My book review of 'Jim's Spectacular Christmas' by Emma Thompson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

by Emma Thompson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
Recommended age: 4+
Jim's Spectacular Christmas
by Emma Thompson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Told by the actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson with amusing illustrations from Axel Scheffler (best known for the Gruffalo), this is the story of Christmas with Jim, a dog who lived at the V&A Museum at the time of Queen Victoria.

Jim was the beloved pet of Sir Henry Cole, director of the Victoria and Albert Museum who also created the first Christmas card.

In the museum archives and Cole's diaries there are details about Jim - his good behaviour and bad.

At the time that Jim was living in South Kensington, lots of new museums and colleges were being built and he would accompany Cole around the building sites early in the morning, clambering over bricks and girders, up ladders and about scaffolding, inspecting all that was going on.

This is Emma Thompson's take on the relationship of this influential man and his scruffy and mischievous dog (who loves books, incidentally). There are a few mishaps and adventures and we're treated to a description of how the early Christmas cards took off, with a little royal and canine help.

There's plenty here to read and enjoy and, though based on real events, there is some artistic licence, and a bit of magic. I was soon swept up in Jim's story. Rather lovely for everyone aged three upwards.

Review date: November 2022
Publication date: 27th October 2022