Age Range: 4 to 8
The Story: It’s Christmas Eve and Katie and her brother Jack are sleeping at Grandma’s house when they are woken by a loud sneeze. They find Father Christmas downstairs and offer to help him deliver presents. During their sleigh ride over snowy London they see many famous sights before sliding down chimneys and delivering gifts. The last house on their list is Buckingham Palace and when Father Christmas’ sneeze wakes the corgis they are almost disturbed by a member of the Royal Family. Katie and Jack fly home with Father Christmas and next morning they find that he has left them a special present under their Christmas tree.
James Mayhew has combined the magic of a snowy Christmas Eve with many London sights including Trafalgar Square, Regent Street, Covent Garden, Big Ben and 10 Downing Street. Father Christmas is large with little round glasses and rosy red cheeks and he completes his traditional red outfit with a very snazzy pair of striped trousers! His six reindeer wear matching red collars and the pages and spreads where the sleigh swoops and flies are awesome, we particularly like the picture of the sleigh flying around Big Ben. The double spread where the sleigh flies through a starry sky and over St. Paul’s Cathedral is my favourite, it also prompted my daughter to ask why nobody was wearing a seatbelt!
The text is easy to read and words like swooped, dashed and whizzing portray the speed of their flight and the urgency of the task in hand. Those of you who are familiar with London will spot many old and new landmarks and several pages give you a great bird’s eye view of the city. The beautiful illustrations are very festive. My daughter is fascinated by Father Christmas’ magic which is shown as sparkling coloured dots but her favourite picture shows Katie, Jack and Father Christmas carrying precarious piles of brightly coloured presents through the dark (she likes to try and guess what could be in them!).
Katie’s London Christmas has a beautiful, glittery hardback cover and would make a lovely Christmas present. The story would make a lovely festive addition to a Christmas Eve bedtime routine.
Author / Illustrator: James Mayhew
We also enjoy reading Katie in London in which one of the Trafalgar Square lions shows Katie the sights of London. My daughter was so excited when we visited Trafalgar Square and saw Katie’s lion!
James Mayhew will be at The National Gallery’s Katie Day on November 29th. Join him for a free day of art, stories and fun. He will also be signing books, a signed copy of Katie’s London Christmas would make a lovely Christmas present.