ABOUT THE BOOK
‘A Christmas book about kindness and cheer to make even Scrooge’s heart melt’ Dame Jacqueline Wilson
Funny festive middle grade about the world’s most Christmassy family from the founder of Authorfy, perfect for 8+ readers and fans of Matt Haig, Ben Miller, Sibeal Pounder’s Tinsel, and the Nativity! Films
Wish it could be Christmas every day? Well, for nine-year-old Holly Carroll and her family, it is! Living her merriest life in a house with year-round fairy lights and Christmas trees, a carol-singing toilet and a diva donkey who thinks he’s a reindeer, home-schooled Holly tries to spread cheer wherever she goes.
But when she goes to a new school with a singing Santa backpack and first day Christmas cards (during a heatwave in September!), she realises not everyone shares her enthusiasm for spreading cheer. In fact, when the neighbours try to remove the Carrolls from the street and Holly discovers a group of children that may not get a Christmas at all, her snowglobe world begins to crack. Is the world’s most Christmassy girl about to lose her Christmas spirit?
The Christmas Carrolls is a heartwarming, hilarious and inclusive tale about the power of spreading cheer, the magic of friendship and what really matters at this most wonderful time of the year.
9 year old Holly Carroll and her family are rather unusual. They are obsessed with Christmas and their world is full of fake snow, 10 foot candy canes and everything you could possibly imagine that is Christmas related. They also have their own Christmas Carroll vocabulary – see my comment below about ‘Hollyisms’. The only problem is that other people don’t always share their enthusiasm, something which is made clear to them when they finally move to their dream address of Sleigh Ride Avenue.
The Carrolls believe that every moment should be filled with cheer but when Holly has to attend school for the first time, it’s rather a rude awakening for her and far from spreading Christmas cheer to all as she had hoped, she is laughed at. It’s a summer heatwave and her classmates and teachers are not feeling those Christmas vibes just yet!
I’m many decades past the target age for this book and I don’t have children but when I was offered it for review it just appealed to me, even though I don’t normally review children’s books. In my opinion, this is a perfect story for middle grade readers, (the reading age is said to be for 8-12 years) as it focuses on inclusion and kindness and wanting to be liked and to fit in. There is a lovely part of the story which is just so heartwarming and uplifting where people have the opportunity to come together to improve the circumstances of others less fortunate.
The author has written a Christmas filled tale of warmth, humour and emotion and its a story that adults and children can share together – its not just the ‘human’ characters who will steal your heart. Not being used to school, having been homeschooled, Holly didn’t know how to make friends and blend in, but her tentative friendship with shy and lonely classmate Archer, was touching and at times bought a lump to the throat. I also fell in love with Reginald, the attention seeking donkey! I should also mention that there are many fabulous illustrations throughout the book by Selom Sunu together with a ‘dictionary’ at the back of ‘Hollyisms’ – her version of what she means and what they actually mean.
Definitely recommended for that Christmas cheer! 🎄
My thanks to Rachel of Rachel Quin Marketing for sending a copy to review.
The Christmas Carrolls: written by Mel Taylor-Bessent, illustrated by Selom Sunu
Format: Ebook, Audio, Paperback (14 October 2021)
Reading age: 8-12 years
Source: Copy received for review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder of the hugely successful Authorfy and Little Star Writing, Mel Taylor-Bessent has made her career connecting readers to their favourite authors and encouraging children to write for pleasure. After gaining a Creative Writing degree, Mel launched her first business at the age of 22 and ran creative writing workshops for thousands of children aged 6-12. As a result, she also arranged hundreds of author events and witnessed first-hand the positive impact these interactions had on her students. In 2017, she decided to replicate this via online ‘Author Masterclasses’ on a website she created called Authorfy.com. Since then, Authorfy has gone on to win numerous awards, partner with the likes of World Book Day and BookTrust, and is used in classrooms all over the world. Now Mel is bringing her own writing to readers with The Christmas Carrolls, her debut fiction series.