The Story: Bradley Bartleby is a beastly brat whose wealthy parents give him everything he wants – not because he deserves it, but because they are afraid of him. Santa, however, is much more discerning and knows what a nasty piece of work Bradley is. So, every year, he ignores Bradley’s huge list of demands and instead leaves him a nice new pair of socks. Bradley, of course, doesn’t like it when he doesn’t get his way, so he decides to construct an elaborate trap to capture Santa and steal all his presents. But, as you might imagine, it doesn’t all go Bradley’s way.
Why is this your favourite Christmas book?
I bought it for my son when he was three and now, aged nine, he still says it’s his favourite Christmas book. My daughter loves it too. It’s a very funny story about a very naughty character, which makes a refreshing change from some of the more sentimental children’s Christmas fare. It’s still a suitably festive read, with a warm-hearted conclusion demonstrating what a wonderful fellow Santa Claus is, even when faced with such a nasty little monster as Bradley. One of the things I love most, though, and which first attracted me to the book, are the incredible illustrations by Poly Bernatene. They are sumptuous and stylish and packed with detail. Even after five Christmases of reading this book to my children, I’m still spotting hidden details and ‘jokes’ in the pictures.
Can you describe a favourite illustration or give a favourite quote from the story and tell us why you chose it?
My favourite quote from the book is: “Shivering with cold, Bradley decided to light a fire. It was only when the flames began to lick up the chimney that Bradley remembered the dynamite…”
This is followed by my favourite illustration, a wonderful wintery view of the exterior of the Bartleby’s mansion with Bradley making an unplanned exit from one of the windows. Look out for a hidden elephant and a special visitor on the roof.
Steve is a freelance copywriter and picture book author. He lives in York with wife Sue and children Isaac (9) and Niamh (5). He has been writing for businesses for almost 20 years. His debut picture book Hocus Pocus Diplodocus, illustrated by Kate Daubney, was published in 2014 by Maverick Arts Publishing. His second book with Maverick is currently in development.
Which book is on your Christmas wishlist this year?
For me, it’s: The Shark and the Albatross by John Aitchison.
For my daughter it’s Refuge by Anne Booth and Sam Usher.
For my son it’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney
Story Snug’s 2015 Advent Calendar on Pinterest