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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zoe's Christmas List, written and illustrated by Chloe and Mick Inkpen. Macmillan Children's Books, Harper. 2011. $19.99 aged 3 and up

"The North Pole was further than it looked. By the time they arrived the wind was sending snowflakes spinning round their ears. It was very tricky sticking something with sticky tape in the middle of a snowstorm wearing mittens. And did you know that when sticky tape gets wet it loses all its stick..."

You may have met Chloe in previous books: Where is Binky Boo?, The Magic Hoop!, and Pants on the Moon. If you have, you know her to be a very feisty and determined child who knows just what she wants in every situation. Do you think it might be different at Christmas? If you do, you don't really know Chloe!

Her Christmas list is very short...Kylie Kurlz. That's it, that's all she wants. She doesn't want any surprises from Father Christmas this year. So, she makes a list of one wish. Then, not sure that regular mail will get it to the right mailbox, she and Beans are off to do it themselves. The trip requirements are:

"Choccy Bears (for Beans)
Some juice
2 ham sandwiches
2 jam sandwiches
A scarf
Some sticky tape...
...and her Christmas list..."

They use numerous means of transport. None make the full trip to their destination. Lucky that Beans is her companion, the final leg is his responsibility. They rescue a lost polar bear cub and once they make landfall, they have a glorious time on the slippery, slidey ice. But, they must plod on.

The sticky tape is not strong enough to hold her note to the North Pole with snow falling and the wind blowing. Defeated, they begin the return trek, only to be hampered by a blizzard, crackling ice and fatigue. The morning brings a new problem, and Zoe learns the true meaning of Christmas love and friendship.

Children will be charmed by this story of friends on an adventure. The illustrations add to the appeal of a story well told. The characters are cute and lively, the setting is magical and the pull out page will them gaping with delight.

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