Gaspard’s Christmas

Gaspard’s Christmas
Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew
Graffeg

The enormously popular fox Gaspard returns in his fourth adventure, the proceeds from which will go to St. Martin-in-the-Fields Charity that helps the homeless.

When out hunting for food one bitterly cold night near to Christmas, Gaspard comes upon what he thinks is a bulky black bag in a bus shelter. On investigation he discovers an old man with a white beard wearing a black overcoat who is obviously freezing. He quickly realises that the man needs help and goes off in search of assistance, calling on his friends Flinty the dog and Peter the cat before returning and attempting to warm the man whose condition has clearly deteriorated.

The savvy creatures investigate and find that the old man’s name is Nikolas and off rushes Flinty to find her person. Then together Honey and Flinty struggle through the streets back to Nikolas and the other animals.

Eventually back in the church, the old man is given a meal, clean clothes and a warm shower, and later a special temporary role at the shelter party.

Despite being given a small reward each, Peter, Flinty and Gaspard understand that their true reward is the knowledge that their kind and speedy actions have saved someone’s life.

Such a vital message about selflessness and a thought-provoking story about the importance of showing kindness to those less well off than ourselves. I love James Mayhew’s painterly, detailed illustrations that, as always in this series, are infused with loving concern.