I went Christmas shopping yesterday, and guess what I bought!
Books! It wasn’t difficult to guess was it? I have written in previous posts about both giving and receiving books as gifts. I’ll let you in on a little secret though. I did buy a few others things as well. That’s probably a good thing, otherwise the memory game “My grandmother went shopping and she bought …” would not do anything to develop memory and would be rather boring:
“My grandmother went shopping and she bought … a book … and a book … and a book … and a book …:
I have already received one beautiful book for Christmas this year: One: How many people does it take to make a difference?, and the recommendation of many others, some of which I have purchased for myself or as gifts. Books received as gifts often take a very special place in a collection.
One of my strongest memories is of waking before sunrise one Christmas morning, checking to see if Santa had been, and discovering a book at the end of my bed. While there was not enough light at first to see the illustrations or read the words, I delighted in the smoothness of the cover and the smell of the pages. Slowly as the sun rose the title revealed itself: Heidi by Johanna Spyri, and I started to read. I loved that story and read it many times. After more than fifty years I still have the book in my possession, rather tattered and worn, not unlike its owner, but still loved.
In a recent post I shared some Australian Christmas picture books. In a comment on that post Sherri Matthews, who blogs at A View from My Summerhouse, reminded me of the Janet and Allan Ahlberg book, The Jolly Christmas Postman. Although it was given to Bec for Christmas exactly thirty years after I received Heidi, I still have it in my possession. Shh! Don’t tell Bec. Of course the reason it was not included in my list of Christmas books is that the authors were British. (Allan is now aged 77. Janet passed away in 1994.)
The Jolly Christmas Postman was published in 1991 and followed the success of the original Jolly Postman story. It is a delightful interactive book in which the postman delivers Christmas mail to storybook characters, including:
- A Christmas card for Baby Bear from Goldilocks and her sister
- A game about being safe in the woods for Red Riding Hood from Mr Wolf, who declares he is a “changed wolf”
- A Humpty Dumpty jigsaw puzzle for Humpty Dumpty from all the king’s men
- A Christmas annual and book in a book for the Gingerbread Man from Pat O’Cake Bakers
- A Wolf Spotter’s Guide for Mr Wolf from Red Riding Hood , and
- A special concertina “peep-show” for the postman from Santa and Mrs Santa.
After the postman delivers the children’s letters to Santa, has a cup of tea and receives his gift, he hitches a ride back home on Santa’s sleigh. What a delightful conclusion to the story.
There is much to explore in this little book for both young and old; far too much for just one sitting. With books to read, games to play and puzzles to do it could entertain for hours. A full appreciation of the cleverness and humour in the story requires an understanding of fairy stories such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Red Riding Hood, The Gingerbread Man, The Three Little Pigs; and nursery rhymes such as Humpty Dumpty, Doctor Foster, and Pat-a-cake, amongst others. Reading the book is a literary adventure.
I wonder how soon before it will also be an adventure in history. It was published in 1991 before email became popular and social media was invented. The number of items sent by “snail mail” is decreasing. It may not be long before children also need a history lesson to understand what is mean by “a postman”.
Books make special memories. What special memories will you create for someone with a book this year? What books have made a special memory for you?
Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.