Jonathan Emmett (text) & Poly Bernatene (illustrations)(Macmillan Children’s Books)
Bradley is a bad, spoilt rich little boy who gets whatever he wants (and more) from his terrified long-suffering parents and still is never satisfied. Particularly by Santa’s presents. Despite writing ginormous lists every year, all Bradley gets from Santa is a pair of socks. See, Santa knows Bradley is undeserving but has not got the heart to leave him with nothing. But Bradley is not having it; he wants something from Santa and will stop at nothing to get it. Which is why he spends a whole year setting some “Santa traps”. Will his plan be fool-proof or will Santa have the last laugh?
WARNING: Contains no peace or goodwill. This is the warning given to the reader on the back cover so look elsewhere if you want sugary-sweet Christmas cheer! And this dark, funny story certainly delivers. Children love witnessing children being naughty in books and Bradley is without a doubt a master of the despicable. I mean, who would take on the man in the red suit? Bradley is so unlikable, you end up finding him endearing in a weird kind of way. Jonathan Emmett’s text is hugely entertaining and kept my little audience enthralled the whole time. It is beautifully teamed-up with artwork by Poly Bernatene, an Argentinian illustrator which I discovered here and I find immensely talented. He captured the nastiness in Bradley’s eye perfectly and I personally love his depiction of Bradley’s clueless parents.
This a great alternative to traditional Christmas stories, bringing a darker side to the festive season, but with a satisfying enough resolution which won’t leave younger audiences wondering whether Santa will actually be around to deliver their presents!