'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 9 December 2013

Review: Christmas in Exeter Street

It's the day before Christmas and family members are starting to gather at Ben and Jane Mistletoe's house in Exeter Street.

First come the two sets of grandparents – who take up the spare rooms. Then Ben and Jane's friends, Amelia, Annie and Amos, arrive. They get to take over the attic. Next it's the turn of the unexpected uncle, back from Australia. He gets the sofa in front of the fire. The house is filling up, but there's more to come!

Lily and her baby Lily-Lou arrive. Mmm, Mrs Mistletoe is running out of ideas, but fortunately the kitchen sink is just the right fit for baby Lily-Lou. Her Christmas stocking even fits nicely on the tap! As Christmas Eve continues, the house on Exeter Street, in quick succession, welcomes the vicar and his wife (and their children), the neighbours' three kids, five aunts (fortunately very thin, so they fit nicely on the shelves of the dresser), two fat men with their fat wives and five children who need a place to stay as their car has broken down, and a stray cat.

As the household finally settles down to sleep, Mrs Mistletoe does a quick tally and realises eighteen children are now under her roof. She writes a quick note to Father Christmas to let him know. And after he's taken off his boots so that he can use his toes to count them off, Father Christmas makes sure everyone gets a present.

This is a gorgeous story about the spirit of Christmas, a time for sharing, generosity and coming together — each of the guests, both expected and not, arrives bearing a gift, ensuring there's plenty to go round on Christmas Day. The humorous illustrations, showing people tucked away in every conceivable space, are delightful, and provide the perfect accompaniment to the text. Christmas in Exeter Street is a wonderful reminder of all that's best about the festive season.

Title: Christmas in Exeter Street
Author: Diana Hendry
Illustrator: John Lawrence
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: November 2013
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781406343038
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book