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Classics Calculator: Christmas Edition

January 16th 2022

I think it is in little doubt that the best Christmas books are kids books and I can think of none more quintessentially Christmas than Raymond Briggs. The Snowman is one of our most beloved characters and the imagined exploits of the somewhat cantankerous Father Christmas have given us a whole new world of imagining Santa in the Sun. One of my favourite things about Briggs’ Father Christmas is how British he is. From his pasty pale skin in the pool when he goes on holiday, to his freezing cold rooftop picnic (classic family holiday memories) to his classic ‘bloomin’ catchphrase, anyone who grew up with a British family will recognise this character.

Although Raymond created books that kids adore, his philosophy was very clearly that children’s paperbacks should be as much of a joy to the person reading them, as they are to the child being read to.

A philosophy my dad very much subscribed to: his technique if we chose a book he didn’t like was to simply choose his favourite book and start reading that, deaf to requests for ‘lower quality’ books. I was somewhat outraged by this as a child, but when my little brother was born and developed an obsession with The Octonauts (a TV show featuring a variety of sea inhabiting do-good animals, led by the courageous Captain Barnacles the polar bear, which was subsequently transformed into some truly terrible picture paperbacks) I really understood my dad’s earlier choices. I adopted a different technique to him -that of reasonable persuasion- but as you might imagine this had absolutely no impact whatsoever and Captain Barnacles always won out.

With several years of reflection I think the only solution is to choose books purely based on your preferences. So if you are looking for something as gorgeous as Raymond Briggs classic books to read, then as a gift to your ‘kids’ (you), this Christmas these are some of the beautifully illustrated paperback books perfect for you them.

Miracle on Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle

Robin and the Reindeer carmen Saldana and Rosa Bailey

The Snow Queen

A Night At the Frost Fair

Or if you can’t pick then you can go for this month’s ‘mystery pick’ and I promise you will receive nothing even remotely Captain Barnacle’s themed...

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