With Christmas less than a month away (eek!), I’m busy writing a newspaper piece about great festive reads for children.
One of my favourites so far is Richard Curtis’s The Empty Stocking. The prodigiously talented Curtis – director and screenwriter extraordinaire – has written an enchanting tale for children, with sweet illustrations by Rebecca Cobb.
It’s the story of seven-year-old twin sisters Sam and Charlie, who look the same but couldn’t be more different.
Sam is angelic, while Charlie is quite naughty. Or as Curtis puts it: “Not interested in being obedient. Quite often very grumpy. Not very fond of telling the complete truth. But very fond of eating sweets, making a filthy racket and having too much fun.” (Actually, come to think of it, Charlie sounds the life and soul of the party).
The little girls can’t wait for Christmas and excitedly hang their stockings at the end of their beds on Christmas Eve. But the big question is - will Santa fill both their stockings with presents this year? Or is it time he got tough?
This is a lovely picture book for small children – and as well as being an exuberant and heart-warming tale, it’s got an important message too.
The Empty Stocking by Richard Curtis (Puffin, £6.99)