day two men run past his garden and press three very shiny buttons onto his chest. Pleased, Freezy sets off to show his buttons to all his friends but when he spots a discarded newspaper with the headline JEWEL THIEVES STEAL DIGBY DIAMONDS he realises that his buttons are a little more precious than pebbles. Freezy really wants to help the police catch the thieves – but how can a snowman help catch crooks?
Each of the stories is charming and witty whilst still being short enough to keep even the most fidgety child entranced. Whether you are reading together in a quiet five minutes between presents and roast turkey on Christmas Day or curled up at bedtime in the run up to the big event this book is brilliant, if you read one story or two or even the whole book, you and your child will never grow tired of it. There’s always something to notice and plenty to talk about with Baby both about the stories and their morals and about the pictures and characters.
Tori loves this book and so do I – I have been looking forward to getting it out of the cupboard again ever since I grudgingly put it away last February!