Book Review, Chapter Book (7-9), Illustrated Fiction

Wintery Stories for Young Readers

Illustrated Fiction for Cold Days

A Night at the Frost Fair by Emma Carroll & Sam Usher

From the very first double-page illustration, it’s clear this story is something special. A Night at the Frost Fair by Emma Carroll & Sam Usher is a beautiful, hard-back illustrated fiction book for readers age 7+ although younger children would definitely enjoy listening to this wintery adventure read aloud.

Maya is a feisty little girl with an explorer’s mind, just like her grandmother. Curious, thoughtful and determined, she doesn’t hesitate to stand up for what she believes in. On the way home from visiting Gran in her new care home, Maya mysteriously travels back to the year 1788. Finding herself in the time of King George, horses & carts and a frozen river Thames, she has the most amazing evening in the snow. Her new friend, Eddie, shows her the incredible Frost Fair and teaches her how important it is from people to have their freedom.

The idea of a frozen Thames covered with tents, fairground rides and hundreds of people is magical.  These Frost Fairs only happened every 20-30 years in the time of the “little ice age” in England when winters were much colder. The last one was held in 1814. It’s lovely to see stories about these special events. Frost by Holly Webb is another recent story describing the wonders of a Frost Fair.

A Night at the Frost Fair is perfect for the Christmas season and would make a fantastic gift.

The Night Train by Matilda Woods & Penny Neville-Lee

Little Tiger Press has a wonderful collection of illustrated chapter books for readers age 5+. The Night Train by Matilda Woods & Penny Neville-Lee is the latest gorgeous hard-back book with beautiful illustrations and a fun, magical story. With a real Polar Express feel, readers are invited to travel on a very special train through a very snowy night.

The express train to Sleepy Town Platform ZZZ is on its way, full of some very special passengers. Each has a date with a child in dreamland but they must get there by midnight. They can’t be late! When a tree blocks the track, they have to work together to solve the problem and get everyone to their dreams in time.

I love how each of the characters defies stereotypes. There’s a yeti who travels with a little girl who is a great explorer, a male ballerina, a princess who doesn’t need rescuing and a female train driver. The final passenger is a monster who desperately wants to help his dreamer stop being scared. Each character loves their child and wants nothing but good things for them as they sleep peacefully.

The Night Train has a feeling of quality and is a really lovely story. The illustrations are warm and inviting. This is a story children will come back to again and again.

Thank you to Little Tiger for this beautiful book!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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