Book Reviews

A Christmas Tail
Kids-Book Review

A Christmas Tail by Donna Smith and Helen Ross

Illustrated by Aaron Pocock

Spider Ink Press is excited to have received another lovely review for A Christmas Tail.

The review is by Anastasia Gonis of  Kids-bookreviewKids-Book review is a well respected children’s literature and book review site.

To view the link, please click here:


A Christmas Tail
CKT Book Review

A Christmas Tail no white space

A Christmas Tail by Donna Smith and Helen Ross

Illustrated by Aaron Pocock

As Christmas decorations adorn shops and our hearts palpitate with the stress of gift buying and coordinating a Santa photo where every child smiles, snot-free, in pristine clothes, this old-world picture book reminds readers of true Christmas values.

A Christmas Tail describes the Christmas of Melanie, Monty and baby Peter Mouse who live in a resplendent doll’s house called Cherrywood Cottage. The story sees them preparing for Christmas and the imminent arrival of Santa Paws. However, Santa Paw’s present delivery is hampered by a serious wardrobe malfunction, followed by some unexpected visitors.

Santa Paws in his undies was a definite highlight for my three boys!

The illustrations by Aaron Pocock are vibrant with festive greens and reds. There is an abundance of traditional Christmas iconography with some cute mousey touches like little cheese wedge beds. Pocock effectively contrasts this with the lives of those less fortunate, establishing the reality of life outside the walls of the cosy cottage.

The story is easy to read and well paced. There is plenty of action, particularly in the second half, to keep young kids engaged.

Kindness is a common theme for Christmas stories and this is the central message here. Peter, despite being the baby of the family, has compassion for those less fortunate than himself. The idea of a child being more open-minded and accepting than his/her elders is not a new concept in picture books. Nevertheless, it is an important lesson for both adults and children, at any time of the year.

Reviewed by Nerida Wayland

Nerida Wayland is an enthusiastic reader, writer and editor.

She is currently a PhD candidate in Children’s Literature at Macquarie University and has been a high school English teacher for over fifteen years. She has published both short stories for children and adults, as well as educational resources.

She lives in Sydney with her husband and three little boys who love books as much as she does.

Link at:

A Christmas Tail

A Christmas Tail

Story by Donna Smith and Helen Ross

illustrated by Aaron Pocock

Spider Ink Press


Let me tell you about this mousey story.

A Christmas Tail is a charming story written by Donna Smith and Helen Ross about a mouse family living in a doll’s house in an attic.

Melanie, Monty and baby mouse Peter are preparing for the Christmas festivities and a visit by Santa Paws, but when Santa loses his pants you know things aren’t going quite to plan.

This is a traditional Christmas story with a few twists involving unlikely friendships and bumps in the night. The characters are adorable, even the mischievous rat and the accomplice cat.

The illustrations by Aaron Pocock are divine and reveal a first-class talent. He lives in Brisbane too (the place is chock full of talent ;) ).

Donna Smith is from Victoria – but that can’t be helped. It appears there are good writers in other States of Australia! 😂

This book targets pre-school age children and I am sure they will love this tale of mice and mayhem. My kids loved the story and they are 10 and 13.

Congrats Helen (and Donna and Aaron).

Reviewed by Gabrielle Bryden

Gabrielle is an Australian poet, writer, blogger, psychologist, wife and mother of two children, and  autism and environmental advocate.

Link at:

A Christmas Tail

Paperback: 36 pages

Publisher: Spider Ink Press

ISBN: 9780987306715

Donna, Helen and Aaron have come together to publish A Christmas Tail.  Aaron’s gorgeous illustrations are typical of his ability to create intricate, whimsical characters. The story portrays a simple message, the joy that Christmas can bring to family and unlikely friends.

Reviewed by Jackie Hosking

poet, rhyming ms editor and PASS IT ON publisher

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Join our cyber book launch party of A Christmas Tail | spiderinkpress
  2. Trackback: A Christmas Tail eBook special Offer ends Fri 6 Dec. | Helen Ross writes
  3. Trackback: Helen visits Susie Caron’s blog | Helen Ross writes
  4. Trackback: Review of A Christmas Tail | spiderinkpress
  5. Trackback: Looking back on 2013 | Helen Ross writes
  6. Trackback: Download eBook version in time for Christmas | spiderinkpress

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