Two lovely books in review today which I had planned to – and then did! – read on Christmas Day afternoon. I love it when a plan comes together! These are both Christmas-themed and easy reads, but pack an emotional punch, and both are by favourite authors. Dear Verity sent me the Noel Streatfeild, fellow Ballet Shoes etc fans that we are, and it’s going to be a little hard but I’m going to pass it on to someone who deserves an extra Christmas treat. In addition. Paul Magrs’ “Stardust and Snow” is serving as a pre-read for my Paul Magrsathon, my 2020 reading project which I’ve outlined here. I’ll admit that the back end of the year was a bit full of stuff to have reached out to publishers and done fancy stuff but I have the first five months’ worth of books ready to go and TWO giveaways to start things off with!

Paul Magrs – “Stardust and Snow”

(December 2019)

An absolutely beautiful and charming Christmas story. Daniel remembers the days when he was a shy kid, and they didn’t call it autistic in those days, just shy. He wins a competition to go to London and meet David Bowie. But when he gets to the big city, his Grandma is grumpy, they’re nearly late, no one knows that Grandpa ‘wrote in’ and Daniel can hardly see Bowie or the puppets from Labyrinth over the heads of the crowd. What happens next is so adorable and magical, and Paul’s way of writing abut ordinary people doing extraordinary things, which is what hooked me into his writing in 1990s Lewisham in the first place, makes it breath-taking.

Matthew read this on Christmas afternoon, too, while I started my next read, and pronounced it “so sweet” with a tear in his eye (I’ll admit to a matching one).

“Noel Streatfeild’s Christmas Stories”

(November 2019, from Verity)

A new collection of stories for children (but perfectly readable by adults!) originally written in the 1940s-1960s for annuals, magazines and the radio, and never before collected and published. We have a mixture of theatre children and ordinary children, with poorly siblings, parents fighting to make ends meet and sparkling dreams in the mix.

I particularly liked “The Chain”, where a boy imagines the classic characters from children’s literature helping his sick sister, and “Christmas at Collers”, where some town children learn to embrace the delights of a country Christmas. Lovely illustrations by Peter Bailey make this a gorgeous gift for yourself or someone you love.

I’ve already finished “Bird Therapy” and am pushing forward with my plan to empty enough of my TBR shelves to seamlessly fit all my new books on it. Yeah, right! And the ones I have acquired recently that somehow haven’t made it on there already … Oh, and I’ll share the Lovely Pile soon, but probably in my end-of-year round-up post as there will be a few more reviews to fit in before then!

Happy Christmas and a happy and healthy new year to all my readers!