I’ve always said there are no real rules to What We’re Reading, it’s just about sharing the love of a good story and passing on our children’s favourites (as well as the ones that really I bought because I loved them and then imposed them on my tiny audience until they loved them too – not that I’d do that of course, no not at all!). And it’s probably a good job too because if I had any rules I think I’d be in very grave danger of breaking them all; but with good cause.
Because for starters this week’s What We’re Reading is what you’d be reading if you came around to our house, or what you could read if you keep a sharp lookout in a charity shop because I have a horrid suspicion that it’s out of print, and secondly, I’m not sure whether it can actually count as a book, given that there are only two pages in the entire thing.
But bear with me, because The Ultimate Christmas Pop-Up is worth it.
The first page is a really lovely retelling of the Christmas story; starting with the Nazareth scenes that are so often missed out of children’s abridged versions and going all the way through to the visits of the Wise Men. Gabriel appears to Mary, and then to Joseph, Caesar Augustus makes his proclamation and they set off for Bethlehem, the baby is born in a stable, and shepherds, summoned by hosts of angels, come to worship.
It’s a really great length to be able to get through the whole story before Elma looses interest and wanders off, but has all the detail you could want for Kitty, and all the potential for a little reader embellishment along the way.
And then you turn the page, and there it is:
Well they did promise the Ultimate pop-up, and there’s no lack of competition for pop-up children’s books, but I think it’s safe to say that this has some serious engineering going on behind it!
Bethlehem, or a very little bit of it; with hills and houses and steps up and down, and there at the very centre Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and a good smattering of sheep and cattle (lowing noises to be provided by the reader).
There’s so much detail tucked away in all the different ups and downs too, from squirrels in the trees to the dogs sleeping on the terrace and a goat eating weeds.
Elma is particularly fond of this one this year and she’ll happily sit there with the pop up spread across her lap running her fingers up and down the stairs; luckily it’s fairly robust and I’ve not had to do too much sticking and gluing repair work!
But it’s extra special to us for another reason too. Just after Kitty’s first Christmas we were given a big bag of Christmas story books by another family at church. Their two had long grown out of them, they were having a bit of a sort out and so they handed them down to us. This was one of those stories, and I very much hope that in time, when all of my children have grown past the joys of pop up books (though I’m not sure that’s really possible) there will be a family in our church that we can hand them on to in turn; a sort of travelling library of really awesome Christmas books!
Last week Jess continued her Christmassy reading with the very sweet Baby Sees Christmas which looks perfect for the littlest ones, especially those winding up for a very first Christmas! And Sally (who I swear has more creativity in her little finger than I’ll ever manage) introduced me to a book that Kitty will absolutely love, Ten in the Bed – and more than that, has made a little bed and all the little characters to go with it for her daughter- it’s incredibly cute and please see my previous comments re creativity and little fingers!
And if you have a favourite, or just something fun your little or not so little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. Alternatively if you’re after ideas for Christmas presents, I’m going to suggest the What We’re Reading Booklist, for a few ideas; it has every book anyone has ever recommended on it and is therefore very dangerous to my credit card!