Advent Book Review Five: Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present

This is a great book for boys! It is full of fun and laugh out loud actions.

It tells the tale of Father Christmas trying to deliver a forgotten present to Harvey Slumfenburger

who lived in a hut at the top of the Roly Poly Mountain which was far, far away.

Father Christmas has to travel without his reindeer ho are far too tired after the trials and tribulations of Christmas Eve. Instead he uses all manner of modes of transport with the help of willing volunteers along the way.

The pencil illustrations compliment John Burningham’s text beautifully.

The text is simple and repetitive and has a great rhythm for reading aloud.

I discovered this book when I was teaching Year 2 and every class that I have had subsequently seemed to love this book more than the last.

Even my Year 6’s appreciated the appeal and humour of this Christmas story.

This is a very clever story, full of festive cheer and with a question left begging to be answered. You see, Father Christmas does eventually successfully deliver the present to Harvey Slumfenburger but we, the reader, never get to find out what it was! A great cliff hanger worthy of further exploration!

Esther and William are a bit too young to fully understand this story but they enjoyed listening to my animated reading of it none the less. It is a great book to read aloud!

Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present by the wonderful John Burningham is also a great book to use as a resource, a stimulus, for literacy and craft activities.

Here are some of the activities I recommend that are linked to this fabulous festive book.

Write a thank you letter from Harvey Slumfenburger to Father Christmas describing what his present was.

Create a map of Father Christmas’ journey to the top of the Roly Poly Mountain.

Wrap up an empty box and play ‘What is in the box?’ by taking turns to hide things in the box and then describe them for others to guess.

Paint a picture of Father Christmas using your favourite mode of transport from the story.

Write a set of instructions telling Father Christmas how to get to your house.

Write and record a rap describing Father Christmas’ journey and many modes of transport.

Write Father Christmas’ diary entry for his journey to the Roly Poly Mountain.

Make a model, in a shoe box, of Father Christmas’ bedroom that he will return to after his long journey.

Write a poem describing the best Christmas present you have ever had.

Discuss who you would go to the ends of the earth for and why.

There are many many more activities that can be inspired by this story not only of Christmas but of commitment and perseverance and doing something good for someone else.

A lovely book with a heartfelt message for this special time of year.

What do you think Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas present really was?

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