Christmas is a time for woolly hats, scarfs, gloves and hot chocolate. Despite very few of my childhood memories of Christmas including snow, (as it never snowed during the festive season when I was small) Christmas is always synonymous with snow and frost. Certainly my own offspring have experienced more white Christmases then I ever did as a child, and to them Christmas isn’t really Christmas without at least a dusting of the white stuff. So when thinking about what festive picture book that I would recommend, (whilst scraping the frost off my windscreen) inspiration hit, and my choice is ‘The Tale of Jack Frost’ by David Melling.
The Tale of Jack Frost is a gem of a book, a feast for the imagination with exquisite illustrations in a pallet of icy blues and purples, set in a mystical forest which is a haven for magical animals. The tale is of a boy, Jack, who somehow wanders into the shielded magical forest, and instantly finds a place with the hearts of all the magical inhabitants who embrace him as kin and teach him in the arts of magic. Jack is a natural showing a particular skill for creating ice and snow. But as much as Jack is loved by all the creatures of the woodland, his presence is also a concern as they know if the boy managed to enter their safe magical realm then so can the greedy Goblins.
The goblins, a greedy bunch, who smell of boiled cabbage and like to make rude noises just for fun, kidnap Jack and demand that he give them magic, Jack uses his wit to outsmart the goblin rabble; promising to tell them that the source of the magical power can be plucked from a lake where the sun resides at night. The goblins fall for Jack’s plan and find themselves very wet and still magic free before they realise they’ve been duped and that the path to the magical woodland has been closed.
With no memory of his life before entering the magical woodland, Jack becomes a celebrated permanent resident of the enchanted forest, except that is when he grows wings and uses them to visit the outside world and cover the countryside with frosty icy puddles, to protect everyone from the smell of boiled cabbage.
As with every David Melling book, the tale is quirky and humorous and in a world populated with curious and endearing creatures which are all beautifully realised in vivid watercolour illustrations. The Tale of Jack Frost has everything you could wish for in a Christmassy Picture Book, magic, family (albeit one populated by mythical and curious creatures), and plenty of the white stuff. What’s more it isn’t just me who thinks so, as long before animated adaptions of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s books were Christmas day treats, The Tale of Jack Frost had a CGI makeover and hit the screens of televisions in Christmas 2004.
Author / Illustrator: David Melling
Sally Poyton is a mother of two lively small people as well as an artist with work on display in public collections around the country. Sally is an aspiring author, she has been Honorary Mentioned in the 2012 Undiscovered Voices anthology and has been long-listed for the Times Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition twice in 2013 and 2014! Sally works at the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. Sally is an author over at Children’s Literature Blog; Space on the Bookshelf
Which book is on your Christmas wishlist this year?
Oh, my wish list is always long, but as I suspect putting an agent or editor in my stocking isn’t very likely, then well… I’d really love Robin’s Winter Song by Suzanne Barton, The Crowham Martyrs by Jane McLoughlin and Grief is a Thing with Feathers by Max Porter.
Story Snug’s 2015 Advent Calendar on Pinterest