Book Review – Christmas Special

Those of you who are interested in buying a Christmassy book for a child or to treasure for yourself. I have put together a few that might make that ideal stocking filler or pre-Christmas gift.

christmas stockings

Title: How Winston Delivered Christmas

Written and Illustrated by: Alex T. Smith

Published by: Macmillan Children’s Books

How Winston delivered Christmas

A mouse called Winston takes Oliver’s letter to Santa that he found in the snow to the North Pole. It’s not an easy journey, but Winston finally makes it – and there’s an unexpected reward at the end of the story for him, too.

How Winston Delivered Christmas is written in 24 and a half chapters designed to be read, one a day, from the 1st to 24th December, with the half chapter at the end to be read on Christmas Day.

Like an advent calendar counting down to Christmas, each day features festive things to make and do – you can write a letter to Father Christmas and make mince pies, make party invitations, build a snow globe and a pom-pom robin and there is even a creating a guide to random acts of kindness. The perfect gift for leading up to Christmas.

Title: Father Christmas and Me

Written by: Matt Haig

Illustrated by: Chris Mould

Published by: Canongate Books

Father Christmas and Me

Let the battle for Christmas begin . . .

Amelia lives in the magical town of Elfhelm, newly adopted by Father Christmas and Mary Christmas. When the very jealous Easter Bunny launches an attack to ruin Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her family and the elves to fight off the forces of evil.

But can they keep Christmas alive?

Other Christmassy books in the series are:

Title: A Very Corgi Christmas

Written by: Sam Hay

Illustrated by: Loretta Schauer

Published by: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

A Very Corgi Christmas

Pip turns up and whisks Belle the Royal Corgi off on a wonderfully romantic whirl around the sights of London. All too soon it’s time to head home, but when the couple finally work out how to get back into the palace . . . Pip disappears.

Will Belle ever see him again? Perhaps . . . with the help of a special royal couple, who might just bring Belle a wonderful Christmas surprise.

For dog-lovers everywhere, this Lady and the Tramp-esque romp around London at Christmas is full of heart . . . and waggy tails!

Title: The Last of the Spirits

Written by: Chris Priestly

Published by: Bloomsbury

Last of the Spirits

Sam and Lizzie are freezing and hungry on the streets of Victorian London. When Sam asks a wealthy man for some coins, he is rudely turned away. Months of struggle suddenly find their focus, and Sam resolves to kill the man. Huddling in a graveyard for warmth, Sam and Lizzie are horrified to see the earth around one of the tombs begin to shift, shortly followed by the wraith-like figure of a ghostly man. He warns Sam about the future which awaits such a bitter heart, and so begins Sam’s journey led by terrifying spirits through the past, present and future, after which Sam must decide whether to take the man, Scrooge’s, life or not.

A perfectly layered, tense and supremely satisfying twist on one of Dickens’ most popular books, cleverly reinvented.

Title: Once Upon A Wild Wood

Written and Illustrated by: Chris Riddell

Published by: Macmillan Children’s Books

Once Upon a Wild Wood

Little Green Raincape is on her way to Rapunzel’s party, deep in the wild woods. The way is long and dark, but Green is a smart girl. Smart enough to turn down apples offered by kindly old ladies, smart enough to turn down travel advice from helpful wolves, and above all, smart enough to solve a wealth of classic fairy tale problems – not least mend a lovelorn beast’s broken heart.

Once Upon a Wild Wood is a richly imagined story jam-packed full of familiar fairy tale characters as you’ve never seen them before. Including Red Riding Hood, Thumbelina, Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, the three bears, the seven dwarfs and many more!

A visual feast on every page, illustrated with warmth and humour and full of witty details to discover – this is Chris Riddell at his picture book best!

Title: The Snowman: Inspired by the original story by Raymond Briggs

Written by: Michael Morpurgo

Illustrated by: Robin Shaw

Published by: Puffin

The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo

Inspired by the timeless tale, Michael Morpurgo and Robin Shaw have created the perfect Christmas story for the whole family. One December morning, James is thrilled to wake up to see snow falling.

He spends the whole day making his perfect snowman; he has coal eyes, an old green hat and scarf and a tangerine nose… just like the snowman from his favourite story. That night, something magical happens- the Snowman comes to life! He and James take to the skies on a magical adventure where they meet someone very special.

Title: The Christmasaurus Audiobook

Written by: Tom Fletcher

Illustrated by: Shane Devries

Read by: Paul Shelley

Published by: Puffin


First released in 2016 this audiobook has been repackaged again this year just in time for Christmas.

The Christmasaurus is a story about a boy named William Trundle and a dinosaur, called as the title would suggest the Christmasaurus. They meet one Christmas Eve and have an extraordinary adventure where they discover their heart’s true desire, and learn the impossible might just be possible. The theme is friendship and family wrapped up in a glittery parcel of sleigh bells, Santa, singing elves, flying reindeer, music and magic.

The disc includes 14 original songs all written and performed by Tom Fletcher, accompanied by a full orchestra with performances by Giovanna Fletcher, Carrie Hope-Fletcher and Santa Claus! And listen out for newcomer Max Reader singing ‘Someone More Than Me’ and Harry Judd on drums in ‘Afraid of Heights’.

Title: Going Home

Written by: Cliff McNish

Illustrated by: Trish Phillips

Published by: Doomspell Books

going home

A dog may not be for Christmas but this book certainly is. Children who love animals will adore it.

Going Home is about the Happy Paws Dog’s Home where some of the dogs have been labelled ‘no-hopers’ on the ground of their looks, phobias and general behaviour. When the Dog’s Home reviews its policy of never putting a dog down the story takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions. One minute there are tears of laughter. The next you are on the edge of your seat, turning the page, hoping the dogs will find a home of their very own before it is too late.

It will give any child a fairly realistic view of the psyche of a dog and how their needs are more than just a roof over their heads. Not only is the story a real feel-good, tear-jerker but the illustrations by Trish Phillips are adorable and will melt even the hardest of hearts.

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