The Frost Goblin

The Frost Goblin
Abi Elphinstone and Fiona Woodcock
Simon & Schuster

If you don’t think winter’s frost is fun then you should read this book: actually you should read it anyway as it absolutely sparkles with magic and fizzles with enchantment.

One cold winter’s night quiet young Bertie Crash-Wallop’s heart wobble causes him to creep out from his noisy home without his family noticing. As he pauses on the swing, he spots for the first time, a door handle and having investigated further, not only does he get a tingling feeling but he discovers a small door through which he steps, only to hear someone whispering.

Thus it is that Bertie is drawn into a thrilling goblin adventure for he follows one Archibald Frostgobble and a wonderful chocolatey smell and learns that on this, the night of the deepest, most important frost of the year, the goblins must ensure that it’s scattered over the entire town of Clatterstomp before dawn. Before long it seems as though Bertie himself might make some magic; he meets a young goblin child, Ada, and is soon accompanying her on an exciting, magical undertaking scattering frost with his new friend.

Eventually ‘It was as if a giant had breathed silver into every corner of Clatterstomp.’

Goblin magic we discover has the power to transform for not only can it ‘rekindle hope in the sleeping hearts of all those who needed it,’

it also shows Bertie that he does in fact belong in his family and just how much they all love him.

Team Abi (author) and Fiona (illustrator) have created their own magic in this wonderfully heart-warming, moving story that makes a perfect read aloud, especially on the coldest days.

The Snow Dragon

The Snow Dragon
Abi Elphinstone and Fiona Woodstock
Simon & Schuster

It’s a snowy Christmas Eve when we meet young Phoebe who lives in the orphanage owned by the cruel Griselda Bones. All the other young residents have had their ‘Miracle Day’, been adopted and departed to become part of a family.

Griselda runs a soulless regime – no daydreaming, skipping or games such as hide-and-seek and as for Christmas – forget it, lessons will continue as always. But even those are interrupted when Griselda throws Phoebe out to spend a night in the kennels for daring to be creative in her grammar lesson.

Then it starts to snow and having managed to climb out of the enclosure, Phoebe with the help of dachshund, Herb, builds a snowman, seeing in it a possibility of something magical.

And something magical is swirled into being before her eyes in the form of a snow dragon …

upon whose back Phoebe is whisked away on a fantastic adventure.

But the Christmas magic doesn’t stop there for there’s something even more awesome to follow …

Everything about this book, (which is an abridged version of a tale included in the collection, Winter Magic), is out of this world gorgeous. The telling is full of uplifting messages for youngsters, not least of which is that even in dark times ‘We all have the gift of wonder’ and mustn’t forget to look at the world’s natural beauty. ‘Be content. Be watchful. Be brave’ the dragon tells her.

Sheer enchantment of the best kind is provided in Fiona’s sublime illustrations, especially those of ‘wonderflible’ Northern Lights and the dragon’s first appearance.

This story is a distillation of all that’s best about Christmas.