Earlier this year, we received a charming new book in the post.
It was Angel’s Great Escape, the debut children’s story by events manager, writer and extremely creative lady Kirstie Rowson.
This sweet Christmas tale tells the story of a group of Christmas decorations who come to life to escape a miserable festive fate.
Illustrated by Kristyna Litten and independently published by Kirstie’s And So We Begin company, we named it one of our favourite new Christmas stories for 2017.
But what are Kirstie’s favourite Christmas stories? We asked her to share her top five…
The Story of Father Christmas by Ann & Dennis Mallet. Out of print.
“This remains my favourite book of all time and one of my most treasured possessions. Unfortunately it’s now out of print but my copy has pride of place on my bookshelf and its pages are well worn! Every time I pick it up I am reminded of the cosy feeling it gave me as a child. And this feeling very much inspired me when I was writing Angel’s Great Escape.
“As the title suggests, it’s simply the story of Father Christmas and how he prepares throughout the year. We see him training his reindeer, planning his route around the world, having a well-earned rest when he gets home and having a huge party on Boxing Day to celebrate a job well done. The illustrations are so warm and bright, full of humour and sweetness. I wish everyone could read this book.”
Christmas In Exeter Street by Diana Hendry & John Lawrence. £6.99, Walker
“I only read this story for the first time recently but was completely captivated by the illustrations. I love the chaos of all the visitors turning up and trying to fit into the house. It reminds me of my mum somehow managing to prepare a feast for 15 people in a tiny kitchen when I was little.
“The book ends with two glorious double page spreads, one showing a cross-section of the house as everyone tries to sleep and one showing the Christmas dinner table with aunts, uncles, children, parents, grandparents and animals all eating, drinking and being merry. Wonderful!”
Stick Man by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. £6.99, Alison Green Books.
“I don’t think of this as a Christmas book as such but I love the ease of the rhyming tale and the lovely happy ending. The richness and familiarity of Axel Scheffler’s style is comforting and cosy.
“Stick Man’s triumph over adversity and willingness to help Father Christmas even when he has his own problems to deal with (!) is a lovely message.”
The Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy, illustrated by Emily Sutton. £7.99 (mini hardback), Walker.
“Even though this is a fairly recent publication, for me it has a really classic feel. The illustrations are beautiful and so detailed. There’s so much to look at and absorb.
“And the little tree being lucky enough to be rescued also reminds me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas, which I love. Although I do find myself hoping that the boy in the story found a home and flourished too.”
Angel’s Great Escape: A Christmas Story by Kirstie Rowson, illustrated by Kristyna Litten. £6.99 (paperback), And So We Begin.
“It’s a little cheeky but I had to include my book in this list. It’s been such a labour of love for me, an idea that started about ten years ago and finally became a book in 2016. I was so pleased to find Kristyna Litten to illustrate the story, it was like she could see inside my mind.
“The rhyming words came to me almost in a single sitting, like they had already been written. I really hope that my book gives little ones the same feeling of complete warmth and cosiness that The Story of Father Christmas gave me all those years ago.”
Find out more about Kirstie’s work and her new book, An Amazing Alphabet of Cake, at andsowebegin.co.uk