Queen Victoria’s Christmas By Jackie French and Bruce Whatley




A Christmas book with a history lesson thrown in? Now that’s very us!


This story is set in the 1840s, in Queen Victoria’s Palace. The Christmas preparations are underway, some familiar, some new and a little bit odd: why is there a tree being brought in? What can you possibly do with a tree?

The author’s note, at the back of the book, lets us know, that although evergreen trees had been used as part of Christmas decorations before this time, it was Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, who made the tree the central part of their celebrations, by placing the gifts under it and posing for pictures beside it.

Why I love it:

I do love a bit of history! I think traditions and their origins are fascinating and I love the opportunity for learning and discussion, provided by this book.

I had never really questioned the use of Christmas trees, and I found it really interesting to learn their background. Apparently, it was during Queen Victoria’s reign that many of our Christmas traditions (cards, paper hats, pudding, cake and even crackers) came to be part of the norm.

This is a very simple story book, with a fun lift-the-flap ending, but a great chance to explore a time gone by.

Themes/ideas to discuss with your child:

  • Christmas
  • Traditions
  • Christmas trees
  • History
  • Royal family
  • Family
  • Fashions and trends
  • inventions

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:

  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • Do you think this book is set now, in 2017? What makes you think this?
  • Have you ever before heard of Queen Victoria?
  • What word would you use to describe the expression on the brown dog’s face?

After reading:

  • Did you enjoy this book? Why/why not?
  • How did the dogs want to spend their day?
  • Do you think the family had ever had a Christmas tree before? What makes you think this?
  • Do you think they will have one next year?
  • What were some of the other Christmas traditions listed in the book?
  • What are some of your favourite things that we do/have on Christmas?
  • When was this book set?
  • Do you think this is true story? What makes you think this?
  • If you were going to start your own Christmas tradition, what would you do?

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