Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard, Richard Smith and Tim Hopgood

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard, Richard Smith and Tim Hopgood

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Tony Taylor
Reviewed by Tony Taylor
Summary: The classic well-loved song by Peggy Lee illustrated by the amazing Tim Hopgood is a wonderful way to feel Christmassy. The accompanying CD contains a delightfully jazzy version of the song – surely this will become a family favourite.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: October 2016
Publisher: OUP Oxford
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0192743756

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It’s the end of October – almost November – and the embers of Christmas are just being brought back to life now. The weather is changing, the leaves are falling and it’s dark before six o’clock. No matter how much we try not to, our thoughts are turning to Christmas. Now, I absolutely love Christmas. However, what I love more than Christmas is the idea of Christmas. Walking in a Winter Wonderland paints the idea of Christmas better than anything else. It is a Christmas card in words and although it may be 13 degrees on Christmas day with grey skies, in our hearts sleigh bells are ringing, snow is glistening, Mister snowmen are being built and we all conspire as we dream by the fire. What a fantastic way to epitomise Christmas by using this great song, made famous by Peggy Lee and originally written in 1934, as a story book for children.

I really enjoyed reading this story to my children. The pictures are beautiful with wonderful colour contrasts to match the words and provide both the warmth and chilly feeling of the season. Musical notes float around each page and the front cover under the dust jacket has an enchanting musical winter tree covered in snow. It is, of course, really difficult to read the words rather than sing it as a song. However, when I slowed down and remembered to read, not to sing, then the words and rhythm danced off the page and I enjoyed the book as a fantastic poem. This really is a clever idea.

What’s more, the book comes complete with a CD. There are three tracks on the CD. The first is Winter Wonderland performed by Peggy Lee. Over the years, there have been so many different versions of this song. This version is amazing. A brilliant arrangement, jazzy in style and a great recording. I wasn’t sure if I had heard this version before, but I promise that you are in for a treat. Track 2 is a read along performance. There is a glistening sparkling sound to indicate that it is time to turn the page. In all honesty I am not sure about the third track. It is called an interactive listening game. Children listen to a few seconds of sounds from musical instruments which they then have to guess what is happening, mostly based on the story. I did not really understand what the purpose of this track was but it could be fun to listen and guess as an additional game.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland is a fabulous way of providing children with a little bit of Christmas culture. After hearing the story and listening to Peggy Lee, my four-year old son is now humming the song around the house which shows its timeless lyrics and catchy tune. The choice of song for this book is brilliant. It really will give you the idea of a perfect Christmas. Definitely one to be enjoyed by all ages, as no matter how old we get, the magic of freshly falling snow never quite goes away.

For further reading I recommend another Tim Hopgood illustrated book What A Wonderful World by Bob Thiele, George David Weiss and Tim Hopgood.

Buy Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard, Richard Smith and Tim Hopgood at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Felix Bernard, Richard Smith and Tim Hopgood at Amazon.co.uk.


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