Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas Everyone!

I hope everyone has had lots of books for Christmas! I thought I would post a little Christmas poem for everyone!

 

I Saw a Stable

I saw a stable, low and very bare,

A little child in the manger

The oxen knew Him, had Him in their care,

To men He was a stranger.

The safety of the world was lying there,

And the world’s danger.

 

Mary Coleridge

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful day full of happiness and festive spirit.

 

Lady Book Dragon.

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Christmas Eve Traditions

Christmas Eve is here!

My main little tradition for Christmas Eve is after Midnight Mass before I go to bed I read Magic Windows by Ernest Nister. This book is very special to me, I remember when I was about 5 or 6 and sitting on my parents bedroom floor and opening my stocking and getting this book. I instantly loved it and ever since I read it after Midnight Mass, I know technically it is Christmas morning but in my mind it is still Christmas Eve.

Some how as I have got older this book has gained more meaning for me, yes it is basically a picture book with some poems in and is definitely for children but after all the stress that can come with Christmas prep this calms me down and reminds me of the magic of Christmas. Last year was my first Christmas in my new house with my husband, the first Christmas not spent with my parents and the first time I would cook Christmas dinner and to be honest it was all a bit daunting as well as exciting. Reading this book before sleep really helped me and I got a good nights sleep and woke up excited for Christmas. Amazing what a little book can mean to one person. I do not think my parents ever imagined the significance this book would have in my life.

Anyway this is one of my little traditions, do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Good Night and I hope Father Christmas is generous to you all.

Lady Book Dragon

The Nutcracker

It’s nearly Christmas!!!

Last night I finally started The Nutcracker. I must admit I usually start this a lot earlier in December but due to being ill for a week and catching up with work and Christmas decorating, my reading has fallen a big behind but I hope I will be back on track soon.

Yesterday I had a lovely day spent with my husband and parents. It began with my husband and I performing a recital for a Christmas Tree Festival at the church my husband plays organ at. Then we came home for a quick breather, I even managed to do a bit of reading. I finished one book and read another very short book. Then we picked my parents up and went to see the new Mary Poppins film, followed by dinner out. The film was fantastic and it was wonderful to spend time with my husband and parents and not be having to rush off somewhere. It was a chance to relax, smile and share a laugh.

I have two reviews waiting to be written but I promise they will be up soon. I decided to watch Father Ted last night instead of writing reviews. Apologies but it was the first ever episode and I had never seen it before.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and are all ready for Christmas.

Lady Book Dragon.

Review 20: The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo

The Snowman (A new story inspired by the original tale by Raymond Briggs) by Michael Morpurgo and illustarted by Robin Shaw

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About the author

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Michael Morpurgo has written over 130 books, many of them award winning. His best known work is War Horse which has also been turned into a stage play and a film. In 2003 he was made Children’s Laureate. He set up a charity with his wife called Farms for City Children and in 1999 he was awarded an MBE for his charitable work. In 2017 he was awarded a Knighthood for his charitable work and literature.

About the illustrator

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Robin Shaw is an award winning animator and illustrator, he is also a director of animated commercials. He has worked closely with Raymond Briggs in the past and was part of the directing team of The Snowman and the Snowdog. In 2017 he designed a series of animated sequences for Paddington 2.

Blurb

When James wakes to see snow falling one December morning, he rushes outside to make a snowman. With coal eyes, an old green hat and scarf, and a tangerine nose, the snowman is perfect. James can hardly bear to inside that evening and leave him. But in the middle of the night, he wakes and creeps out to see his snowman again- and to his amazement, the snowman comes to life…

Review

Firstly, I have a confession, I have never read The Snowman by Raymond Briggs but I have watched it on television many, many times. I have only seen The Snowman and the Snowdog once and it almost destroyed me emotionally so I have never seen it again. So when I saw this book sat on the supermarket shelf I immediately picked it up. I was a little worried as I always fear rewrites as most of the time they are never as good as the original, but then I saw it was done by Michael Morpurgo and realised I should have no fears because the man is a genius.

I was so pleased I trusted my instincts, as the story was wonderful, another triumph by Morpurgo. The story is based around James a little boy who suffers with a stammer and who is desperate to have a friend. James lives with his parents on a farm and for Christmas his grandma is staying with them at the farm. Grandma’s favourite story to read James at bedtime is The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.

During the night James’ wish is answered and it snows and so he builds a snowman, a giant of a snowman who towers above everyone wearing a green scarf and hat with a big tangerine nose. James loves this snowman and wants to spend all day with him, he is also really proud of his new friend and is desperate for his family to meet the snowman. Finally at nighttime he leaves the snowman but then in the night something magical happens, and James is not the only one to witness the magic of the snowman.

The story is very similar to the original but with a few subtle differences but this is what makes it a different tale to stand on its own. The story is full of magic and is very respectful of the original, this is just like a sequel to the original in fact. I also loved that when Morpurgo was approached to write this story he was worried and so approached Raymond Briggs who thankfully gave his blessing. The respect that Morpurgo has for Raymond Briggs’ story is humbling and comes through in his version of The Snowman.

I loved the character of James, I felt sorry for him, happy for him and he just made me smile and think aww. I also really liked Grandma, she is a Grandma who still believes in magic. I think this is a fantastic book for children and adults and a perfect read for around Christmas. The illustrations were also beautiful and really added to the story. I hope it gets turned into an animated film, as I think it would be perfect. I gave this book 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Plus I loved the extras at the end of the story, the Christmas traditions from other countries and the perfect method for making the best snowman.

Lady Book Dragon

Friday Poetry

As we near Christmas I have gone for a poem by Thomas Hardy. I love the work of Thomas Hardy, I have read many of his books and a few of his poems in the past. I think in 2019 I will try and read a bit more of his poetry as I rather enjoy it. Maybe my challenge is working and I am starting to enjoy reading poetry.

The Oxen

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.

“Now they are all on their knees,”

An elder said as we sat in a flock

By the embers in the hearthside ease.

 

We Pictured the meek mild creatures where

They dwelt in their starwy pen,

Nor did it occur to one of us there

To doubt they were kneeling then.

 

So fair a fancy few would weave

In these years! Yet, I feel,

If someone said on Christmas Eve,

“Come, see the oxen kneel,”

 

“In the lonely barton by yonder coomb

Our childhood used to know,”

I should go with him in the gloom,

Hoping it might be so.

 

 

Thomas Hardy

 

P.S I know the picture is of sheep but sadly I did not have any pictures of Oxen but sheep were there at the stable so I thought I could get away with it.

Lady Book Dragon.

Christmas Distractions

So dear readers I have a confession. Sadly my Christmas reading has slowed down and I am rather worried I will not get through my Christmas reading list!

Basically there are a few reasons for this. Firstly work has started to get hectic and has taken over somewhat. I am a professional musician and Christmas is the busiest time of year for me, days off become quite scarce and any spare time I have, I have been using for Christmas prep or sleep.

The second reason is I have got distracted by a non-Christmas book which I started reading on my Kindle in November. Now I only read my Kindle in the mornings and in any gaps I have between work but the Kindle has taken over somewhat because the book is so good. I just cannot put it down. The book is Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher. I watched the TV series they did of it quite a few years ago starring Joanna Lumley and I loved it so was thrilled to start reading the book, although I was not expecting it to be quite so long. However I do not mind as big books are always my favourite types of books to read.

Thirdly, I do a lot of my reading before bed and sadly because I am so tired I keep dozing off.

Hopefully I will get back on track with the reading, as I would be really upset not to get all my Christmas books read.

I hope everyone’s Christmas reading and prep is going well.

Lady Book Dragon.