The Fairies' Night Before Christmas
I better start off by saying that I am not a fan of Christmas books or holiday-themed books in general. I might possibly pick one up on the week of that holiday. So, I was going in with low expectations and… I didn’t hate it!
This cute story follows the traditional Night Before Christmas rhyme and rhythm with a verse per page. Unlike the traditional story though, this is a sunny summer nature-based tale of fairies that live in the trees. The pōhutukawa and native birds are plentiful but the story has a surprising twist that saves it from being too predictable and sweet.
I appreciated the effort put into making this a truly Aotearoa-based story and noticed that while the characters are all fairies it is still very diverse. In this book, the old mix with young, there are fairies who use wheelchairs and fairies in glasses, there are different colours of hair and instead of a Santa or Father Christmas we get a Mother Christmas and her birds replacing reindeer.
As with most Christmas books, the themes are community and kindness with a dash of excitement. I really appreciate the added theme of being adaptable, being ready for things to not go “right” always. This would be a fun end of year read for little ones.
Title: The Fairies' Night Before Christmas
Author: Sarina Dickson
Illustrator: Sarah Greig (receipient of the 2019 Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize)
Publisher: Hachette NZ
Publication: September 2021
Themes: Community, Celebration, Holidays, Adaptability
Do you have any advisory warnings for this book? none
Would this book work as a read-aloud? Yes
Is there a particular part of the country that it’s set in? No
Reviewer: Lucy Black, Librarian, Mt Cook School, Wellington
How are you recommending this book? Recommended
Opening sentence: ‘Tis the day before Christmas and all through the trees, The Fairies are working as busy as bees.
You can buy this book here