That Christmas Feeling Book Review

Author // Lili Wilkinson
Illustrator // Amanda Francey
Publication Date // October 2017
Publisher // Allen & Unwin
Readership // Kids
Australian RRP // $19.99
Rating // 


Dottie is waiting for the Christmas feeling to arrive—that fizzy, excited feeling, where everything is a bit magical. But this year, Dottie, her brother, Jem, and their dog, Shortbread, are staying with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandma and Grandpa are trying hard, but Christmas just isn’t the same . . .

A gorgeous, heart-warming story about misplacing the Christmas spirit, and finding it again.


That Christmas Feeling is a picture book that brings back all my warm-fuzzy memories of reading as a child. It has that beautiful, timeless quality about it, that speaks to readers young and old.

It is the story of Dottie, her brother Jem, and their dog, Shortbread, experiencing Christmas with their Grandma and Grandpa. It is their first Christmas away from their parents and they’re finding that the usual Christmas traditions and activities that they would do at home are just a little different at their grandparent’s house. Dottie, in particular, finds it challenging, feeling that the special, excited Christmas feeling just isn’t there this year.

High quality picture books always have a way of opening discussion for young children on topics that they have questions about, and That Christmas Feeling is up there. Spending time away from our families – especially during important times of the year or events – can be really trying for young children and the idea that something is wrong or not right can be very disorientating. That Christmas Feeling is great for talking about those times, exploring that even though things my be different, that it’s okay, and it’s still (in this case) Christmas, and Dottie and Jem are still surrounded by family, but perhaps that special Christmas magic just looks different in this new place.

It’s no secret I’m a fan of picture books, but I can be really picky about the Christmas books I read with my students, and this is one I would read to them without hesitation. It has a lovely message underpinning it and it’s something you could read over and over again.

I gave That Christmas Feeling 5 out of 5 stars.

(Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of Good Friday for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.)


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