Title: The Christmasaurus
Author: Tom Fletcher
Illustrator: Shane Devries
Genre: Christmas, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Puffin Books (6th October 2016)
Forget everything you thought you knew about the North Pole, pop a crumpet in the taoster and get ready to meet:
a boy called William Trundle;
his dad, Mr Bob Trundle;
Santa Claus (yes! The real Santa Claus!);
an elf named Snozzletrump;
Brenda Payne, the meanest girl in school (possibly the world);
a nasty piece of work called the Hunter;
and a most unusual dinosaur . . .
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
THE CHRISTMASAURUS by Tom Fletcher and illustrated by Shane Devries tells the story of a boy who loves dinosaurs and whose father loves Christmas. William Trundle is close to his father and has lots of friends at school that is until Brenda Payne starts at his school; everything changes. Then all William has left is his father and his love of dinosaurs. William is very lonely. Brenda seems to be able to find him anywhere, and after a while he begins to wonder if there isn’t some truth to her words. So he sends a rather tricky letter to Santa.
I picked this book up last Christmas, but didn’t get around to reading it in time. So, rather than reading it in January or February I decided to save it up until Christmas was closer. I’m glad I did. THE CHRISTMASAURUS is very definitely a Christmas book, and I thoroughly recommend reading it at this time of year. Fletcher has really managed to capture the magic of Christmas, and Devries’s illustrations really help to bring the story alive. However, I will say that I think that it hits very squarely the 9-12/middle grade reading group in tone. Whilst I enjoyed the book, I definitely felt it was a bit young for me.
Fletcher’s narrative voice is charming, and as you read THE CHRISTMASAURUS you definitely feel like you’re being included in a magical secret story. It was nice that the story also included songs. I did find the narrative a bit choppy as it jumped around between the past and the present, and between William and other characters. Whilst this does allow us as readers to gain a better understanding of what’s going on, I found it a bit jolting at times. That being said, I thought the story itself was lovely and Fletcher’s characters were interesting. I really enjoyed getting to know William and seeing his world.
As I said earlier, Devries illustrations really add an extra dimension to Fletcher’s story. The cover of the book is absolutely gorgeously done and I really love the shades of blue. It’s the only bit of colour, all the illustrations inside are done in black and white – and are all the more beautiful for it in my opinion. The book itself is really beautifully put together, and I enjoyed the way not only Devries illustrations were used in the text but how the typography was used to add another dimension to the story. If you’re looking for a new Christmas story, then this is one definitely worth checking out.