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

Monday 19 December 2022

Review: Zola And The Christmas Lights

This book is a gorgeous, heartwarming journey into the wonders of Christmas. It takes us into the inner suburbs of Melbourne (which could translate to any city in the world, really!), with its palpable sense of kindness, friends, neighbours and family coming together for festive celebrations.

The illustrations are sublime, immediately inviting us in to the colourful world of Zola and her family, friends and neighbours. I actually wanted to climb in to the friendly classroom with Zola and her buddies and their delightful teacher, as they investigated the traditions of Diwali, Hannukah, Ramadan ...

Community and tradition are at the heart of this story, as are diversity and culture. Families and neighbours get together to cook, string up Christmas lights, make food for those without and celebrate Christmas day. Indeed, this book quickly gets to the very important task at its core, which is a wholesome, cheerful celebration of the simple joy of being together.

And more - the illustrations are sublime. Hudson’s offerings are detailed, light-filled, festive, colourful, warm and inviting. As an example, those pictures depicting carefully tended gardens full of flowers, veggies, children, pets and play equipment elicit a strong sense of wanting to dive into each page to become a part of the festivities, so beware!

Readers will recognise their own families, friends and neighbours, as well as multicultural festive customs, within these pages. Inclusivity, joy and community spirit shine brightly along with a central message of light and hope, which is achingly beautiful.

A very special Christmas offering. 

Love Zola? Spend more time with her after reading, Shaye's reviews of the junior fiction series, What Zola Did On ...

Title: Zola and The Christmas Lights
Author: Melina Marchetta
Illustrator: Deb Hudson
Publisher: Penguin, $19.99
Publication Date: October 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780143777649
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book