Twenty Four Days to Christmas by Fred Arthur is a rhyming picture book mixed with an advent calendar. Aimed at children aged 3-5 years, the story follows the everyday adventures of Poppy as she counts down the twenty-four fun-filled days leading up to Christmas.
The story is packed with lots of activities that will feel familiar to many children, such as visiting a Christmas fayre, making cards, and performing in a nativity play. With 72 pages, the book is fairly long for its age range, so is clearly designed to be read over a few days or just one chapter per day (chapters are one or two pages long). Just like an advent calendar, this is a lovely way of building up the excitement as the big day draws closer.
There are lots of nice little touches in this book, such as the bauble images that mark the page numbers and the illustrated stockings that ‘hang’ at the top of each new day. Occasionally, the language does feel a tad old for the age group – phrases like “a fit of despair” may not be in the average three-year-old’s vocabulary – but these moments are rare and so don’t distract from the overall appeal of the story. My eldest daughter also spotted a few places where the rhyming scheme fails (believe/see; trust/lost), but we felt this was forgivable over such a long story.
Twenty Four Days to Christmas may not be flawless, but it’s bags of fun and filled with positive messages that are great for young children. If you’re looking for a book that could easily work its way into your Christmas traditions, then this could be just the thing.