Today it is my turn on the Lets Get Festive tour. We have been celebrating Christmassy books in all their guises from advent calendar bitesized tales to Merrytime Mystery and Murder to festive frolics!
For me I was spoilt for choice, and it was a little overwhelming as we have SO many Christmas books some have a dedicated extra box with the decorations. But there are a select few that are kept within easy access year round and as soon as I saw Anne Booth’s Lucy books I knew there was only one choice for this tour.
Anne Booth is one of Littlefae’s favourite authors, her thoughtful and kind Lucy books have become a festive tradition in our house since Littlefae’s first forays into reading. This year Tinyfae has already been enjoying Lucy’s world as last night she fighting to keep awake to see if Starlight is going to be ok for Christmas!!
The Lucy books are heartwarming magical Christmastime tales of a young girl who has a special bond with Santa after taking care of one of Father Christmas’ young reindeer. In subsequent books we see Lucy gifted a Magic Snowglobe by Father Christmas and in each story she will make wishes upon the snowglobe to try to ‘fix’ problems and take care of animals and friends in the festive season.
Each book acts somewhat standalone and whilst they can be read in any order it does help if you have read at least Lucy’s Magic Reindeer first which sets off the entire world of the Lucy stories which each contain just the right balance of friendship, peril/trouble and most importantly kindness and hopeful festive magic to bring a shimmer of wonder to young readers at Christmastime.
Each of Anne’s stories are magical tales of a little animal loving girl’s wishes evoked by an animal centred problem. These act as a metaphor for struggles in Lucy’s own life or community from a friend emigrating to adolescent sibling struggles to elderly loneliness.
Lucy’s Secret Reindeer follows Lucy after she writes a letter to Santa offering her help at this busy time of year. She is sad because her big brother Oscar constantly teases her and is at the age of not believing calling her a baby for her belief- (please note this is a great tale for those who are experiencing this ‘baby’ teasing with peers or siblings but those who are in full belief mode it doesn’t quite come out and say Oscar doesn’t believe but be warned- I edited my read aloud for Tinyfae)
That night it snows and Santa has sent Lucy a secret message, to look after the magical reindeer left in the shed. But it seems that Starlight needs more than just warmth, food and water, and when Oscar discovers her secret, they work together to help the reindeer and are taken on a magical journey reigniting Oscar’s belief because this mission was about the power of love and kindness not just a baby reindeer!
Lucy’s Magic Snowglobe introduces the Snowglobe theme that runs throughout the rest of the series. Set the following Christmas, Lucy’s family hosts Dad’s Australian friends who are relocating to the UK and need somewhere to stay over Christmas in advance of moving into their new house come January.
Lucy is not impressed because she has to sleep on camp beds in the kitchen with young Sita whom she has never met because her room is needed for Gran after an operation & mum and dad are sleeping on the sofabed. The last straw is when her rocking horse is moved to the garage to make room for luggage. She wishes that Christmas would be the same as it has always been.
But then she finds an injured baby rabbit that she must help and it turns out Sita is very shy and homesick but potentially a lovely friend she realises that change isn’t always bad, and sometimes kindness can create magic.
Lucy’s Winter Rescue sees Lucy, Sita and their friend Rosie rescue a very poorly baby otter trapped in plastic by the riverbed. Gran is worried it’s too late so Lucy makes a wish on her Snowglobe.
Lucy is stirred to clean up the river of plastic and encourage people to dispose of rubbish responsibly and recruits children from the village to help her but she doesn’t want the baby otter to go to a sanctuary because it is so cute. However she learns even though it’s hard, sometimes we have to be selfless to do the right thing.
The first three stories are available in a bumper 3 in 1 edition too for ease. The early editions are worth seeking out as the covers are beautifully frosted with glitter.
Lucy’s Magical Surprise takes place at Lucy’s best friend Rosie’s family farm whose mum and step-dad have just taken over after years of neglect since her grandfather went into a home and it’s a bigger, more expensive job than anyone anticipated, even more so when a baby donkey is born too early.
When Lucy makes a wish to save the farm everyone realises it can’t be ‘the same old farm’, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work and the discovery of harvest mice in the neglected fields prompts reframing that could save everything and inspire happiness all round even if that does mean saying goodbye to Sita too.
Lucy’s Search for Little Star sees Lucy’s family meet up for a festive cottage holiday with Sita and her family visiting from Australia when Lucy falls head over heels for the little nameless kitten belonging to the farmer who Lucy thinks is mean and grumpy.
In this story Lucy learns the hard way that sometimes what we think is not always true, and that appearances can be deceptive and that open-mindedness and kindness should be at the centre of all we do.
And the final tale Lucy Makes a Wish is an extra special story for us and sees Lucy back in the heart of her village community in the Farm Cafe at Rosie’s family farm & Donkey Sanctuary, which is running, but still things aren’t quite right, in fact it seems there are many in the village struggling, from shy new boy Alfie & his job hunting parents, lovely but lonely retired Jennifer, busy mums and so many others.
Santa sends Lucy a message that ‘Friendship is the Key’ and she discovers through trying to find a home for a young puppy the serendipity that brings her community together that makes it the best Christmas ever for the whole village.
Anne has a gift for capturing beautifully the perceptions, frustrations, misconceptions feelings of a child, enhanced by the soft calming and earthy illustrations from Sophy Williams and the whole collection are perfect cosy reads for curling up with on a quiet afternoon and soothing just before bed under the glow of twinkling Christmas lights, and isn’t that building precious memories?
Make sure to check out the other Christmassy book recommendations on the Let’s Get Festive Tour!!
The Lucy Series is written by Anne Booth, illustrated by Sophy Williams and published by OUP.