It’s Christmas in the bush and there’s not a sign of snow in sight. The kitchen has heated up nicely with enough roasted turkey and plum pudding to help diners burst at the seams.

It’s Christmas in the bush and the sun burns hotly through the gums. Down the road old Rogan comes for a bite of tucker and a beer. Mum’s in the kitchen cooking up a turkey and plum pudding. C.J. Dennis’s A Bush Christmas, with its wry satire and affection for all things Australian, is as fresh today as when it was written in 1931. Award-winning artist Dee Huxley brings it to life with her whimsical illustrations.


C. J. Dennis grew up in country South Australia in the late nineteenth century, and it was this landscape that inspired him when he wrote about the tough, laconic folk of the Australian bush. His full name was Clarence James Stanislaus Dennis, but to his friends he was known as "Clarrie" or "Den". He is best known today as C. J. Dennis. Dennis started writing at an early age and while studying at Gladstone Primary School, he edited all three issues of the Weary Weekly. Dennis moved around a lot in his life – for a while he even lived in a tent, and then later in an old tramway bus, at Kallista, outside Melbourne, where he wrote much of his famous book The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke. Over his lifetime, Dennis had over 4000 pieces of prose and poetry published. By 1917, he had become the richest poet in Australia. In 1931 he wrote the poem "A Bush Christmas", where he turned the traditional snow-and-holly idea of Christmas upside down to make it authentically Australian. He also wrote and illustrated A Book For Kids. His wife later said, "I never knew Den more happy than when he was doing A Book for Kids." He dedicated it to "good children over four and under four-and-eighty".

Dee Huxley has worked as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and author and has illustrated many picture books for children. She has been short-listed twice for the Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award.


A lovely book for all Australians.

Huxley’s remarkable illustrations, shimmering with colour and heat, perfectly embody the beauty and historical resonance of this book. Humorous, emotive and very Australian, this is a heartfelt visual festive feast of the very best kind.

Kids' Book Review

A beautiful piece of verse brought back to life by Dee Huxley’s magnificent larger-than-life illustrations.

The Australian Women's Weekly

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