WARNING: AN ELVES ONLY PICTURE BOOK REVIEW
Let’s talk about stocking fillers. I’m always a bit flummoxed when online stocking filler searches offer up bulky, bank-busting suggestions. Although wonderful, a helicopter, a personalised football and an engraved child’s bracelet (with birthstone!!!) are not, to my mind, stocking fillers. Traditionally, Christmas stockings were stuffed with small toys, fruit, sweets and coins, and then hung at the foot of the bed. This year, our kids will look forward to a few inexpensive things they can eat, play with and read, with practical things (like toothbrushes and mittens) thrown in for good measure. And while they’re busy discovering what’s inside, I’ll be frantically brewing my first litre of coffee downstairs! So my point… it’s very easy to get swept away in the extravagance that’s become Christmas, but it seems a shame to lose the beautiful simplicity of the Christmas stocking. And what better gifts to cram into a stocking than a present you can open again and again – A BOOK!
We’ve been reviewing seasonal literary delights here on My Book Corner for the last few weeks, including Penguin Problems (my new favourite book), Oliver Elephant and Pick a Pine Tree. Today’s festive treat is Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: Jingle Bells! by the fur-tastic duo Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton. And at a ditty A5, this little three-story bumper issue is the perfect stocking filler size.
In the first story, ‘Jingle Bells’, someone has stolen all of Santa’s presents. The other two stories are not Christmas themed but just as good (if not better). In story number two, ‘Sea-Monster Ahoy’, a sea monster is spoiling the fairground fun day. And finally in the third story, ‘The Lucky Cat’, a weird cat has cursed Sam… or has it?!
This book is a little different to the usual Shifty McGifty rhyming picture books, which have been around since 2013. Yes, it’s the same two hapless robber dogs who long ago swapped crime for cupcakes, but this time the stories are in prose, with short chapters and accompanied by two-colour illustrations. It means it’s perfectly pitched for a more confident reader.
The stories bound along with Tracey’s effervescent style and Steven’s illustrations are just as action-packed too. Our favourite was ‘The Lucky Cat’. We howled with laughter when sleep deprived Sam came downstairs wrapped in the bedroom curtains and then proceeded to serve up a bath sponge instead of a Victoria sponge. Ha!
So for a stocking filler that’ll outlast those choccy coins, then why not go for a book? Because let’s face it, you CAN’T snuggle up with a Satsuma!
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: Jingle Bells! is a featured title in our curated collection The Best Christmas Books For Children.