Christmas Street

illustrated by Ingela P Arrhenius

A is for Angel, on top of a tree.
B is for Bow, being tied carefully.”

This spectacular lift-the-flap Christmas alphabet book is also a play scene and a fabulous festive frieze to decorate your room!

UK Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1839943122 • ISBN-13: 978-1839943126

See Inside

Author's Note

The idea to follow up Alphabet Street with a Christmas book in the same format came from publisher Nosy Crow. The first version of Christmas Street I created featured a non-alphabetised rhyming text in which animal characters engaged in various festive activities. A lot of fun winter activities, like sledging or building a snowman, take place outdoors and the pages in the middle of this version showed characters playing in a snowy park where a carol concert was taking place.

A street outline and prototype spreads from the first version of the book, which had a snowy park in the middle of the street.

Although Nosy Crow quite liked the first version, editor Victoria England asked me If I could do another draft of the text with an alphabetised rhyme that followed the same structure as Alphabet Street. Each line of Alphabet Street includes a noun and a verb that begins with the same letter and writing rhymes that followed this pattern AND had a Christmas theme proved very challenging. Can you think of any Christmas related activities that begin with an X without resorting to questionable options like “Xmas gift wrapping” or “Xing kisses on a card”?

I wasn’t happy with several of the verses in this second version, so I wrote a third version where each line of the rhyme contained just one alphabetised word and this is the version that’s used in the book.

While all of the ground floor spaces in Alphabet Street are occupied by shops, the ground floor of Christmas Street alternates between shops and homes. Nosy Crow had initially suggested that the shops might take the form of stalls in a Christmas market, but in the end the stalls were moved to the park panorama on the reverse side of the book, which also includes the outdoor activities I’d initially suggested for the mid-street park scene in my first version of the book.

A section of Ingela's park panorama from the reverse side of the book.

I knew illustrator Ingela P Arrhenius would do a good job, but I was bowled over by her artwork when I first saw it. Her streetscape, interiors and parkland panorama are packed with appealing characters and details. And the colour palette Ingela has used for this book, filled with seasonal reds and greens, combined with the garlands, ornaments and trimmings that decorate the buildings, give the whole street a wonderfully festive feel.