Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2013
It’s Christmas Day and a family heads of for Christmas with Granny and Pa. Much to the children’s horror, the parents won’t let them take Ruby the reindeer with them after the trouble she caused last year, so she goes to the zoo for the day instead.
I really enjoyed this story book. It is Christmassy but has a very different story that is fun and keeps the kids wondering what will happen next.
The zoo animals are feeling sorry for themselves as they get lonely on Christmas Day (which led us to talk about the fact that Melbourne Zoo is open and has keepers on Christmas Day). Ruby had an idea of letting the animals mingle and party, which seemed to go ok at first but then the inevitable problems arise.
Ruby sees Santa’s sleigh go past and asks for help, naming all nine reindeer.
My kids reacted to “I don’t think [Santa] even believes we exist” – my six year old just could not understand how anyone could not know about zoo animals – and “Good tidings, good cheer! Mind the elephant poo!” (they may that hysterical, of course!)
The book rhymes throughout which delighted my seven year old and adds some rhythm and fun to the experience, too.
Pictures throughout are colourful and simple, matching the story perfectly. And some sparkly texture on the front cover makes it all a little bit more special, too. It’s all good fun and I recommend it.
Greenberg has written another naughtiest reindeer book and some others, and based on this one, I’ll be keeping an eye out for them 🙂
My daughter was very excited to find a Christmas related set of Lego for day 17. She found two presents – she had to make the gift boxes and had little hair clips to put inside the gifts.
Her brother was happy to have the second part of the bakery stall to put together.
Both children found their advent claendars today built on what they found on day 17. Lego City’s bakery stall now has a uniformed firefighter serving biscuits!
The Lego Friends calendar produced a Christmas tree to put the presents under. The tree was a little difficult to build – pieces on different angles based on a single connection point made it easy for pieces to fall apart as we pushed on them (and I say we but my six year old couldn’t do it so I ended up making the tree, although she added the star!)
With only a week to go to Christmas, here are some of the previous days of the 2016 Lego advent calendars.
Ok, it is actually Saturday morning but I am sharing the Lego advent calendars fro Fridday as we lost power last night and I couldn’t access the internet to post this.
Again, my daughter was questioning the Christmas aspect of the Friends calendar so I am trying to explain that not everything in an advent calendar has to actually be about Christmas. But given her enjoyment of making things, she was very happy to put together a craft table and glue bottle.
My son found a plane in the Lego City calendar. I wondered if it would turn out to be a shuttle and part of a rocket (as happened last year) but we’ll have to wait until tonight to find out!
by Steve Smallman
illustrated by Robert Dunn
AliCat, South Melbourne, 2012
The book starts with Santa and a little old elf preparing the sleigh and reindeer for his trip Down Under. It then covers the flight, including getting lost in cloud, and delivery of the gifts.
Santa is nice and cheery, a young reindeer is bright and finds the way to Perth’s Bell Tower, and Santa’s magic is throughout the book. So it was a fun and happy read.
Interestingly, Perth got the most mentions but Santa then went onto the other major cities (though one does wonder why he went to Alice Springs, then the east coast before going to Darwin!). One spread includes many recognisable structures, although predominantly Sydney and Melbourne, and the last page sees Santa flying home over Sydney rather than Darwin…
As a positive, the Santa-nav uses kilometres and there is no snow in Australia, Santa refers to little Aussies and ‘crossed the Equator and headed down under’. I was less happy with children leaving out ‘cookies and milk’ and a reindeer snack was left inside rather than out on the grass as I’ve always known to do.
Astute children may ask why Santa went straight home after Darwin rather than delivering gifts to children in other countries (and my seven year old did notice!), but that didn’t detract from the overall story.
As always, it’s nice to see a book centred around places you know, so Aussie kids are bound to enjoy this book. And children elsewhere may well enjoy the story in its own right and get some interest out of seeing some views of down under!
Tonight, the Lego City calendar joined in the food theme with a cake stall! At least, it is the physical part of a stall and some cash – my son believes it will be followed by an oven and some food 🙂
“Mummy, would you love a cup of tea?”
My daughter was quite excited tonight to find a teapot and mugs with a table in her Friends advent calendar. The table nicely matches the seats from last night, although the tray of cupcakes won’t fit on the table if the mugs are already there!
Following all the cooking utensils, the cupcakes and Santa’s snack, my daughter asked “why is Lego giving me a feast?” to which my son answered “Well, Christmas usually has lots and lots of yummy food you know!” So it was established that the calendar is fitting the Christmas spirit!
Meanwhile, in Lego City for day 14, a helicopter was revealed for the remote control discovered yesterday. My son is very happy with and enjoyed flying it to the top of advent calendar itself and then having the ice hockey players admire it!
We’re now past half way through our advent calendars and Christmas is definitely feeling closer now…
Tonight, we discovered some chairs and a plate of cupcakes for Emma and Naomi, and a man with a remote control device in Lego City.
Remember you can read the introduction to our Lego advent reviews or catch up on day 12. And if you’re interested in using a Lego advent calendar after reading our reviews, I don’t think it’s too late – the kids will just have the fun of opening lots in one go, or maybe make it two a day until you catch up. Especially as some places may have reduced the price a lot by now…
Oops – I’m a bit late with last night’s advent calendar review so apologies for that 🙂
Anyone hungry? The Friends calendar provided my daughter with an array of cooking utensils – plate, knives and forks, along with a hand mixer, frying pan and spatula. Emma was quickly whipping up dinner for Naomi and the two ice-hockey players from Lego City 🙂
Over in Lego City, we’ve got a bit more Christmassy light to enjoy… An old fashioned lamp post (not the same as the one we got in last year’s calendar as this one has two lights and a circular wreath) decorated with a Christmas wreath is pretty and welcoming.
Which would you prefer to have discovered behind flap twelve – the cooking things or the lamp post and wreath?
My children have made Christmas decorations for the boys in their classes this year, having already made hair ties for the girls.
We used a craft kit of foam decorations which they decorated and popped into an envelope with a Christmas card.
The kids loved colouring in the ornaments, to the point that my son even coloured along the edges of some!
The kids were excited and got into the decorating before I got photos taken so I only have shots of the kit in part!
The kit made things very simple and the kids enjoyed making the decorations.
The kit contains 12 foam Christmas ornaments (three each of four designs), lengths of golden string, four small textas and some glitter glue. The packet states ’embellishments included’ and there were two tubes of glue so I thought there was something else to glue onto the ornaments – it took a little while to understand it was glitter glue and that was classed as an embellishment.
The biggest issue with the kit is the size of the textas – they were cute being so small but didn’t last well enough for my kids thoroughly colouring in the ornaments and writing messages on the back. In particular, my kids used a lot of red (on Santa’s suit and other decorations) so ended up using their own textas and pens.
But you could certainly use the kit for a quick Christmas activity or as gifts like my children have done.
As day ten was Saturday night, I left that review until tonight so day ten and eleven are together 🙂
The Lego City advent calendar produced a girl dressed for ice-hockey on day ten – my son was very excited to see her! The girl was on the side of the box to show the size of Lego pieces so he has been expecting her…
While my daughter was ecstatic to put together a piano from the Lego Friends calendar – she has been looking forward to the piano as it is on the box (and I hoped it was more than just a prop on the background!). I love the fact there is sheet music and how the keys look real – it is based on a white grill piece as the white keys and the gaps look like black keys are there!
Tonight, my daughter was extremely excited to find a purple guitar on a stand – purple is her favourite colour so she loves this guitar. “And it’s even a plug-in guitar, Mummy!” Both children are now planning a Lego band with their combined instruments and musical equipment from this advent calendar.
My son was pleased to get a bare tree (back to the winter concept of deciduous trees) with some Christmas lights on it.
It’s Friday and we’ve done nine advent calendar flaps now – Christmas Eve is getting closer!
Keeping with the ice-hockey player from day eight, Lego City produced a stand (for want of a better word – I don’t know much about ice-hockey!) for holding ice-skates, pucks, etc beside the ice.
Unfortunately, my daughter was not so happy with the ninth flap of the Friends calendar – in fact there were tears because it wasn’t anything Christmassy and advent calendars should be about Christmas Mummy!”
I thought the turntable and microphone set was quite cute, but I agree it is not related to Christmas as such (but I never expected every day to be directly Christmas related). I guess it is hard because ice skating, fires and hot chocolate and the like are not part of our Christmas celebrations in any way – hopefully Lego will do a warmer weather focussed advent calendar next year (it’s not only Australia that is in summer!)
“Mum, today’s calendar is really Christmassy!”
Meanwhile, in Lego City advent calendar, my son found a boy with ice skates and hockey gear.