Cracking Seasonal Reads

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Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face and the Great Kerfuffle Christmas Kidnap
John Dougherty and David Tazzyman
Oxford University Press
It’s Christmas Eve and all’s right with the world. Right? Well not quite.
When Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face wake up it’s after midnight (so technically they can call it Christmas Day) with cries of “He’s been! He’s been!”, it takes but a few seconds for them to discover that this is not the case: Father Christmas has definitely not visited their abode, and that’s despite the pair having been extra good that year. All they see where those presents should have been is a great big pile of nothing, absolutely zilch.
Obviously Father Christmas must be in some kind of trouble – think dastardly badgers – and it’s up to Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face to come to the rescue, find Santa and save Christmas for all the inhabitants on the little island of Great Kerfuffle.
As with previous books in the series, this one is full of wonderfully off-the-wall characters, bonkers jokes, evil-sounding laughter, magic and mayhem, crazy dialogue and perfect comic timing to boot. What’s more it’s illustrated by the brilliant David Tazzyman whose seemingly scribble illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to John Dougherty’s clever and deliciously silly writing style.
A seasonal cracker if ever there was one.

Altogether different but equally worth seeking out is:

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There May Be a Castle
Piers Torday
Quercus Children’s Books
It’s Christmas Eve: a family – mum, two sisters and a brother – are on the way to visit the grandparents. Violet the eldest is dressed as a pirate, toddler Esme has a passion for chocolate and Mouse, a smaller than average, highly imaginative eleven year old is still in his robot pyjamas; Mum is at the wheel. Snow is falling fast, the visibility is bad, but the journey across the moors should be fairly short.
As it often does on such occasions, bickering begins and Mum loses control of the car and it spins off the road. Mouse is thrown from the car by the crash but everyone else is trapped inside.
When he comes to, Mouse finds himself in a magical landscape with no snow and no car, just a peculiar sheep named Bar, a talking one-eyed horse called Nonky, a garrulous minstrel, a size-changing dinosaur; oh, and there may be a castle. Thus begins Mouse’s quest to find that castle despite not knowing quite why.
Back at the scene of the accident, Violet is on a mission to save her mother who is unconscious and bleeding, and little Esme, who keeps demanding chocolate. To do this she has to use her knowledge of a very fierce pirate woman, which, harnessed with her own imagination, gives her the strength she needs to cope.
Without giving away what happens let’s leave those two wonderful, very brave characters in their spellbinding wintry tale of hope, courage, the power of the imagination and the stories we tell ourselves.
Brilliantly imaginative and totally immersive it’s a beautifully written book; read it and you’ll be hooked, but be warned, you’re on something of an emotional rollercoaster.

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