An Aussie Day Before Christmas by Kilmeny Niland

Published: 1st October 2010Goodreads badge
Illustrator: Kilmeny Niland
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

It’s the day before Christmas in Australia and Santa is in a tizz! So much to do — prezzies to wrap, the ute to check and eight ‘roos to choose. But not everything is going to plan. The helpers have gone and the ‘roos can’t be found! What will Santa do now?

I was sceptical when I picked up this book but I was pleasantly surprised and found I really enjoyed it. The narrative is written with the same poetic style as the original Night Before Christmas, but Niland brings an Aussie feeling to the story which worked surprisingly well. This is a sequel of sorts to Yvonne Morrison’s An Aussie Night Before Christmas which Niland illustrated.

One of the things I enjoyed was that the story is Australian without being over the top Australian. Niland uses Aussie language and Aussie slang without the full on cringe that some books cause when the use over the top words and phrases that don’t even sound natural to Australians. Classics like brekkie, dunny and other Aussie slang make an appearance but Niland’s illustrations add an explanation element without distracting from the story for those unaware of the meanings or intentions.

With roos instead of reindeer more Aussie nicknames come forward, and even by now I hadn’t grown tired of the Australianness of the story. You can always tell when an author tries too hard but Niland balances it well between a fun Christmas story while also having it tolerable to read aloud and not be so filled with slang that it becomes incomprehensible.

The illustrations are cute and I loved the design style used for not only Santa and his misses but also the native animals and the Australian environment. Through the rhyme Niland captures other elements of an Australian summer Christmas with the mention of blow flies, cicadas and the Aussie salute. A few Australian places are mentioned which adds some local identifiers and it was great to see Santa get ready for the big night with his summer gear on.

This is a fun and uniquely Aussie story that is also familiar as it lines up with the well-known classic. It’s fun to read aloud as you get caught up in the rhythm and with the use of the Aussie language you get to have a bit of fun with it as well. It’s also a great way to show off how Santa gets ready for his big night.

You can purchase An Aussie Day Before Christmas via the following


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