Emily Brown and Father Christmas by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton
Hodder Children's, 2019. ISBN: 9781444942002. 32pp., pbk.
It's Christmas Eve and Emily Brown and Stanley have hung up their Christmas stockings and are snuggled up in bed reading when they hear "Ho Ho Help" coming from outside their window. It is Father Christmas and despite having the latest climbing equipment, he is swinging precariously from a rope and needs rescuing. Emily suggests that dropping down the chimney might be better because "Sometimes the old ways are the best ways." But Father Christmas is determined to embrace the new ways even though it gets him into strife all night. Will the children around the world get their gifts on Christmas morning or will they all be disappointed?
This is a very funny story that will appeal to both the reader and listener alike. With its refrain of "Sometimes the old ways are the best ways" it marries the magical side of Christmas deliveries that we are familiar with, with the idiosyncrasies that we have all experienced with modern technology. This is a Christmas story that has some substance to it with a determined, credible main character who will resonate with many and a storyline that will linger, particularly when our technology next plays up and we are wishing for some traditional Father Christmas magic.