On the eighth day of Christmas my true love read to me, this friendship story!
There are many stories about Melrose (a little yellow dog) and Croc (a little green crocodile), but this one is my favourite. Both Melrose and Croc are excited about Christmas, but wish they had someone to share the holidays with. A string of disappointments leads them both to a skating rink, where they crash into each other and a new friendship is formed.
In general, Christmas books fall under three categories: religious/spiritual, the importance of friendship/community, and miracle stories. Like The Christmas Giant, this is a story about friendship. This story works well for children as young as 3 because the plot is straightforward, the language is very clear, and the emotion resonates with the anxieties of very young children. For example, when Croc arrives at the department store only to discover that Father Christmas is no longer there, Clark comments that, “Croc felt like crying, but he didn’t want people to see.” The simplicity and authenticity of that line gets me everytime.*
This is a very British story, in which Santa Claus is Father Christmas and everyone wishes each other ‘Happy Christmas.’ There is something about British storytelling that works very well with a snowy Christmas tale. It helps that I have a weakness for animal characters that speak perfect Queen’s English
*Don’t worry. This terrible, horrible, no good very bad day has a lovely ending. It IS a Christmas story, after all.