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Review of The Nights Before Christmas, illustrated by Tony Ross

The Nights Before Christmas is definitely one of those books that every family should have in their home, featuring everyone’s favourite Christmas stories in one place and set out perfectly to help you read one story each night throughout the Christmas season.

Review of The Nights Before Christmas, illustrated by Tony Ross

The Nights Before Christmas is a compilation of 24 stories written by some of the world’s most recognised writers (e.g. Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Anderson, The Brothers Grimm and Leo Tolstoy). Most of the stories are classic Christmas stories, songs and poems, but included are also newspaper extracts and other stories and fairy tales with themes and messages that relate to the spirit of Christmas. The title, the chapters and the gorgeous pictorial calendar in the opening spread encourage families to read one story each day or night during the 24 days before Christmas.

Some of the stories include A Visit from St. Nicholas, The Fir Tree, The Nativity, Papa Panov’s Special Christmas, A Kidnapped Santa Claus, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Snow Queen, The Little Match- Seller and an extract from A Christmas Carol.

Tony Ross, the illustrator of this collection of stories, begins the compilation with a special message about what Christmas means to him. He talks about his hope that stories are used to create anticipation during the countdown to Christmas.

Personally I’m overjoyed to add The Nights Before Christmas to our family’s little library. Not only are we huge fans of Christmas and Tony Ross (Little Princess a favourite character here), but I can envisage this hardcover book becoming a very important part of our family’s history that will be passed down to children and grandchildren. Discovering new stories is such a wonder and I’m also excited to discover some new European Christmas stories alongside my children.

And if I haven’t yet conveyed how special this book is, a final section is included at the back of the book featuring detailed information and interesting tidbits about the authors and the stories.

Illustrator: Tony Ross

ISBN: 9781742761404

Format: Hardcover

Publisher: Koala Books, October 2014

RRP: $29.99

More Book-inspired Advent Calendars

Click on the images below to see how we’ve celebrated Advent in past years:

Christmas Book Advent Tree

Christmas Book Tree and other Advent Ideas from My Little Bookcase

Christmas Cracker Advent Calendar

Christmas Cracker Advent Calendar_ My Little Bookcase

Mini Matchbox Advent Bookcase

Mini Advent Bookcase_ My Little Bookcase

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

Choose-a-Book Christmas Chatterbox

I just love making and playing with chatterboxes. I always have.  And, I’m always looking for a reason to make one. At Christmas time we use the trusty chatterbox as a decision-maker to help us choose which Christmas books to read each day….because we have so many books but so little time to read them.

Read ahead to find out how to make and use a Christmas Chatterbox, and for MORE Christmas reading, play and craft ideas.

Christmas Chatterbox by My Little Bookcase

MAKING YOUR CHRISTMAS CHATTERBOX

a)      Starting with a square piece of paper, fold the paper in half diagonally- in both directions, so that when you unfold the paper the creases create a cross.

b)      With the paper unfolded, fold each corner to the centre point. Don’t unfold.

c)       Turn the square  over and, again, fold each corner to the centre point. Don’t unfold.

d)      Fold the square in half horizontally.

Christmas Chatterbox instructions by My Little Bookcase

Label and decorate your chatterbox

e)      After following steps a-d, you should now be able to slip your fingers under the flaps to control your chatter box, but first you need to label and decorate it.

f)      Choose eight Christmas book titles to include on your chatterbox. Unfold the chatterbox and write the book titles on the 8 spaces available on the inner-side of the chatterbox.

g)       Fold these flaps back into the centre and write the numbers 1-8 on each of the small triangles.

h)      Turn the chatterbox over and write four Christmas-themed words on the corners of the outer-side of the chatterbox (we also include symbols or pictures to provide Cammy with a visual reading prompt/cue).

Christmas chatterbox instructions by My Little Bookcase

Your child might enjoy decorating the chatterbox with stickers, stamps and Christmas colours.

Make a Christmas Chatterbox

USING THE CHATTERBOX

Model the use of the chatterbox for your children until they are ready to try themselves.

  • Ask your child to choose one Christmas word displayed on the chatterbox (Having pictures and symbols can help a pre-reader).
  • Spell the word, opening and closing the chatterbox each time you say a letter aloud.
  • When you stop moving the chatterbox, ask your child to choose a number from the ones displayed.
  • Count aloud until you reach this number; again opening and closing the chatterbox each time you say a number aloud.
  • When the chatterbox has stopped moving, ask your child to choose another number from the ones displayed.
  • Lift the chosen flap to reveal a book title, which will be the one you read together.

Use the chatterbox each day of Christmas (You might like to make three different chatterboxes if you would like to read a different book each day of Christmas without repeating any).

Christmas chatterbox play by My Little Bookcase

Chatterboxes are so much fun, but they also provide many opportunities for learning and skill development:

  • As children practise manipulating their chatterbox (which takes a while to master), they are using and developing their fine motor skills
  • Having words and numbers on the chatterbox gives your child the chance to practise to reading, spelling and counting in a fun, festive way.

MORE CHRISTMAS IDEAS AT MY LITTLE BOOKCASE

BOOKS AND BOOK LISTS:

Christmas Books for Babies and Toddlers

Australian Christmas Books

Delightful Christmas Books

Books about Christmas Trees

BOOK AND READING FUN:

Advent and Christmas Countdown Ideas for Little Bookworms

A Book-Inspired ‘Christmas Cracker’ Advent Calendar

12 Fun Ways to Enjoy Your Christmas Book Collection

Setting up a Christmas Reading Corner

PLAY:

A Little Golden Book Nativity Set (with story stones)

A Magical Sleigh Ride Play Scene

CRAFTS AND HOMEMADE GIFTS:

Very Arty Kid-Made Christmas Stationery with Bauble Painting

Handmade Swirled Glass Vases

Making personal wrapping paper like The Christmas Giant

Stamped Clay Decorations with Slinky Malinki

FOOD AND PARTIES:

Christmas Wombats for Santa

Storybook Christmas Party

Like this post? Stay connected:

Be sure to join one of our communities for more literacy-based inspiration, or subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future posts.

About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase