This is the time of year when primary school teachers start to wander around with a bit of a twitch and a blank stare. They are trapped in week four of rehearsals for The Christmas Show. Some may be lucky enough to be getting theirs over and done with this week so they can enjoy some Christmas sparkle next week. The ones that are rocking quietly in the corner or babbling incoherently are the poor souls who have their Christmas Shows scheduled for the last week of term.
Let’s give them a moment’s silence here.
They need it.
Low level fiddling, listening to the same song sung badly for two hours straight, lost costumes, tea towels that will not stay on heads, 4 squillion “I need a wee” requests, the inappropriate questions (what is a virgin, Miss? Is this story true? When does Santa get here?) and the obligatory child that always wanders off stage in the middle of a song.
It is not fun.
The children are bored and restless. The staff are suffering from a horrible combination of boredom and desperation. It’s Christmas, people! But this is not fun!
Enter The Secret Weapon….
Father Christmas (or Nicholas Allan) is here to save the day with a boredom-busting riot of primary school toilet-related festive fun. Hurrah! And Father Christmas Needs a Wee even involves counting – it’s practically on the curriculum!
Father Christmas Needs a Wee is an original play on the Father Christmas’ routine story. At every house he eats and drinks the treats that have been left for him, travelling from house 1 to 10. But when he reaches number 10 he realises he has been so busy slurping and munching that he has forgotten to leave the presents! And he REALLY needs a wee! Hilarity ensues as he races back through the houses and tries to deliver all the presents without wetting his Santa suit.
Including various treats from different cultures is a nice touch, as is the lack of gendering in the presents that Father Christmas leaves. There’s a lot to like about this book. It also includes my favourite ever ‘face of relief’ illustration.
The sequel, Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps, is a brilliant book for reading aloud. It has classic ‘the teacher nearly said Fart’ moments throughout and is perfect for giving bored and overexcited little ones the chance to let off a bit of steam (!) and roll about on the carpet giggling.
The rhyming text is full of pace and builds the tension beautifully. Children will be squealing with delight! And after all, that is what Christmas is for. Delight and children. We often forget that children need to go crazy and giggle and run around like a fart-powered Santa sleigh. They need and relish and learn from imaginative silliness. Let them have fun! Release them from rehearsal hell and read them these stories! There are even free activity sheets to go along with the books so that teachers and parents everywhere can have a breather.
So if you go into school tomorrow and your child’s teacher is looking pale and a bit frazzled around the edges, pass them this book with a knowing wink. Don’t buy these books for your children… buy them for their teachers. They will thank you for it, I guarantee!
Source: Father Christmas Needs a Wee from our lovely local library
Father Christmas Comes Up Trumps kindly sent for review by the lovely folks at Random House Children’s Books, soon to be donated to the teachers’ sanity cupboard with a big box of chocolates!