Children’s Book Review: Christmas in Exeter Street by Diana Hendry

Children's Book REview of Christmas in Exeter Street by My Little Bookcase

Christmas in Exeter Street is one book we are thoroughly enjoying this Christmas. It was first published in 1989 but the illustrations and story are timeless.

The story takes place in a house on Exeter Street where George and Jane live with their mother, Mrs Mistletoe.

Each page sees a new visitor arrive to stay at the house on Exeter Street, and each visitor arrives with a gift of some description. Grandpa George and Grandma Ginny bring a Christmas tree, Uncle Bartholomew brings some Australian Delight, Lily brings some homemade Christmas hats, the vicar brings a Christmas carol, five aunts from Abingdon bring a turkey, Baby Lily-Lou brings a smile and Santa brings gifts for the 18 children who stay in the house on Christmas Eve. It is a cumulative tale that leads to a wonderful Christmas celebration.

The house on Exeter Street is not large, but Mrs Mistletoe finds a place for them all to sleep, until each nook and cranny is filled.  As the story progresses the sleeping spots get more and more ridiculous. Lily-Lou sleeps in the kitchen sink, the vicar and his wife sleep in the bath tub, and the five aunts sleep on the shelves of the kitchen dresser amongst the crockery.

Beautifully descriptive and filled with alliteration and Christmas puns, the text is a joy to read. What makes the story most entertaining is that the humorous story is told in quite a serious manner by the narrator, as if there is nothing overly unusual about the happenings in Exeter Street.

Although children will surely giggle throughout this story, there is really quite a poignant message to take away from it: Christmas is a time to be in the company of the ones you love. It is a time to laugh, share and give in whatever capacity you’re able, whether you’re rich or poor, well travelled or sheltered, busy or lonely.

Christmas in Exeter Street- Book Details:

Author: Diana Hendry

Illustrator: John Lawrence

ISBN: 978 1 4063 4303 8

Publisher: Walker Books, November 2013

RRP: $16.95 (aud)

Suitable for ages: 4+

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