Book Review :Christmas Surprise by Hilary Robinson
I was very pleased to receive Hilary Robinson’s latest book ‘ Christmas Surprise‘. Hilary’s previous book The Copper Tree which I reviewed earlier in the year approached bereavement in the most sensitive, child friendly way and is a real gift.
Christmas Surprise is no less sensitive and this time approaches the very different topic of respect and friendship across generations. The delightful Copper Tree class return and this time they are preparing for Christmas and are invited to visit the elderly people at the local care home. The children are encouraged to come up with ideas to help and entertain the residents and their suggestions include singing, decorating the lounge and dressing up in nativity costumes. The children are introduced to the people who live there and told some of their stories such as Violet Starr who use to be a singer and Mr Potts who use to be a gardener.
In a gentle child friendly manner this book teaches children that the elderly use to be young like them. It encourages kindness and promotes understanding even in the very young. An important moment is when Rupal’s mum showed the children around the care home and points out the pictures of the residents when they were younger:
“Rupal’s mum showed us around the home. All the rooms had photos on the doors of the elderly people and Bonnie and Bess.. ( the dogs)..in their younger days. She explained that she wanted carers and visitors to understand a little bit about the residents’ lives before they came to live there”
Mandy Stanley’s beautiful illustrations complement the story perfectly with wonderful realistic details including popular books in the classroom and details that children will recognize in their own school.
Hilary Robinson writes ground breaking picture books that deal with topical issues in a very sensitive way. There are very few books aimed at this age group which treat these issues. The next title titled ‘ Help a Hamster’ focuses on adoption and future titles will look at childcare givers and traveller children. I feel very privileged to review these titles and look forward to the next book in 2013.