Santa Claude by Alex T Smith

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Santa Claude by Alex T Smith

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Delightfully silly - lovely for a cosy hot chocolate read on a chilly winter afternoon.
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 96 Date: October 2016
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781444926491

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Ah Claude! He is such an endearing little dog. He's back on an adventure with Sir Bobblysock and this time it is a Christmas adventure. There are baubles and trees and carols and reindeer and, of course, there's trouble! For who else but Claude would accidentally handcuff Santa to an armchair on Christmas Eve, and then need to deliver all the presents himself?

I've been a fan of Claude from his very first book, and this new installment is all set to be one of my favourites. It's a very action-packed story, with lots going on as ever, and all of my favourite elements of a Claude story are there. Claude himself is brilliant. We see him hunting around in his beret, which is rather like Mary Poppins' bag, this time pulling out an enormous book. He borrows Santa's trousers (they are a little bit big!). He causes havoc and mayhem, whilst also still managing to save the day! He's such a cheeky, happy little dog, throwing himself into everything he does with great passion and energy! I do like Claude!

We also get to see plenty of Sir Bobblysock. Sir Bobblysock, for those not in the know, is Claude's best friend. He is a sock, and he's a little bit bobbly, as his name would suggest. I thoroughly enjoyed all the little asides about Sir Bobblysock in this story. Sir Bobblysock tends to be a little bit fragile at times, and I just chuckle over the things he does. It's all completely ridiculous, such as Sir Bobblysock sticking hairpins in his rollers to keep them in place! He's the sort of sock who has a tropical moment when he discovers that he and Claude have accidentally locked up Santa Claus! He's also the sort of sock who has a headscarf (to keep his curlers in place, naturally) as well as a knee blanket to keep him warm whilst riding in the sleigh. He's such a silly sock!

There are also plenty of funny names and silly situations, such as Claude's friend PC Anne Cuffs (say it aloud…) or Claude sticking stamps all over himself at the post office in an attempt to get to visit Santa at the North Pole by posting himself! The artwork in the Claude books is always done using blacks and whites and reds, and the layout varies from traditional text above the illustrations to a more comic book style, making it interesting and engaging to read. Some pages have more text than others, but it is one of those nicely accessible books for those who are getting better in their reading and want something a bit more challenging than the traditional 32 page picture book, but aren't yet ready for chapters.

I really loved the artwork in this book, and not just the usual funny pictures of Claude and Sir Bobblysock, although they are as perfect as always. There were several pages that felt really well thought-out, such as one image where Claude is wearing a headlamp (which he uses to read books in bed!) and he and Sir Bobblysock are walking through the dark to investigate some bangs and crashes downstairs. The page is black, except for the white beam of light coming from Claude's headlamp, which lights up Sir Bobblysock, and part of the text on the page, which is a great effect. There's another page I really love which shows Claude and Sir Bobblysock up on the rooftop next to Santa's sleigh. It's drawn as a silhouette, so we just see the outlines of the characters, and Santa's reindeer standing in front of a sleigh with the most enormous bag of presents sitting on it. The city skyline can be seen behind, and with a dusky red used for the sky, the light seems very beautiful, as well as all that it's snowing pretty snowflakes. It's a really beautiful image, and I think it is my favourite in the book.

With lots of action, this is an exciting read, and funny throughout both for children and adults. The Claude books are nicely versatile, as they're great to read aloud, but also fun to sneak off with and just read alone, or even just look at the pictures if you want to. Perfect for snowy evenings, cosy bedtimes and, of course, Christmas Eve!

Further reading suggestion: You might also enjoy reading Ottoline and the Yellow Cat by Chris Riddell or Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan

Buy Santa Claude by Alex T Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Santa Claude by Alex T Smith at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Santa Claude by Alex T Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Santa Claude by Alex T Smith at Amazon.com.


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