The Battle for Christmas by Jeremy Strong

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The Battle for Christmas by Jeremy Strong

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The cosmic pyjamas whisk Ellie and Max off to the Christmas Toy Shop where the Scary Christmas Fairy accuses them of being mince spies. It a laugh a minute and a rollicking good story. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: September 2008
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 978-0141324630

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Ellie always thought that it was unfair that her birthday was the day before Christmas because it wasn't unusual for people to economise on presents, but there, on Christmas Eve was a parcel from Great Aunt Jemima. Inside was a pair of cosmic pyjamas and a warning that she mustn't wear the top and the bottom at the same time, but there was no indication of what might happen if Ellie took the risk.

Well, you know what Ellie's going to do, don't you? Yes – she put the top and the bottom on together and she and her little brother, Max, are whisked off to the Christmas shop. It's somewhat unnerving when they realise that they've been shrunk to the size of the toys which hang on the Christmas tree and really quite frightening when they find themselves involved in a war raging between the toys and the very scary Christmas Fairy, whose temper hasn't been improved by being stuck on top of a whole series of Christmas trees.

As an early reader this is superb. It's a good story with lots of action and twists and turns and there are times when it is so funny that you will laugh until the tears fall. The vocabulary is challenging – Jeremy Strong is not one to patronise his readers and he expects them to put some effort into reading the story but there are plenty of pictures to give some hints as to what is going on. It's not a book for the reluctant reader – much as they might enjoy the subject matter – as the vocabulary would be rather too demanding.

It's a great introduction to the fact that words can be fun. The Christmas Fairy doesn't trust the children and is convinced that they're mince spies. The book is positively littered with puns like that. Jeremy Strong has the knack of showing children that reading isn't just something that you have to do at school – it's something that you do because it's fun and enjoyable.

It's going to lose a lot of its appeal after Christmas and is unlikely to still be in favour a year later but it's the type of book which will be read obsessively between now and Christmas and for this reason Bookbag gives it a buy recommendation.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then we think that you might also enjoy Puddle Goblins by David Melling.

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Buy The Battle for Christmas by Jeremy Strong at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Battle for Christmas by Jeremy Strong at


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