Hot Dog

Hot Dog
Mark Sperring and Sophie Corrigan
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Totally and adorably silly is the latest offering from the creators of Jingle Smells. It’s the tale of a hot dog sausage that yearns for just one thing – to be a real-life dog that can frolic on the beach, play with sticks and generally do doggy things. Standing on a shelf close at hand just as the little hot dog is making that wish, is none other than the Mustard Fairy. With a few squirts of mustard she grants his wish and off dashes one transformed pooch to enjoy himself.

There’s a problem however: with their superior sense of smell, the other dogs on the sandy shore, sniff-sniff something they seem to like just a bit too much. YIKES! Off dashes poor Hot Dog towards Flo’s ice-cream stand, begging for help.

Now being a kindly woman, Flo immediately responds positively to Hot Dog’s plaintive plea by launching a counter-attack with her wares, causing the marauding and increasingly hungry hounds to turn tail and flee.

That leaves – hidden ‘neath a parasol – our little Hot Dog, albeit with some adornment near his rear. And Flo? Well, she has something super-special to offer her new friend.

Infused with summery sunny feelings, Mark Sperring’s rhyming romp together with Sophie Corrigan’s splendid seasonal scenes showing Hot Dog, hilarious high spirits and much of the action at close quarters, make this book one to share and relish over and over, this season and beyond.

Jingle Smells

Jingle Smells
Mark Sperring and Sophie Corrigan
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Mark Sperring’s rhyming story introduces readers to Jingle the stinky little skunk.

It’s Christmas Eve and the stripey-tailed creature is on his way into town to see the shiny lights. En route however, in true skunk style, he emits a particularly pungent aroma and as he passes it, the tree in the old town square is so overcome by the whiffy odour that the thing topples right over, sending baubles and lights flying every which way. Poor skunk is devastated that he’s spoiled Christmas for everyone and is just about to turn back home when he hears a cry for help.

Now Jingle has a chance to do something for the good of all the town’s residents, for up on the roof he discovers that robbers are at work and Santa is in big trouble.

What better way to get rid of the villains than for the little skunk to emit a a mega-stinky blast. It certainly has the desired effect 

and Jingle realises that perhaps after all, he has saved Christmas. But the night is long and Santa still has all those presents to deliver – with a little bit of help for one time only, from one small stinky skunk.

Jingle is such an endearing character and Sophie Corrigan brings this out in her fun festive illustrations that are a perfect accompaniment to Mark Sperrings’s deliciously different tale, which is a delight to read aloud.

The Night the Reindeer Saved Christmas / Santa Jaws

The Night the Reindeer Saved Christmas
Raj Kaur Khaira and Kasia Nowowiejska
Studio Press

On the eve of Christmas Eve at the North Pole, Mr Claus is feeling chuffed: everything is ready, so he decides a short period of relaxation is in order.
Suddenly though there comes a message calling him to an emergency meeting: the rockets on the Christmas sleigh have exploded. At the prospect of Christmas being cancelled by their leader, the elfin team are at a loss.

Not so though Mrs Claus. She suggests calling on the creatures whose homes are nearby to assist in the delivery of the gifts. It’s not long before all the animals are assembled and ready to demonstrate their suitability. The polar bears are certainly strong, the narwhals speedy, the kittiwakes willing but inept

and the arctic foxes just disappear. Sleepy bears, a lack of waterproof wrapping and vanishing foxes are enough to send poor Mr Claus crazy. Off he goes for a meditative wander and as he’s contemplating his plight, he spots two creatures flying past.
Then Mr C. gets the surprise of his life. There before his eyes are Comet and Blitzen and he follows them back to their herd and there discovers some creatures that just might save Christmas after all.

Let’s hear it for the women and of course, the female reindeer.
I loved this clever story (complete with a few final creature facts) and it’s especially good to see Kasia Nowowiejska’s portrayal of such a diverse cast of characters in her zany illustrations.

Santa Jaws
Mark Sperring and Sophie Corrigan
Bloomsbury Children’s Books

A snappily fun seasonal story is this one of Mark Sperring’s set beneath the sea as Christmas Eve approaches.
Meet Shelly who’s been shopping at the Deep Sea Christmas Store where she’s bought a special bobble hat.
Back home she makes a snazzy sign which she affixes to her front door.

It doesn’t fool the local undersea population; they beat a hasty retreat but Sid squid is a newbie to the location and is beguiled by the sign as he contemplates stars, candy cane and snowman building. His lucky day has surely come. Up to that front door he goes and what he encounters when it’s opened is certainly alluring

but then comes a BIG sharp-toothed surprise.
All is not what it first seems though, but faced with a dilemma, what will Sid do next?

Sophie Corrigan’s sub aquatic scenes of corals decorated with Christmas decorations as well as the sight of the hapless Sid and the sharky Shelly are sure to make your little ones giggle in delight.