Tinsel: The girls who invented Christmas by Sibeal Pounder

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Bloomsbury, 2020. ISBN: 9781526619273.
(Age: 8+) Highly Recommended. Tinsel: The Girls who Invented Christmas is a cleverly written book by Sibeal Pounder, author of the popular Witch Wars and Bad Mermaids series. What if history had it all wrong and Christmas and the Santa story was really begun by two young girls? This very exciting and humorous story brings in traditions of Christmas that readers of all ages will relate to. Blanche Claus lives under a bridge in London of long ago when poor orphaned children struggled to survive. She has no inclination or resources to embrace the festive season and would prefer to sleep through it. However on one special evening she is given a magical red bauble by an old woman. In the bauble she sees a surprising image and this begins her journey. She finds an abandoned horse she names Rudy and promises to care for her forever. While riding Rudy she meets Rinki, another orphaned child, and they share a mince-pie picnic. They lose touch but eventually find each other again and the mince-pie picnics become significant to the storyline. Blanche, disguised as a boy, becomes one of the best carters in the docks. She meets Captain Garland who entrusts her with a precious box which she delivers to his home not realizing Rinki is now living there with her two dads. Given their earlier impoverished circumstances Rinki and Blanche make a promise to try to provide a present for every child on Christmas Day. The evil neighbour Mr Krumpus and the three jealous carters play important roles in trying to thwart everything the two girls' attempt.
Throw in elves named Carol, a larger than life fir tree, a young cook called Santa, a new home in the North Pole, a magical sleigh and you have an entertaining story full of adventure and magic. An enjoyable and exciting read. Themes: Magic, Fantasy, Adventure, Good Vs Evil, Friendship, Christmas Traditions, Humour, Loyalty.
Kathryn Beilby