Thursday, 3 December 2009

Grumpy Badger's Christmas

Last night my son snuggled beneath his duvet in his new pyjamas, clutching his Yoshi toy to wriggle his toes in enjoyment of this book named 'Grumpy Badger's Christmas' written by Paul Bright and Jane Chapman. The book is published by Little Tiger Press.

The blurb on the back cover reads ' Christmas is coming and everyone is so excited - except for Grumpy Badger. "Piffle!" he shouts. "I am going to sleep until the spring and if anyone wakes me I shall be VERY grumpy!" But then Grumpy Badger has three visitors... and there is a great crisis. Will he learn the error of his ways before it's too late?

A charming twist on Dickens' A Christmas Carol that will make children laugh out loud in delight!

So why do we love this book?

Grumpy Badger's Christmas won us over immediately with the front cover. Although they say that you should never judge a book by its cover, in this case it worked for us. The illustrations on the front cover were a good indication of the delights that were contained within the pages.

Before I discuss the story plot, I wanted to mention the fact that I really admire how the illustrations are displayed with just the right amount of text. My son is now seven and so most books that contain pictures target a younger audience, whereas longer stories can cause him to turn off as there is nothing to hold his interest. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and successfully manage to capture the excitement and anticipation that Christmas provides.

Character-wise, I am sure most people will be able to relate to the character of Grumpy Badger. Most people will have a grandparent or aunt or uncle that can become scrooge-like at Christmas. His utter contempt of Christmas and over-the-top miserable behaviour makes it hard not to chuckle. The constant use of the word 'piffle' seemed to make my son laugh a lot as well.

You can feel the anger building as repeatedly Grumpy Badger is disturbed from his cosy bed by the woodland animals in the Christmas spirit. Much the same as in 'A Christmas Carol,' it is ultimately a case of conscience that makes Grumpy Badger have a frightening dream and realise how unacceptable his behaviour has been.

I also think the writers of this book know exactly what appeals to children; as talking about the food in the larder and under the bed had my son listening intently. Regales of puddings, pickles, pastries, packets of hams and cheeses, crispy crackers, jars of fruit and sticky-sweet jams is enough to have anyone salivating. Great descriptive powers used and also the illustration works well with the given description. Parallel to 'A Christmas Carol' Grumpy Badger comforts himself with thoughts of his hoards of food as opposed to Scrooge with his piles of money.

In the end Grumpy Badger realises the important things in life are sharing and friendship and being together at Christmas. A message which would be good for everyone to learn.
It's a heart-warming and cosy ending which children will love.

The book also seemed to have a magical soporific effect as when my son saw Grumpy Badger tucked up beneath the cosy duvet with his fluffy pillow and hot water bottle, he huddled down in his own bed and looked very cosy. Once he heard the happy ending off to sleep he went before telling me that he loved the book.

And if anyone tells you that they don't like the book it will be 'triple piffle with knobs on top'!

Available from

Over the next few days Master Craftiness and myself are going to be taking a look at some of our favourite Christmas books. Check the blog each day for a new Christmas book review.

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