It’s an unusual review for me this time as ‘Twenty Four Days to Christmas’ by Fred Arthur and illustrated by Paul Winward is a book aimed at children aged 3 to 5. It is available in ebook and paperback, published by Clink Street on 10th November 2015. I am very grateful to Kate Appleton of www.authoright.com for a review copy in return for an honest review.
Poppy is desperate for it to be Christmas so her Mum and Dad plan twenty-four days of surprises, activities and outings to help make the time pass more quickly. Before she knows it, Christmas Day has arrived.
‘Twenty Four Days to Christmas’ is written in rhyme and is a bit like an Advent calendar in story form which is an excellent idea and one many parents will relish. It is too long to read to a child all in one go but works really well as a story a day up to Christmas. I had intended reading it myself with my 4 year old great-nephew, but I’ll give it to his parents and ask them to report back later.
What I particularly liked about this book is that it has some good ideas for activities to do with children in the run up to Christmas, from making sock snowmen to mince pies and pine cone reindeer. There’s a really positive sense of family and being together. I also liked the concept of Dad, rather than Mum, going Christmas shopping with Poppy to challenge stereotypes though I’d have liked Poppy not to ask for pink lipstick in her letter to Santa, even if that’s what a lot of little girls would like.
The layout of the book is lovely, with baubles as page numbers and super full page illustrations for every day as well as detailed pictures alongside the text. Within the text are very helpful and positive message like cleaning your teeth and washing your face before bed.
There were a few issues that detracted from the quality of the book for me (though I’m sure a three to five year old wouldn’t notice!). There were some inconsistencies of capitalisation and punctuation throughout. The use of the word ‘cos’ instead of ‘as’ irritated me as did ‘bestest’ to describe a dress. I didn’t like the mirror transposed S in one of the illustrations as this book is aimed at children in the early stages of learning to write and correct examples are more helpful. Occasionally I thought the rhyming text a little forced and too advanced for the target age group such as ‘without being impeded’ but again, it’s the gist that most children will grasp and there is nothing wrong with trying to advance a child’s vocabulary.
I think this is a really useful book for bedtimes as children get increasingly excited before Christmas and I’m sure children in the target age range will thoroughly enjoy it.