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Book Review

Book Cover

Sam Kills Christmas (Hardback)


Author: Thomas Ridgewell
Illustrator: Dorina Herdewijn
Publisher: Sphere
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 0 7515 6305 4
Publication Date: 08 November 2018

Sam is a small child with a big problem: Sam Hates Santa. And so, this Christmas, it's time to embark on a quest to vanquish that villain once and for all. Along the way, Sam will encounter Ice Queens and evil elves, and more than a few rocket launchers and explosives, but the big question is... will Sam be able to rid the world of the tyranny of Santa...?

Sam Kills Christmas is a bit of a strange book. It's a dark, tongue firmly in cheek, release that looks like a kid's book. The story reads a little like a cross between Roald Dahl and Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuzz) - only not as well realised. It has the dark, twisted humour of Dahl and the sing song rhymes of Seuzz, but it doesn't manage to come even close those either league.

Be warned. This is NOT a book that can be read to anyone who is still young enough to be on Santa's Christmas Eve round. It' is, however, a fun anti-Christmas book for that brooding teenager or strange adult in the family who is difficult to buy for.

While Thomas Ridewell's story, told in verse (and, occasionally, bad verse at that), is entertaining, it's Dorina Herdewijn's illustrations that make this book so much fun.

The grammar is quite strange too. The narrator constantly refers to Sam as "they" instead of he/she... which could be because Ridgewell doesn't want to divulge Sam's sex... "they" could be a boy or girl, but there are surely better ways he could have tackled that. But then Sam is referred to as a "hero", which implies Sam is a boy. And the author has no problem describing other characters as "he" or "she".

I know that the English language is constantly evolving (or devolving) and this is seen by some as an acceptable way to refer to someone... but it still sounds wrong to my mind: "Sam loaded their axe in the candy-cane gun..."

However, ignoring that minor issue, this is a fun, book that will cheer up even the coldest of hearts on Christmas morning.


Darren Rea

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