Lili Wilkinson (text), Amanda Francey (illus.), That Christmas Feeling, Allen & Unwin, Oct 2017, 32pp., $19.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781760294960
YA novelist Wilkinson and Francey (Take Ted Instead and Jonathon) give readers a real nativity with this sumptuous picture book bedecked with truly Australian summer Christmas imagery. Jem, Dottie and their dog Shortbread are staying with their grandparents and cannot help but feel a little disappointed. They compare the older generation’s well-meaning but limited celebrations with last years’ festivities. The story combines issues of being apart from your family, the pressure of having expectations and making the best of things. Through beautifully descriptive and colour-rich illustrations, the reader slowly discovers what is keeping their parents away. Out looking for ‘that fuzzy feeling’ in a star-spangled summer garden the best present the children could hope for, at last drives up to the house. I admit to having a lump in my throat when they ‘ate toasted cheese sandwiches’ for Christmas Eve dinner and was touched by big brother Jem’s constant reassurances.
Suitable for 3-7 year olds.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli