Tales from Christmas Wood, by Suzy Senior (2015)

Christmas Fiction
Tales from Christmas WoodIt’s Christmas Eve, and Christmas Wood looks lovely in the snow. But so much is happening behind the scenes! Badger stumbles across the lovely village and decides on the spot to move in. But her scary teeth make it hard to make new friends. Tiny Mouse is making gingerbread cookies, but his penchant for tasting creates a problem. Rosie Rabbit’s brothers are so noisy they drive their sister out the door, and she becomes lost. Robin wants to grow up to be a hero, and discovers something about himself. Fidgety Fox is looking for adventure and instead finds something scary in the barn! Each of these five stories stands on its own, but all five culminate in a satisfying ending in the sixth story, which also serves to introduce small children to the Christmas Nativity Story. The illustrations, by James Newman Gray, were created digitally, and have a luscious painterly aspect. Gray offers an online gallery of the illustrations sans text. He uses a blue-grey tint for the snow that lends an air of dreamy fogginess – I find myself looking at the every corner of the two-page spreads that bleed right off the page. When I explored reviews of this title, I noticed many readers are stymied by the series of five separate tales that finally come together at the end. But I liked it. Each story is four pages long, with enough text to make it a lovely bedtime story leading up to Christmas Eve. If you approach it that way, saving the next “chapter” for another night, it opens up a much richer understanding of the narrative for both child and parent. The Christian aspect means this book has appeal for a specific audience, and is not appropriate for public school or library storytimes, but it’s better appreciated as a shared story on a lap anyway. My thanks to the British publisher Lion Hudson for the e-galley version from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this picture book: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26038030


About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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