Did you know that Tom Fletcher from this year’s Strictly Come Dancing is a dad to three boys who inspired him to write the Christmasaurus series? These enchanting books bring together the magic of Christmas, the eternal mystery around dinosaurs and the heartwarming story of wheelchair-user, William Trundle, in page-turning novels.
I first heard about the McFly boyband member when my then six-year-old son picked up a new book titled The Creakers in a bookshop. After the obligatory Roald Dahls and Enid Blytons, it was one of the first chapter books we read together. The hour before bed was our special time, when his younger sister was sleeping and daddy was not yet home from work. We’d play games and read one or two chapters out of his go-to books before he slept. But when we stumbled on The Creakers, we couldn’t put it down and read the entire book in three evenings!
Enter The Christmasaurus!
When I came across The Christmasaurus that same week, I couldn’t resist buying it. By this time, I took a bit longer to settle his sister, so my son picked the book up and started reading. We were both very proud that he could read the book alone, becoming so absorbed in the story that he couldn’t put it down. Tom Fletcher had worked his magic on him.
This wonderful book will get everyone who reads it into the spirit of Christmas. It starts with a truly magical event: the preservation of a baby dinosaur that gets buried during the Ice Age after all other dinosaurs are extinct. Millions of years later, Santa’s elves dig it up at the North Pole farm. The reader is then introduced to William Trundle, who lives with his Christmas-addicted dad in a small wonky house. Mr Trundle is the first in the country to put his seasonal decorations up and the last to take them down.
Tom Fletcher beautifully interweaves the wonder of Christmas with the trials of a boy struggling with a disability, the earlier death of his mum and the fickleness of childhood friendship. But, in true seasonal tradition, the story culminates in festive cheer once Santa and The Christmasaurus enter the scene.
Tom Fletcher to the rescue in lockdown
Covid-19 reached us in November, and we spent most of the month in isolation. As always, reading to my daughter was an easy way to spend quality time together. We’d snuggle up on the sofa or in bed and go on a Tom Fletcher adventure. I knew she would benefit from the vocabulary, varied typefaces and illustrations Tom uses to express voices and emotions. She was reading the bigger words and stretching her imagination in no time.
I have bought most of Tom Fletcher’s books in the last few years, and he is the first celebrity I followed on social media. Tom entered the entertainment world early in life, playing key roles in the West End and meeting his wife, Giovanna, an author and a CBBC presenter, at theatre school.
As a family, we keep track of Tom’s upcoming books and try to get signed copies. His characters have inspired several of our World Book Day events. When we got to the prequel of the Christmasaurus, The Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch, my son joined us for some of the chapters. On one occasion, I caught them discussing the book and my daughter trying to get my son to reveal what would happen next!
Christmas came early in our house
How excited we were when Christmas arrived a little early during isolation, with the third book in the series, The Christmasaurus and the Naughty List. Ordered in the summer, we received a signed copy with a special notification about the Christmasaurus Theatre Production. We have been reading the book every day since we got it, in the evening just before bed. Delightful little references to Fletcher’s other books and character appearances from Creakers and one of his others books, DangerGang, makes this book truly special.
Tom didn’t make it to the finals on Strictly, but he is number one for creating Christmas magic for our family. I am even considering buying his new picture book version of the Christmasaurus. Even though it is aimed at younger children, I know it will be loved and treasured here.
All I want for Christmas…
In the Christmasaurus and the Winter Witch, Santa gives William and his new stepsister a wish from a magical tree. If I could plant such a tree and grow wishes on it, let one of them be access to books for all children in UK schools and elsewhere.
Research shows that having physical books, seeing parents enjoy reading books, and reading books together, encourages a child to pick up books and explore them.
We are fortunate that our children’s school has a well-stocked library. Some classes bring home new reading books every few days and read new library books together every week. Older children can access great online platforms to read unlimited books for their age groups. And, if online reading is not a possibility for some, the school has printed copies.
Reading gives children independence of thought in class, at home and online. It helps develop written and verbal communication skills and nurtures imagination and creativity. Books also provide a crucial path to learning about and understanding academic subjects.
Thank you for visiting our blog. Our vision here at Books2All is a world where every child finds the books that help them reach their true potential. If you have spare books in good condition at home that you think might be appropriate for school children or represent a school and would like to register to receive donated books, please download the Books2All app from the App Store or Google Play.