Thursday, December 6, 2012

The empty stocking by Richard Curtis illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

There is a good clue about this story on the back cover.  "A heart-warming but quite scary story".

Sam (Samantha) and Charlie ( Charlotte) are seven year old twins. They are identical unless you really know them well and can see the little scar on Charlie's cheek in the shape of a fork - yes you should think of the devil because these two girls might look alike but they behave in completely opposite ways.  Sam "was always very well behaved" ... "Charlie was, well not to mince words, because this is basically what this story is about - Charlie was quite bad."  It is Christmas and the girls put their stockings at the end of their beds.  The family have enjoyed a cosy evening reading books like The Night Before Christmas and How the Grinch stole Christmas and singing Santa Claus is coming to town which contains the prophetic words "about Santa knowing whether you've been good or bad."

At about 1.15am Santa arrives.  He leaves the reindeer to munch on the garden hedge and heads down the chimney.  He fills one stocking but not the other!   "He never liked doing it.  But sometimes Santa has to get tough."   At four in the morning Charlie wakes up and looks at the end of her bed and she sees a gorgeous full stocking.  Remember these twins do look exactly the same.  Charlie sees the empty stocking at the end of her sister's bed.  Charlie knows Sam will be "really properly, in her heart sad."

This book is a delight and a wonderful discovery for the season.  The end papers are perfect and the illustrations should be lingered over they are filled with important details.  Take time for example to compare the house cross section pictures one from 11pm and the other around 5am. The theme of this book is the theme of Christmas - giving!  By coincidence I bought a book by this illustrator in Cornwall - The Ferry Birds.

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