Christmas Is... by Karen Sapp

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Christmas Is... by Karen Sapp

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Magda Healey
Reviewed by Magda Healey
Summary: Typical contemporary Christmas picture book for children: pretty and not particularly exciting but entirely inoffensive.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? No
Pages: 24 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0007303755

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Christmas is looming and thus the market for picture books featuring santas, presents and Christmas trees. It's hard to come up with anything new here, and it's rather not the point - is it? Christmas is, after all, about annually repeated celebration of traditional rituals that add delight and nourishment to the spiritual, emotional and social fabric of life.

Karen Sapp's picture book is nothing but a run through such rituals: each double page spread bears a heading referring to a christmasy activity or characteristic and contains a picture that illustrates this activity: decorating the tree, partying, singing, getting together with family and friends, giving and receiving presents, saying I love you. All the characters taking part are anthropomorphic, pretty animals (although we get a human child on the last page) and the artwork is the pretty standard 'modern cute' likely to be found on animal Christmas cards, in the style popular nowadays in children's picture books. The scenes depicted are clear and simple, but with enough anecdote to provide some stimulus for conversation with the child.

The activities featured are entirely generic. Christmas is... is inoffensively universal, with not a single angel (and certainly - God forbid - not a baby Jesus) in sight.

All in all, a very standard Christmas picture book, not any better and not any worse than others - have a look and it might just fit your stocking requirements.

Thanks to the publishers for sending this book to the Bookbag.

We also enjoyed The Night Before Christmas by Tony Mitton and Layn Marlow. For a more religious interpretation of Christmas, we can recommend The First Christmas by Jan Pienkowski.

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Buy Christmas Is... by Karen Sapp at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Christmas Is... by Karen Sapp at


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