We have many incredible Yuletide yarns to enchant you during these short days and long dark nights. But while you are snuggled up warm and dry in the comfort of your own home, spare a thought for families living in uncertainty. One book, in particular, is worthy of your attention:How Will Santa Find Us? by Shane O’Brien and Stephen Rogers, illustrated by an impressive group of Irish illustrators.
Join us as we share our selection of many irresistible stories featuring yetis, unicorns, reindeers, elves, bears and many more incredible creatures, all ready to transport you to vast winter wonderlands.
Young readers will enjoy Jane Chapman’s The Snowiest Christmas Ever! This is a simple winter yarn focusing on the excitement of the build up to Christmas. It also highlights family diversity as Papa Bear parents solo and enjoys the company of his two young cubs with lots of fun. Follow Esme and Bear as they go in search of the rightful owner of the beautifully wrapped gift in The Most Wonderful Gift in the World. The Tree That’s Meant to Be by Yuval Zommer is a beautiful celebration of nature. Unicorns are big this festive season, from the The Twelve Unicorns of Christmas, The Naughtiest Unicorn at Christmasto The Christmas Unicorn.
For readers of 3–6 there are some delightful seasonal yarns, including The Christmas Extravaganza Hotel – a hilarious story about an excitable frog and a quiet bear, and the many different ways to enjoy the season. Santa’s youngest reindeer’s brilliant idea saves the day in Reindeer Down! Christmas would not be the same without a new adaptation of an old-time favourite, from Nosy Crow comes Mouses’s Night Before Christmas with gorgeous illustrations by Sarah Massini and lyrical text by Tracey Corderoy.
Emerging readers and Claude fans 6+ will jump for joy at this bumper three-story book Claude’s Adventures by award-winning illustrator Alex T. Smith.
Older readers 9–12 will adore The International Yeti Collective by Paul Mason with illustrations from rising talent Katy Riddell. Drawing on the worldwide myths of Bigfoot, Sasquatch and yeti, this thrilling escapade with strong ecological themes is sure to be a hit. The amazing Christmasaurus is back in The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch. Susanna Bailey’s Snow Foal will capture many readers’ attention. Follow Addie on an unexpected journey when she rescues a young foal.
But before you dash to the nearest bookshop or library, remember a story is for life not just for Christmas!
Síne Quinn, MPhil Children’s Literature, is an editor working with Cubicle 7 Entertainment, and Irish and international publishers, Children’s Books Ireland Book Doctor and creative writing teacher, Bookmarks Programme at Trinity College Dublin.
Reindeer Down! An Irish Christmas Tale
Natasha Mac a’Bháird, illustrated by Audrey Dowling
The O’Brien Press €14.99 ISBN 9781788490993
Join Rory the Reindeer on his first sleigh ride assisting Santa to deliver presents to children across the world. Flying into Ireland across the Giant’s Causeway, Rory is very excited until they crash land on a rooftop and Dancer is injured. With one reindeer down how will they deliver their presents? A charming and uplifting tale full of the wonder and awe of Christmas. With magnificent illustrations from super talented Audrey Dowling that capture a range of emotions, especially Rory’s sheer joy and delight. A wonderful collaboration with some distinctive Irish landmarks to spot along the way, including Dublin Zoo. 2+
How Will Santa Find Us?
Shane O’Brien and Stephen Rogers, illustrated by various
Good Cop Good Cop €16.99 ISBN 9780717186679
With Ireland’s homeless crisis on the increase, this book is reminder of the anguish and uncertainty many families are currently facing. Shane O’Brien and Stephen Rogers responded to the crisis by joining forces with the Irish creative community to produce a poignant picturebook. An impressive collection of talented illustrators collaborated to create this striking book with beautiful artwork by: Fatti Burke, Peter Donnelly, Alan Dunne, Yasmeen Ismail, Steve McCarthy, Tara O’Brien, Lauren O’Neill, Steve Simpson and Kevin Waldron. How Will Santa Find Us? is a pertinent, sensitive story following one family on a journey to find a home, whilst highlighting an important issue. 4+
The Christmas Unicorn
Oxford University Press, £6.99, ISBN 9780192772091
‘Christmas?’ wondered the unicorn softly … ‘I’m going off to see! And away he went.’ When Milly stays in her grandfather’s house she worries her dad won’t arrive in time for Christmas. She can’t believe her eyes when she spots a unicorn in her garden. Florian soon becomes part of the family, helping to decorate the tree, and even introduces Milly to a new friend. A heart-warming tale of friendship, family, belonging and a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure. The old-style illustrations provide a traditional and classic atmosphere to the delightful story. 3–6
The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch
Tom Fletcher, Illustrations by Shane Devries
Puffin, ISBN 9780241338537
The Christmasaurus, a most extraordinary dinosaur, returns in another fantastical tale of mystery, mischief, music and magic. This time William Trundle returns to the North Pole where he encounters the Winter Witch, Santa and his many elves. Tom Fletcher’s entertaining caper will keep readers enthralled. With amusing, animated comic-style illustrations by Shane Devries, this latest tale will enchant and delight. 8–11
For more reviews check out Inis magazine which is published by Children’s Books Ireland, the national children’s books organisation whose vision is an Ireland in which books are central to every child’s life.
Happy Christmas from Children’s Book Ireland and RTÉjr!