The Bloomsbury Christmas Treasury by Sally Grindley

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The Bloomsbury Christmas Treasury by Sally Grindley

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Price
Reviewed by Ruth Price
Summary: A nostalgic collection of eight Christmas-themed short stories. An easy addition to the Christmas-present list, but none the worse for all that. While suitable for sharing, well within the reach of younger, confident readers (7-8), who will appreciate the gentle humour and enjoy the magic of Christmas.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747593447

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First of all, I was drawn to reviewing this volume by two things – the appealing cover and the words Christmas Treasury. I used to love the old-fashioned children's treasuries at my grandmother's house when I was little, published in the 1930s. So, I was hoping for something along those lines, which included poetry, recipes, stories, potted history, pop-ups and more.

Now, although there is definitely a nostalgic feel to this volume, and the stories are all very readable and warm, there isn't the variety that I enjoyed in those volumes. There are eight stories, a recipe for Christmas biscuits (with a warning about adults helping with the 'hot stuff' – at the end) and a pictorial re-telling of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Other than making biscuits, there was nothing interactive, which was a little disappointing.

However, there are some charming if not stunningly original stories in here, perfectly themed for Christmas and often with a gentle moral. They are sometimes a little 'girly' – the first story, about Priscilla, the The Reluctant Fairy may make certain boys reluctant to turn the pages. Dear Santa would have been a better opener, about a little boy changing his mind about his ideal present. I liked the humour and warmth in Sally Grindley's stories, which included two nicely-pitched reinterpretations of the Nativity story – though I would still prefer the terms manger for trough and swaddling clothes for cloths. Eight different artists are used to illustrate the stories. Inevitably there are some artists' styles I prefer, but that is the pleasure of a treasury – children can pick their favourite stories and pictures, and go back and revisit. Surprisingly, there are no multi-racial faces depicted – I hate to be all PC, but in a selection of stories, this should be easy enough.

All in all, this is a creditable if not must-have volume, and will appeal both for sharing and for early confident readers. I think it will be happily read and re-read by the right recipient, and it is nicely presented in hardback, with appealing illustrations. It'll save Christmas present problems for many an auntie or grandparent!

Thanks to Bloomsbury Children's Books for supplying this attractive volume to the Bookbag.

If you fancy another treasury, and your child wants to giggle along with you, try A Children's Treasury of Milligan by Spike Milligan. For a magical book to share for younger readers, you'll enjoy Bear's First Christmas by Robert Kinerk and Jim LaMarche.

Buy The Bloomsbury Christmas Treasury by Sally Grindley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bloomsbury Christmas Treasury by Sally Grindley at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Bloomsbury Christmas Treasury by Sally Grindley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Bloomsbury Christmas Treasury by Sally Grindley at Amazon.com.


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