The Night After Christmas

The Night After Christmas
Kes Gray and Claire Powell
Hodder Children’s Books

For many, Boxing Day is something of a come down after the big day itself. Not so for Santa and his wife, especially come evening time. That’s when things really start to hot up for them, as well as for his faithful band of elves who are eagerly awaiting that rallying cry to the eight giant owls aptly named Snowy, Ghost, Blizzard, Snowball, Milkshake, Whitefly, Misty and Noble. Their task on this special occasion is to safely deliver a ginormous cracker – XXL-plus size no less, filled to near bursting point and ready for the big bang.

Once the elves have pulled the thing and spilled out its super-tasty contents, it’s time for Mrs Claus to step up for the big switch-on. And what a magnificent sight she triggers: first the colours cascade forth and then the stars shift to create spectacular ‘Yule constellations’.

Thereafter comes the dancing with both elves and reindeer performing their ‘Strictly’ moves with panache – all except Vixen who has four left hooves, so we’re told.

But all good things must come to an end and as the northern lights begin to fade, Santa starts to feel the need for some shut-eye. Off go the revellers and you can guess what Mr and Mrs Claus do (after a quick stop under the mistletoe) – zzzzz.

Brilliantly told in Kes Grey’s unfaultable rhyming text that bounces joyfully along to that final throwaway finale, and equally exuberantly illustrated in Claire Powell’s fantastically funky scenes of festivity. How she managed to portray all those elves as the party erupts, is an astonishing feat in itself.

A Christmas cracker with a superabundance of ‘rooty-toot-toot’ magic that will surely become a seasonal classic.

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