Sunday, December 13, 2009


What's left to speak of Christmas?
Has it all been said before?
Parties, presents, surprises, greeting cards, celebrations, family, friends, having fun!
Snowy’s Christmas
Written by Sally Murphy
Illustrated by David Murphy
Published by Random House (October, 2009)

But what about Snowy?
He stares at his reflection in the still water of the billabong and, like the Ugly Duckling, Snowy knows he doesn’t fit in - he doesn’t belong. He can’t hide like the others. He can’t jump like the others. He looks different from the others.
. . . Then he meets Ash - a roo as white as Snowy himself and realises he is not so strange after all. Soon he discovers there were many other roos as soft and white as himself! And that it is in being different he finds his own special place in his world.

I sent 'Snowy' off to a local primary school to meet the children in years 3 and 4.
After hearing the story read and exploring the pictures, the children mounted their comments and some of their own drawings on large pin-up sheets (I wish I could have reproduced them here!)
But let me share with you some of what they had to say about Snowy and his friends.

 The story reminded several children of the Six White Boomers:
"I like the story because it’s like two stories stuck together like a new story and The Six White Boomers.  Book + Book = 1." (Darcy); "It is like the Six White Boomers. It is cool." (Braden); "It was like the beginning of Six White Boomers." (Ricky)

The illustrations in the book made a strong impression:
"I like the pictures because they are cute." (Ella); "I like this book because it has animals at the back round wearing Christmas things." (Trish); "I like the cute animals because the animals are active." (Darlene); "I liked how they drew the kangaroos because it looked nice." (Unsigned); "I liked how the animals were dressed in Christmas clothes." (Josh); " liked it when the white roo can fly Santa’s sleigh. I liked in the illustrations how it was done." (Unsigned); "I liked the book because its pictures are good. (Kim). "I like this story because there are nice pictures." (Emmanuel)

And of course the action appealed.
"I like the white roos flying in the sky." (Andy); "My favourite part when Snowy was flying because all the white kangaroos were flying like magic." (Dinh); "I liked the part when the white roos jumped up high." (Jessica); "I liked the part when the white kangaroos were jumping." (Joshua).

The children were really caught up in Snowy’s excitement at finding something he could do and how it feels to be seen as ‘different’
"I love when Santa said, ‘You can ride the sleigh.’"(Claudia); "The story was really good because the moral was clear and the pictures were really colourful." (Jennifer); "I liked the story because it had a good moral." (Wendy); "I like this story because there were great illustrations and the message can relate to a lot of people." (Kevin); "Snowy learnt things about what to do at Christmas." (Zac); "I like this story because if you are different you might be special." (Megan); Linh said, "I think it’s good because the (story) shows if you win all the time, you’ll lose; and, when you’re nice, you’ll get to do something that you want to do."; three children said, "Everyone is different." (Minesh, Jude & unsigned); "Don’t judge things on their looks." (Patricia and Caitlin); "I like this story because it says that if you’re different you’re still useful." (BoBo); "The message: Don’t tease people that are not the same as you." (Xuan); "Never tease people about their personality or looks." (Anthony)

Some children projected feelings of jealousy by the red roos when they see Snowy in his new role.
"I like it when Snowy was flying and all the roos were jealous because it was a little funny."(Unsigned); "I liked the part where the red roos got jealous of Snowy because Snowy was the odd one out." (Sandy)

The children loved that this book was a story about Christmas
"I loved it because it was a lovely story and it was about Christmas. I love Christmas because it is Jesus’ birthday." (unsigned); "I loved it because it was Christmas day and it is Jesus’ birthday." (Dani); "I enjoyed the part when Snowy pulled the sleigh." (Vanessa); "I liked it when Santa put some glitter on the kangaroos." (unsigned); "I enjoyed when Santa went on the sleigh and at the end." (Amber); "I like when Santa comes." (Vy); "I like the part when Snowy was flying and Snowy’s mum was looking at Snowy."(Tommy); "I like it when Snowy was flying in the air and said, ‘Merry Christmas, Mummy’ and flew off." (Ivan)

But I loved the last word that came from Carmen. With a deeply satisfying sigh, she breathed, "I liked the book because it was wonderful."

[My sincere thanks go to teacher-librarian, Mrs Burke, who made this activity happen.]
What’s left to speak of Christmas?
The joy of knowing you belong - that you play a valued part of the greatest celebration in Australia.

To brighten your road to Christmas, retrace the tour sites below

Week One: 4 October
Deescribe Writing Blog
Week Two: 11 October
Write and Read With Dale
Week three: 18 October
Alphabet Soup Blog
Week Four: 25 October
Let's Have Words
Week Five: 1 November
Sally Murphy's Writing for children Blog
Week Six: 8 November
Aussiereviews Blog
Week Seven: 15 November
Samantha Hughes' Blog
Week Eight: 22 November
Robyn Opie's Writing Children's Books Blog
Week Nine: 29 November
Stories are Light
Week Ten: 6 December
The Aussie Christmas Blog
Week Eleven: 13 December
Tales I Tell [Right here]


  1. Wow! I am blown away by all these wodnerful comments. Thank you so much for sharing the book with the children in this way Mabel and Mrs Burke. You have made me smile.
    Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  2. What can I say? Thank you very much for making an illustrator happy. It is hard when you are working on a story to know if what you are trying to communicate comes through. To hear these great kids talk about their favourite bits which are also my favourite bits is extremely gratifying. *sniff* Thank you and, like Sally says, Merry Christmas.

  3. What a beautiful blog post. Well done Sally and David - and Mabel too, for such a heartfelt celebration of what is obviously a beautiful book! (One I have yet to get to town and see. Hope there's still some in stores!)

  4. What fantastic responses - congratulations Sally and David. And Mabel, as always, you have put in a lot off effort to create a wonderful blog post.


  5. Thank you all for your kind responses.
    I really enjoyed putting this blog together - and many thanks go to Mrs Burke and the kids for taking time to include Snowy in an end of year session.
    Marry Christmas to all