A mouse on a mis­sion, fairy­tale vil­lains and Christ­mas cheer in mag­i­cal sea­sonal of­fer­ings

The Guardian - Review - - Books Of The Year - Imo­gen Rus­sell Wil­liams

With its colour­ful geo­met­ric il­lus­tra­tions – po­lar bear, elf, Santa – and a baby-pleas­ing mir­ror at the back, Where’s Santa Claus? by In­gela P Ar­rhe­nius (Nosy Crow) is per­fect for a first Noel. In

Rein­deer Ex­press , by Maudie Pow­ell-Tuck and Karl James Mount­ford (Lit­tle Tiger), Mia has made a Christ­mas card for Dad – but he’s too far away to get it in time. Thank good­ness for the Rein­deer Ex­press! En­tranc­ing land­scapes, in­ge­nious cut-out doors and a sweet-faced, be­spec­ta­cled heroine add up to a heart-warm­ing pic­ture book.

So many chil­dren need presents in der­ful Work­shop (Ox­ford) that Santa and the elves must start plan­ning in Jan­uary. But as the months tick past, the prob­lems mul­ti­ply. Elys Dolan’s dead­pan comic cal­en­dar of “progress” at the north pole – fea­tur­ing a rein­deer with su­perb side-eye, an­ar­chic pen­guins and an irate snow­man neigh­bour – will de­light those who like a Christ­mas ca­per with bite.

The Story Orches­tra: The Sleep­ing Beauty , by Katy Flint (Lin­coln), is a lively retelling, en­riched by Jes­sica Court­ney-Tickle’s lus­cious il­lus­tra­tions – each spread is like an il­lu­mi­nated gar­den. Press the mu­si­cal note on each page to hear phrases of Tchaikovsky’s mu­sic, then turn to the back to learn more about the bal­let and its com­poser. the per­fect gift for minia­ture ne­go­tia­tors and a gen­tle, hu­mor­ous ex­am­i­na­tion of strong feel­ings. With its re­quest for a pocket money raise and its apol­ogy form from the De­part­ment of Re­gret, Re­morse and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, it is guar­an­teed to prompt both deep thought and big smiles.

How Win­ston De­liv­ered Christ­mas by Alex T Smith (Macmil­lan) is a de­light­ful story of a mouse on a mis­sion, told in 24 and a half chap­ters, and il­lus­trated with sea­sonal glow­ing charm by the cre­ator of Claude. Read one chap­ter ev­ery day from to­day, and en­joy the

Last Stop on the

Santa’s Won-

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