Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps! by Julie Stiegemeyer

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Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps! by Julie Stiegemeyer

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: A good book Christmas board book for toddlers and young pre-schoolers if you can ignore roast dinner associations.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 24 Date: October 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747588108

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It's the Christmas season again, and children's (particularly pre-schoolers') Christmas theme books abound. And why not - after all all other media are getting rather full of Christmas stuff, too.

Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps! is a novelty board book for the youngest audience and it follows a family of chickens as they prepare for the festivities (I promise I will refrain from poor poultry jokes as much as possible).

The concept is actually a good one: each square page is devoted to one activity, or really a simple action, like placing a star on top of the tree, jumping for joy, making a wish, catching snowflakes and similar. The text is very simple, usually just a phrase, sometimes only a few sound-words, but it works well and provides ample material to work with for a parent of a toddler that's just starting to get on with books.

The illustrations are sweet without being saccharine: Carol Baicker-McKee creates images with paint, fabric and clay and the book contains photographs of those. Many of the boards have a single object which can be the starting point for a story, or just used for naming or pointing. There is even a cookie recipe!

The joy and excitement of preparing for family Christmas is well captured in both the artwork and the text.

Why only 3.5 stars, then? I have to come back to poultry here, unfortunately. I don't particularly like the over-abundance of anthropomorphic animals in children's' stories in general, though I am not totally and a priori biased against them. However, I felt a tad queasy looking at all those chirpy chickens, unable to forget that the centrepiece of the most popular British Christmas dinner is a close relative of the characters in this book (I might have been unduly influenced by the fact that I personally cooked a large chicken for Christmas dinners in various circumstances quite a few times).

I know these were terry towelling (=toy) chicks, and I know that 2 year olds are unlikely to make this connection, and I know we shouldn't eat anything that we are not prepared to at least see alive before it gets dispatched to the stove, but still I was a bit uncomfortable with the choice of the animal in Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps!. Even penguins would be better!

Recommended for vegetarian parents of toddlers, roast-making ones have to decide for themselves how much they would be subject to squeamishness transfer.

Thanks to the publishers for sending this to the Bookbag.

Buy Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps! by Julie Stiegemeyer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps! by Julie Stiegemeyer at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps! by Julie Stiegemeyer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Merry Christmas, Little Cheeps! by Julie Stiegemeyer at Amazon.com.


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