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.