The Christmas Carrolls: The Christmas Competition / We Wish You a Merry Christmas and other festive poems

The Christmas Carrolls: The Christmas Competition
Mel Taylor Bessent, illustrated by Selom Sunu

This story sees the Carrolls competing for The Most Festive Family. Also in contention for winning the prize – a trip to New York City – are the Klauses.

With just two weeks to prepare for a visit from the editor of the Christmas Chronicle who will be judging the competition, the Carrolls go into frenzied preparation mode. Surely those Klauses, with a house on Candy Cane Lane couldn’t be more festive, could they? Holly is worried. Also on her mind though, are the upcoming Halloween activities her friends are all excited about. Must she miss out completely on the spooky fun to try and do her utmost to help her family win that competition? She feels somewhat conflicted, but can she make her mum and dad understand. Top of their agenda is to pay a clandestine visit to Candy Cane Lane and take a look at their opposition. Things don’t quite go to plan though. Just as they’re on the point of leaving, the front door opens and out come the Klauses – Mr, Mrs and their children Poinsettia and Toboggan. 

Rather than sending them packing, Mrs K offers to show them round Klausland with its dancing penguins and private ski mountain. That’s when Holly sees a baby penguin with a broken wing and unequal size feet that the Klaus children call Nuisance.
Next morning what does Holly discover in her room but the very same baby penguin, which she names Sue. Mum insists that Holly return the penguin that same day: Holly however, has other penguin plans.

Meanwhile the clock is ticking and that visit from the newspaper editor draw ever closer …

Zany seasonal reading that is full of heart, some shenanigans, a sackful of good intentions and plenty of lively illustrations from Selom Sunu.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas and other festive poems
chosen and illustrated by Chris Riddell
Macmillan Children’s Books

Chris Riddell has selected almost fifty festive poems, mixing lots of old favourites including Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from St Nicholas with some exciting new seasonal poetry. You’ll find the secular and the religious, and both serious and fun offerings herein, some of the latter being those Talking Turkeys of Benjamin Zephaniah – I definitely support ‘Turkeys United’; and Clare Bevan’s spirited Just Doing My Job about a Christmas drama performance: teachers and pupils together will enjoy this one.
You’ll likely be amused by the sequel to The Twelve Days of Christmas (for which Riddell provides several superb illustrations) – it’s Dave Calder’s offering on a phone call that takes place on the thirteenth day of Christmas.

I really enjoyed another poem new to me, Dom Conlon’s Father Christmas sent me the Moon.
With the world as it is at the moment though, I was especially drawn to John Agard’s Green Magi and Lem Sissay’s Let There Be Peace.

Awesomely illustrated throughout, this has something for all ages.

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