Today we indulge in a rather gorgeous picture book by Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew – Gaspard’s Christmas.
Gaspard’s Christmas has the look and feel of a classic festive story – yet it was only published this year! Perhaps it is the marvelous combination of sweet central characters, timeless themes and beautiful illustrations that makes this feel like a traditional part of my festive bookish repertoire already.
Gaspard the fox is on his nightly roam around London when he discovers an old man asleep in a bus stop. He is freezing, homeless and not very well. Gaspard rallies his animal pals and together they get their new friend – Nikolas – to the safety and warmth of a local centre for homeless people where he is cared for. A hot shower and a hot meal restores him and access to the internet means he can contact his family. Thanks to Gaspard, he won’t spend Christmas alone.
Whilst this is a playful read, it still packs a punch. Access to hot water, hot food, the internet, spending time with my nearest and dearest at special times of year – these are all things I take for granted and yet for so many they are a rarity, or not accessible at all. Given current circumstances, and the suffering and sadness experienced by so many at the moment, this feels even more stark. However the kindness of Gaspard and his friends shows the common thread that runs through us all in the tough times and the good: kindness.
Imogen and the festival team x