One Christmas Wish

posted in: Emily Sutton, Katherine Rundell | 40

With all the classic Christmassy magic of that archetypal seasonal story The Nutcracker, One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Emily Sutton is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the season of good will, hope and dreams-come-true.

It’s Christmas Eve and Theo is being babysat whilst his parents work hard late into the night. Determined to bring a bit of the Christmas spirit into his cold and rather empty home, Theo sets about putting up Christmas decorations, even if they are all rather old and battered.

Looking out at the night sky Theo sees a shooting star and can’t resist wishing upon it. This is the start of a evening of havoc and happiness involving decorations which come to life, much kindness and a little bit of out of tune singing. Will the magic of newly found friends last till morning?

Marrying tradition and nostalgia with nods to a modern childhood (farts and i-phones amongst other details), Rundell’s story finely balances the old world magic that is often yearned for at this time of year with a freshness that makes the story still seem just about believable and true to life.

Sutton’s illustrations are full of soft and detailed ink and watercolour work rich in patterning, reminding me of embroidery samplers. Whether its crisp wintry scenes outside in blues and greys or joyous, warm interiors full of reds and yellows Sutton’s use of colour to create atmosphere is hugely effective.

A story full of warmth, humour, and a satisfyingly joyous ending, decked out in all the Christmas loveliness one could want, One Christmas Wish is a charmer.

Illustration by Emily Sutton for One Christmas Wish, written by Katherine Rundell
Illustration by Emily Sutton for One Christmas Wish, written by Katherine Rundell
Illustration by Emily Sutton for One Christmas Wish, written by Katherine Rundell

Wanting to bring together Christmas, books and tree decorations in order to celebrate One Christmas Wish I made a new set of my chocolate books, this time adapting them to hang on a tree.

Lots of people asked me if I could try to find chocolates which didn’t come in a pack with nuts in when I made my last library, so instead of using shop bought chocolates, I ordered chocolates from a wedding favours company. (Unfortunately the company took a long time to deliver my order and then used poor courier to get them to me, so if I were to do this again, I personally would still stick with the shop bought chocolates, but in case you can find a more reliable source of chocolates in foil, you can download the book covers here. They fit chocolates which are 35x35x5 mm and 35x50x5mm.)

Please have fun with these chocolates, but don’t use my file to make products to sell. These book covers look so good because of the work of brilliant illustrators and designers, and so please don’t abuse their work.

Whilst making our Christmas tree chocolates we listened to the soundtrack to It’s a Wonderful Life. Other activities which could go well with reading One Christmas Wish include….

WINNING a copy of this lovely book!

Yes; I have one copy to giveaway! Simply leave a comment on this post to be in with a chance of winning. The giveaway is open worldwide and will remain open for one week, ie until 5pm UK time 7th December. I will then contact the winner by email. They will have 3 days to confirm their postal address to me, and I’ll put the book in the post. I can’t guarantee it will arrive in time for christmas, but I will do my best.

Earn an extra entry to this giveaway by tweeting something like

Win a copy of One Christmas Wish by Kathinerine Rundell & Emily Sutton on @playbythebook’s blog ‎ Open worldwide until 5pm (UK time) December 7

Don’t forget to leave a link to your tweet as a separate comment in order for it to count as a second entry.

My thanks to Bloomsbury, the publishers of One Christmas Wish, for both a free review copy, and for an additional copy to use in this giveaway.

The giveaway is now closed. It was won by Andrea.

40 Responses

  1. Maria-Cristina

    Lovely bookcovers, Zoe, and most generous gift on your part.
    Best wishes,

  2. Suzy Leopold

    Such a beautiful tree filled with two of my favorite things–books and chocolates.

    Thank you for sharing these lovely creations.

  3. Caroline

    I am so looking forward to Bea being old enough to try out all your fab ideas 🙂

  4. Rachel

    Do you know the new version of The Nutcracker, The Waltz of the Snowflakes by Elly MacKay? It’s kind of a graphic version of a child going to see the ballet. I love it.

  5. Damyanti

    Sounds a lovely christmas read & am a huge fan of those illustrations. Your tree is looking fabulous too.

  6. Katherine

    Beautiful tree! I bought myself a copy of the book the other day with my birthday money (so this is just a general comment not an entry to the competition), it’s stunning. I love Emily Sutton’s work.
    Katherine recently posted..Happy World Book Day!

  7. Laura

    Will be rushing out to buy the chocolates tomorrow and make these choc-book decorations for our advent calendar. Thank you for the brilliant idea!

  8. Sophie

    Lovely book. Lovely tree. Lovely choccie books on the tree. What’s not to love?!

  9. Nia Talbot

    Beautiful. Definitely need to get some book chocolate and a copy of the book. Lent my copy of The Explorer to another teacher and my copy of Wolf Wilder to one of my year 6s. I wonder who will steal this off me!

  10. Kathi

    What a lovely edition to both classic and modern Christmas tales! I’m starting my daughter-in-love’s collection of timely Christmas books for when she starts having her babies!

  11. Louise

    Gorgeousness! Love the look of the book and the tree. I’ll be having a go at those decs for my class tree. Love it!

  12. Jane

    You have such a gift, Zoe, for creativity, imagination and childlike wonder. Thank you for this idea. I’m wondering if I can adapt it for an Advent tree so that children coming to the library @uptommeadows get the message of Christmas in more ways than one. Most will get excited by the chocolate, no doubt, but if one or two get a little more excited about books, that would be my reward. I’m going to a Christmas market tonight, so might be able to source some fairtrade chocolates similar to those in the calendar, which I’d previously dismissed, thinking the calendar could only be bought in bulk. I now find they are out of stock anyway.

  13. Stella

    They are beautiful Zoe – Many thanks for your idea and for including the chocolate dimensions – if I find some of a suitable size & nut-free I will post again. Wishing you a fabulous festive season. Seasons readings xx

  14. Sarah

    Always love your Christmas posts, especially. Also love anything Katherine Rundell so a great combination! Xx

  15. Jules

    Book covers perfect for school library, and I like Jane’s idea for an advent tree.

  16. Ros Rush

    Looks like a most wonder-filled book. How soul replenishing it is to know that no matter where you are in the world it only takes a story to bring that Christmas joy out (or back) in us all.

  17. Anne Gibson

    Thanks again Zoe. We have had our own 500 words competition this Christmas, and Runners Up will be receiving a box of booky chocolates.

  18. Jo

    Absolutely gorgeous! I have coveted this book since I saw it and is the one book I’ve actually put in my Christmas list.

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