The Christmas Carrot by Allan Plenderleith

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The Christmas Carrot by Allan Plenderleith

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Christmas is not a happy time for carrots! But a desire to escape his fate leads to an awesome adventure in this exciting story that gallops along.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Ravette Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 978-1841613758

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It’s Christmas time, and there’s every reason to be afraid, at least if you’re a carrot. While everyone else is getting excited about the season, the Christmas carrot is dreading it. He’s about to go under the knife and emerge as a side dish on the family dinner table tomorrow. Gulp! Luckily Billy has other ideas, and seizes him from the kitchen where his dad (a nice touch…it’s not just mums who cook) had been about to prepare him. Outside they go, heading for Billy’s snowman who is missing one small feature… a nose! It’s a last minute save from the chopping board, but the Christmas carrot is still not happy with this career change, because it’s, y’know, rather cold out here. And so his adventure continues.

You’d be surprised how many things there are to do with a carrot in winter. Everyone wants a piece of the poor little thing, but far from feeling popular, he feels rather under attack as he bounces from one place to another, trying to find somewhere safe to rest, away from knife wielding dads, and nose-less snowmen and, later, various hungry animals. With each misadventure a new pursuer joins the chase, until you have a Pied Piper style situation with a whole raft of followers hot on the carrot’s tail. Can he escape his fate and live to see Christmas?

This is an exciting, rather cheeky little book that will have them in fits of laughter. The carrot is clearly a determined little critter, and ingenious and creative too in his attempts at escape, and you really feel yourself rooting for him. The repetition that comes with each new addition to the chase adds a rhythm to the story and helps it gallop along. There’s a bit of danger to be had but none of it transferable to children so it creates excitement in the story but no nightmares, unless you have particularly spookable little ones who are scared of being eaten by rabbits, or chopped up and plated up next to sprouts.

The illustrations are brilliant: bright, sassy, quite cartoonish. The sentences are short, and there is that aforementioned repetition, making it an ideal book for children starting to read by themselves. The story has lots of familiar elements to relate to: eating Christmas dinner, making a snowman, a visit from Father Christmas. But, you don’t know what’s going to happen next, there’s lots of edge-of-your-seat action as you cross your fingers the carrot makes it through his latest challenge, and the ending is entirely unexpected. It might make your children stop eating carrots, but in exchange for them reading books, I think that’s a fair trade. And there’s nothing in the story to put them off meat or potatoes or spouts or gravy, so they can still go ahead and enjoy that Christmas dinner.

Highly recommended.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

Another Christmassy book in the same vein is The Silly Satsuma by Allan Plenderleith. They're much more fun and entertaining than the standard Santa stories of my youth.

Buy The Christmas Carrot by Allan Plenderleith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Christmas Carrot by Allan Plenderleith at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Christmas Carrot by Allan Plenderleith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Christmas Carrot by Allan Plenderleith at Amazon.com.


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