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12 days of Christmas (and more festive treats!)

14 books worth £145.86  I  SPECIAL PRICE – £115  I  SAVE OVER 20%

Our fantastic consultant Maddy Barnes has written teacher notes for 12 brilliant Christmas books.

Little Santa, Yoko Maruyama


Brief summary of text

Imagine if you had Santa for a Dad? It would be so exciting, but you would be alone every Christmas Eve. Could you trust fate that one Christmas Eve you could be with your Dad on the most exciting night of the year.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

What would you do if your Dad were Santa?

Suggested writing activities

• Contrasting speech bubbles (KS1) or diary entries (KS2) for Little Santa
• Santa’s ‘missing hospital report’ detailing his ankle injury (formal language)
• Persuasive speech in role as Little Santa convincing Santa to let him lead the reindeer
• Writing from the reindeer’s perspective – recount of new little Santa
• Poetry – ‘If my dad were Santa I’d: ….. list of complaints/ compliments etc
• Discursive piece ‘Can dreams really come true?’

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Susan Wojciechowski and P.J. Lynch



Brief summary of text

Johnathan Toomey is the best wood-carver in the valley. Known as Mr Gloomy to the children, nobody knows what secret and sorrow he is carrying. One Christmas a knock on the door welcomes a widow and her son and what follows is a Christmas Miracle.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

Are the best presents the most expensive ones?

Suggested writing activities

• What has Johnathan Toomey done to deserve the name Mr Gloomy – writing a list
• Using the text, write a flashback to life before his sorrow. What was life like for Johnathan and his family?
• Facebook or Twitter page for Thomas – how does his opinion change throughout the story? How would this look as a page of tweets?
• Writing a thank you letter from Thomas to Johnathan
• Retelling the story through sequencing pictures/sentences or writing own
• Answer the big question – what might the best present be for____ a mouse, a person who has everything etc…

The Untold Story of Father Christmas, Alison and Mike Battle, Lauren A Mills

Brief summary of text

This beautifully illustrated story recounts the very first Christmas where we discover the true meaning of kindness. A generous toymaker and his wife with hearts bursting with love prove that dreams really can come true.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

Should we trust others with our deepest secrets?

Suggested writing activities

• Creating a list of toys to be made
• Instructions on how to make a _______ toy
• Newspaper report recounting the first year children got gifts
• What does ‘living in harmony mean?’ Can we learn from this story? What messages can we take? How do people who are diverse live in harmony?
• Trusting others for the benefit of the greater good – when might we do this? Write a speech
• Write in role as an elf- struggling with their conscience whether to help Santa or not
• Writing a rhyme – using those in the book as models
• Character studies for Mother Christmas and Father Christmas

Search and Find – A Christmas Carolretold by Sarah Powell and illustrated by Louise Pigott




Brief summary of text

A retelling of the classic where every page encourages children to find characters on each page. Perfect for sharing and introducing new readers to Dickens’ classic story.

The Story Orchestra – The Nutcracker, Jessica Courtney-Tickle


Brief summary of text

This is a retelling of the classic ballet story, with a difference! As you walk through the story, press the note to hear the music from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. A beautifully crafted book where children can delight in the fusion of music and an exciting story.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

How does music show/portray a mood or feeling?

Suggested writing activities

• Retell the story of The Nutcracker in role as various characters. KS1 could do short thinking bubbles and KS2 write mini diaries
• Non-chronological reports about Tchaikovsky
• Looking at the names of the pieces of music and justifying why that piece is played at specific points in the story
• Choosing music to illustrate another familiar story. Children could choose a story and then explain which pieces of music or songs (traditional, classical or contemporary) could be played at specific intervals. Children could choose one or more composers/singers to work with
• Design an advert to promote books like this – the script could be written and then record advert for others to watch/listen to


Snow Day, Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb

Brief summary of text

Danny arrives at school on a ‘Snow Day’ and finds the only other person present is his LEAST favourite teacher. How strange that what begins as the worst day ever ends as a truly magical day. This story is guaranteed to warm hearts this Christmas.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

What would your perfect snow day be like?

Suggested writing activities

• Using the opening page to write in a similar way related to the city/town that children live in
• Creative – writing in role as a character who tried to get to school but had a disastrous experience – what might have gone wrong?
• A flashback to life before the Snow Day – what has happened between Danny and Mr Trapper?
• How to survive loneliness? Write a survival guide
• How to build the perfect snowman – write a set of instructions
• Look at the ‘Ultimate Igloo Design’ and challenge children to design their own snow creation. Children could draw & label
• Diary entries for Danny or Mr Trapper
• Character studies
• Sequel – are there further adventures?


The Princess and the Christmas Rescue, Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton


Brief summary of text

Princess Eliza loves making contraptions but the Queen wants her to start making friends instead. When she finds herself in Santa’s workshop on Christmas Eve, she is called upon to save the day. Does this mean that she can combine her creative skills with making friends?

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

What life-changing gadget would you invent?

Suggested writing activities

• Are friends that important? Writing an argument – which side would you take?
• Draw your life-changing gadget; label it; write an explanation of how it works and record an advert to promote it. Class votes for the best
• Descriptions of setting (beautiful palace, Santa’s workshop)
• Character studies
• Thoughts of the elves when they meet Eliza – what are they thinking?
• Look at the page with different notices on the wall in the workshop, for example ‘Don’t forget to take a break’ and ask children to design some more
• What else might Eliza design?
• Writing a sequel – what does Eliza do?


The Christmas Alphabet, Robert Sabuda



Brief summary of text

This is a magical and magnificent pop-up alphabet book. Each letter hiding behind a door is a unique pop-up visual that children will delight in and squeal with glee.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

Who’s Christmas Alphabet would you create?

Suggested writing activities

• Writing captions to match each letter of the alphabet
• Writing riddles to match the letters – guess the letter
• Writing a poem using adjective-noun-verb ‘Graceful angel singing’
• Create alternative alphabet – choose a different object for each letter
• Create a Christmas Alphabet for a character – Santa; Stick Man; Shrek; Grinch; Sproutzilla etc
• Making their own pop-up cards


The Refuge, Anne Booth and Sam Usher


Brief summary of text

This poignant retelling of the Christmas story is inspired by refugee children everywhere. Although aspects of the story are familiar to the reader, we are left with a real sense of hope as we turn the last page.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

Could everyone have refuge this Christmas?

Suggested writing activities

• What does ‘refuge’ mean to you?
• Non-chronological reports about how to support Christmas for others – fundraising; working alongside charities etc…
• Making a Christmas dream for the world
• The world needs help – how can we heal the world?
• Can everyone have refuge this Christmas? What approach would you take to answer this?
• Poetry – writing in role as ‘refuge’ or ‘safety’ or ‘freedom’. Children could write as ‘captivity’ or ‘danger’


Ten Little Elves, Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty


Brief summary of text

Count from ten to one and back again with a festive version of the ‘Ten Little _____’ series.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

Which ‘Ten Little ______ would you write?

Suggested writing activities

• Use the format of the book:
Ten little ________ think __________________
“ ________” goes the _______
Now there are nine
• Challenge children to choose their own setting/character for their own ‘Ten Little ______’


Matt Haig and Chris Mould


Brief summary of text

This festive trilogy will bring Christmas to life in any KS2 classroom. ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ explores the story of Father Christmas as a young child. ‘The Girl Who Saved Christmas’ shows us the real power of hope and love. And ‘Father Christmas And Me’ unites the human world and the magical world.

Suggested writing activities

• All three of these books are rich in language; characters; plot and setting. So it would be possible with such high-quality books to teach many different writing tasks such as:
 Narrative – missing chapter, prequel, sequel
 Instructions – survival guides
 Explanation- as an email, letter etc
 Recount – diary, phone calls, playscripts
 Persuasion – letters, speeches, emails
 Reporting – non-chronological report, leaflet, brochures


The Snowman, Raymond Briggs



Brief summary of text

‘We’re walking in the air…’
the book of the classic film. One snowy day a young boy builds a Snowman and in the middle of the night the Snowman comes to life. What happens next is shared in beautiful artwork in a magical journey to the North Pole and home again.

The Big Question (discussion prompt)

How do you know when you have experienced magic?

Suggested writing activities

• Recount in role as characters
• Sharing some images from the text with the children so they can sequence the pictures and write the story in their own words
• Phone conversation between James and a friend – James tells his friend all about his experience
• Description from the sky – what did James see?
• Poetry about friendship – using the events in the text to structure ideas
• Do James and the snowman meet again?
• What is magic? How do we know if we have experienced magic? Writing a speech that relays this.
• Watch the film and write a film review



Let’s not forget the following amazing festive treats too. ‘Tis the season to be jolly…

Be Brave Little Penguin, Giles Andrea and Guy Parker-Rees


A delightful story about Pip-Pip, a penguin who is afraid to swim. Will he overcome his fears?

The Queen’s Present, Steve Antony


When the Queen cannot find Christmas presents, Santa offers to take her around the world to find gifts.





Dave’s Christmas Cracker, Sue Hendra and Lee Wildish


When Santa gets stuck up the chimney, Dave and the animals need to enlist the help from … the sprouts! An explosive tale!


How to Catch Santa, Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish


A fun book that provides many thought provoking ideas for how to trap and catch Santa.


The Tooth Fairy’s Christmas, Peter Bently and Garry Parsons


When the Tooth Fairy gets lost on her way to collect a tooth, who else might rescue her on Christmas Eve?





The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, Alison Ritchie and Marisa Morea

A fun take on the traditional Christmas song – labradors, pugs and dalmations all prepare for Christmas Day.



All the way home, Debi Gliori

A delightful tale of a father penguin guarding his egg (with unborn penguin) who decides to take an adventure.



Stickman, Julia Donaldson

Classic story of Stickman who desperately tries to make his way home for Christmas.



The twelve days of Christmas, Britta Teekentrap

Britta’s beautiful interpretation of this book includes gorgeous peep-through holes.







The mouse that cancelled Christmas, Madeleine Cook and Samara Hardy

A health and safety mouse that wants to cancel Christmas due to risks!





One Christmas Wish, Katherine Rundell

A magical Christmas story where a young boy makes a wish one Christmas Eve for some friends…





The Christmas Truce, Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

A 25beautifully illustrated book recounting the 1914 Christmas Truce.






Sproutzilla vs Christmas, Tom Jamieson and Mike Byrne

26Sproutzilla is mean and wants to destroy Christmas. Will he succeed?






An Angel just like me, Mary Hoffman

One Christmas, Tyler wants to know why the angels are always pink and never black. Can somebody help him?





The Turkey that voted Christmas, Madeleine Cook and Samara Hardy


Why do turkeys always vote no for Christmas? Will they change their minds this year?








It’s Christmas! Tracey Corderoy and Tim Warnes

Archie has never been more excited about Christmas. Will this be the best Christmas ever?






The Empty Stocking, Richard Curtis and Rebecca Cobb

Twins Sam and Charlie have an important question – have you been good this year? What will happen when Santa comes?





The Christmas Eve Tree, Delia Huddy and Emily Sutton


A truly magical story that brings a whole city together through a small, crooked fir tree.

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