Review Blog

Oct 31 2008

Roland Harvey's big book of Christmas by Roland Harvey

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2008.
(All ages) Full of colour and fascinating bits of information and sidetracks, this reprint of the highly successful 1986 tome will fill a hole in library collections. My copy is in serious need of weeding, and so will many copies in school libraries, as this is a much used book. This update, reissued showing the changes that have occurred over 20 years, reveals the traditions which surround Christmas for much of the Christian world, the customs in many countries, whether they be Muslim or Christian, and with an emphasis on what happens in Australia.

The book is divided into four sections; The story of Christmas (a retelling of the story of the birth of Christ and then how that traditions developed, with an emphasis on what happens here; Christmas around the world (a trip through Europe, Middle East, North and South America and Australia, showing how the customs are celebrated); Activities (a sprinkling of things to do in the classroom) and Carols (a reprint of the music and words of the more traditional carols, thankfully rewritten, as the 1986 issue was very hard to follow)

Thus we have a most useful book for home and classroom, showcasing the different customs and traditions of Christmas, full of fascinating facts and followed up with things to do.  Recipes pertaining to each country round off the information give. I found it a most interesting and useful book when it first appeared and the updates make it even better for today's classrooms. Harvey's illustrations are charming. Just a pity there is no index.
Fran Knight

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