We Wish You a Merry Christmas and Other Festive Poems – Chosen and Illustrated by Chris Riddell

Published By: Macmillan Children
Pages: 128
Released On: 13/10/2022

A stunning, highly illustrated poetry collection containing a festive flurry of classic and modern Christmas poems chosen and illustrated by Chris Riddell. 

This is the perfect Christmas selection for poetry lovers of all ages. Includes much loved traditional verse: The Night Before Christmas, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Deck the Halls, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and We Three Kings and poems by: Neil Gaiman, William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Hollie McNish, Sue Hardy Dawson, Roger Stevens, Benjamin Zephaniah, Clare Bevan, Sara Teasdale, A.F. Harrold, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Sylvia Plath, Ogden Nash, Robert Burns and Jackie Kay.

*****

It’s not a secret how much Christmas means to me. I’m not one for Halloween or New Years of East, and I’m not really a big one for Birthdays. For me, it’s Christmas. Always has been. I shop for gifts all year round, listen to festive music and watch festive movies in the summer. Even when I lost my dad 10 days before Christmas in 2017, the festivities still managed to buoy me up even if it was a bit harder to find the joy.

I will read Christmas books all year round and this may have instantly become a yearly favourite. It will sit on my shelf and twinkle at me even on the hottest days.

I was surprised by some of the poems in the book as we know them more as songs or carols – Jingle Bells or The Holly and the Ivy for example – it was nice to see their origins. If I had to nitpick, I’d say I would have liked a bit of commentary around the poems, when they were written, original meanings etc, because apart from saying who wrote them, it doesn’t give you any more information. Now, it doesn’t promise any commentary and so I wasn’t annoyed it was left out at all, I just think it would have added an extra dimension to an already wonderful book.

Chris Riddell has created some gorgeous, very simple but standout illustrations for each poem, and I’m tempted to get some of them tattooed. They look so lovely and added just a little extra magic to the poems. I especially liked the illustrations for The Twelve Days of Christmas, they were sublime.

I found myself reading them out loud and even singing at one point. I read this whole book on the morning of an important hospital appointment and it did wonders for my nerves and my pain. I feel it might have to come with me on every such an outing.

It’s lovely light reading. Either dip in and out, read one poem or ten, or read your way through the whole thing. However you choose to read it, it will bring magic into your day.

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