Christmas 1993 or Santa's Last Ride - Story Snug

Dec 13th: John Shelley chooses Christmas 1993 or Santa’s Last Ride

The Story: Actually published in 1987, Christmas 1993 or Santa’s Last Ride is a picture book in rhyming verse describing how Santa is overwhelmed by the stress of the job and the modern world.

Why is Christmas 1993 or Santa’s Last Ride your favourite Christmas book?

I have to admit, the rhyming text by screen & stage writer Bricusse is long and by today’s standards heavy-going, the thing that makes this my favourite Christmas book are the illustrations by Errol le Cain. I’ve been an enormous fan of his artwork since first discovering his animated backdrops for BBC2’s Snow Queen as a teenager, and collected all his books. I moved to Japan in 1987 and bought this in Tokyo when it came out, so it has multiple memories for me. A wonderful, greatly missed illustrator who sadly passed away not long after this book was published.

Can you describe a favourite illustration or give a favourite quote from the story and tell us why you chose it.

I love all the illustrations, but perhaps one of my favourites is the one of Santa’s sleigh being hijacked.

Christmas 1993 - Story Snug

Author: Leslie Bricusse / Illustrator: Errol Le Cain 

About John

John Shelley debuted as a book illustrator in London before living in Japan for over 20 years, receiving awards for commercial illustration in Tokyo as well as working on children’s books for Western and Japanese markets. He returned to the UK in 2008 and is now based in Norwich. Recently illustrated titles are Will’s Words: How William Shakespeare Changed the Way You Talk (Charlesbridge, USA) and Magic For Sale (Holiday House, USA).

A former board member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), John is also a member of the Society of Authors and East Anglian Writers. He’s one of the UK nominations for the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

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John’s Books

Which book is on your Christmas wishlist this year?

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read anything by Phillip Pullman, so am tempted to cross that threshold. Not sure which book to start on though!

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