Take one book: Christmas special!

    Published: 02 November 2017

    It might feel a little early still, but Penny Slater has some – somewhat untypical – “festive” ideas based on ‘The Santa Trap’ by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene. We wanted to give sufficient notice in case you decide that you would like to invest in this darkly charming book. 

    Christmas is coming, and it is time to dig out the usual array of Christmassy texts to inspire a seasonal unit of reading and writing.

    If it is a charming, heart-warming and whimsical Christmas tale that you are after, you may have come to the wrong blog!

    This year, we urge you to try something a bit different: something a bit edgier; a bit darker….

    Our recommendation for a fresh and feisty festive treat is ‘The Santa Trap’ by Jonathan Emmett and illustrated by Poly Bernatene.

    Welcome Bradley Bartleby…


    Everything that you need to know about this charmless character is conveyed on the first double-page spread:

    ‘Bradley Bartleby was bad.

    He’d been born bad….

    And the older Bradley got, the badder he became.’

    The tale goes on to outline Bradley’s rapid descent from spoilt child to revenge-seeking Santa hunter!

    Beyond its obvious anarchic appeal, this text provides so many opportunities for children to improve their writing skills. In the resource linked here – Santa Trap Planning Ideas  – you will find our suggestions for how this text could be used creatively to develop children’s writing skills in line with the Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation Programme of Study for each year group.


    We hope that this fun and feisty text will help to spread a little Christmas cheer throughout your classroom this year. The question is: who will be brave enough to present each of their children with a lovely end of term Christmas gift this year?

    A nice new pair of socks should do it!

    Jonathan Emmett will be joining us for our spring writing conference: Write Here, Write Now.

    Please join us if you can to discover more of Jonathan’s great texts, and to hear his thoughts about how to inspire young readers and writers.

    Click on the link below to book your place at the conference:

    Find out more about Jonathan and his work here:

    With special thanks to Poly Bernatene for giving permission to use his images in this blog. Explore more of Poly’s work here:


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