The incredible beauty of books
Forest Singer by Sylvia Sikundar and Alison Astill

Tea and Sugar Christmas by Jane Jolly and Robert Ingpen

Tea and Sugar ChristmasNational Library of Australia, Canberra, 2014

Hardback, 36 pages

ISBN: 978-0-6422-7863-0

Suggested reading age: 5+

Reviewed by: Indrani Perera

Rating: *****

This is the story of a train that travels once a week across the desert carrying goods to remote and isolated communities.  It has the feeling of a steampunk fantasy - a train that is a travelling shop, complete with livestock and a slaughter van? - but is based on fact.  From 1915 - 1996, the Tea and Sugar train travelled once a week from Port Augusta, SA to Kalgoorlie, WA.  

Children will love the story of Kathleen who is waiting for the train to bring sugar.  The sugar ran out on Sunday and she has to wait four long days for the train to come.   Will it be on time?  Will she see Father Christmas who travels the line once a year, bringing lollies, soft drinks and presents for all the kids on the line?  For kids (and their parents!) who want to know more, there are period photos and maps at the back of the book along with some history about the train.


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