A Night at the Frost Fair


Maya’s gift from Gran seems confusing. After all, her older sister has been given something sparkly and beautiful. Furthermore, Gran offered that each was precious and that Maya’s ‘brown and ugly’ gift ‘was Edmund’s’.

Yet as the return drive from Gran’s care home staggers on, the weather changes. Then again, it seems that Maya’s setting has changed. Somehow, magically, she’s transported to 1788, to A Night at the Frost Fair. It seems as though the world has converged upon a frozen River Thames. There are ‘skittles, card tricks, skating and dancing’  for starters. What’s more, there’s a boy, urgently pushing Maya forward as he seeks to escape his pursuers. It seems Eddie, with his hacking cough, has escaped some sort of prison. Furthermore, he’s two silver coins and is eager to take up the invitation of the rides and stalls at the fair. As Maya and Eddie course the attractions, they hear and feel his pursuers. Might Eddie manage to eat his ginger cake and thereafter escape those who seek to confine him again?

Bookwagon loves A Night at the Frost Fair. It feels as though we journey from Gran’s care home, where her memories are being boxed away, to the crispness, ice and bustle of 18th century London. What’s more, Sam Usher’s pictures are evocative of the time, of Maya’s fascination, of the spectacle and wonder.

We recommend A Night at the Frost Fair for winter reading, at bedtime, gathered together, for reading alone and then for gifting, too.

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A Night at the Frost Fair

Emma Carroll, illustrated by Sam Usher

(Simon & Schuster)– hardback

Maya is confused by the ‘brown and ugly’ gift Gran has given her. After all, it’s supposed to be one of Gran’s most precious things. What does it mean? Furthermore, what does she mean when she whispers, ‘It was Edmund’s‘?
It seems the return drive from Gran’s care home gives Maya time to wonder. However, she does not expect the ‘flecks of white‘ as the rain turns ‘rapidly into snow’ to transport her somewhere else.
What happens to Maya? It seems one moment she’s in a taxi and then she’s experiencing A Night at the Frost Fair. What’s more, she’s not alone, but with Eddie, who seems to have escaped a prison. Although he’s coughing and alert to his pursuers, he’s ‘two silver coins’ to share. Then again, he’s alert to the possibilities of the frozen river delights. Somehow, magically, it seems as though Maya is transported to a different age, to 1788, to a time of King George. What’s more, there are ‘terrier races‘ alongside ‘skittles, card tricks, skating and dancing‘. Then again, there are ‘brightly painted swing boats‘.
Yet again, Emma Carroll transports us to a different time wherein we can smell the food stalls, crunch upon the ice, feel the excitement. Furthermore the illustrations from Sam Usher, of Lost and more, build upon the strangeness, differences and wonder.
Bookwagon loves A Night at the Frost Fair. What’s more, we recommend this as a perfect winter read aloud, alongside being an ideal gift. This is a book to treasure.


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