Reviews /

Gaspard’s Christmas

Authored by Zeb Soanes
Illustrated by James Mayhew
Published by Graffeg

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If you’re a fan of this series of books about the adventures of an urban fox living in London then you’ll be delighted with the latest in this series: Gaspard’s Christmas. This is the fourth story following on from Gaspard the Fox (2018), Gaspard Best in Show (2019) and Gaspard’s Foxtrot (2021).

In this story we see Gaspard in a snow-covered London at Christmas searching the streets for food. While foraging, he finds a man lying in a doorway. Gaspard quickly rounds up his friends to help him save the man from the freezing cold. While his friends, Peter the cat and Finty the dog, find humans, Gaspard wraps himself and his bushy tail around the man that they have identified as Nikolas, to keep him warm. You may have guessed that this has led to the assumption that they have found Father Christmas! Thankfully, help is found and Nikolaus is brought into a warm church with food and friendship.

If you have been following Gaspard’s stories, you’ll be familiar with the animal characters and their personalities. There’s a lovely moment that captures Peter and Finty perfectly, when Nikolaus reaches the church and reads the sign outside,

Saint… Peter…’

‘SEE!’ exclaimed Peter. I told you it was Father Christmas. He knows my name. And he called me Saint Peter because I helped him.’

Finty rolled her eyes.

For those new to Gaspard stories, I am sure Gaspard, Peter and Finty will draw you in to read previous ones and for those familiar with them, it’s like meeting old friends. The author illustrator partnership between Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew works perfectly. As a story to read aloud and share, both at home and in the classroom, with early years and KS1, it has the right amount of text alongside the illustrations that offer opportunities to notice extra details that may not be in the story. These are stories set in London and there are some beautiful double page spreads of the London skyline and streets. I loved the first scenic, skyline spread where you can spot many famous London landmarks through the snow-filled night and also the streets with windows of houses and shops lit up on a dark night.

Gaspard’s Christmas is an utterly heart-warming story that is a Christmas classic in the making to read and reread every year and with a very important theme. On the endpapers at the back there is a letter from the vicar of St Martin-in -the-Fields, a church, charity and venue that is well-known for its work with people who have nowhere to turn. Sam Wells, the vicar, in his letter, reminds us that this is just one place like many across the UK that help people to find a place to call home. This story is pitched perfectly to open up conversations and awareness with young readers. Proceeds from this book will go to St Martin-in -the-Fields homeless charity to help people across the UK.