Alfie's Christmas by Shirley Hughes

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Shirley Hughes and Alfie are back with this beautiful festive story with Alfie and his family celebrating Christmas. From the opening of the advent calendar, writing Christmas cards, choosing a Christmas tree to all the joyful things they share on the big day itself (including the not so joyful search for last minute batteries). The book has a wonderfully gentle feel to it and explores the importance of family and tradition at this most exciting time of year. Shirley Hughes’ illustrations are instantly recognisable and filled with colour and light; they have a timeless feel and are a pleasure to look at throughout the small hardback book. As always she has a wonderful ability to capture just the right emotion and feeling within each and every illustration. An absolute delight, this will be a wonderful book to share with excited young ones in the run up to Christmas and is sure to become a favourite. ~ Shelley Fallows

The Good Book Guide Review. A special Christmas story is perfect to share every year and Alfie’s Christmas sees Alfie and Annie Rose preparing from the big day, choosing secret presents and waking up too early. (Ages 2–5) ~ Fiona Lafferty


Alfie's Christmas by Shirley Hughes

It's Christmas for Alfie, and what a celebration this beautiful gift is! Join Alfie and Annie Rose for Christmas! Alfie opens his advent calendar and makes cards and presents. He sings carols and decorates the tree. And he writes a special letter to Father Christmas. But what will Father Christmas bring on Christmas Day? It's going to be such an exciting day! Alfie has been charming children and parents for generations, but this is his very first Christmas! The perfect gift, covering every Christmas milestone.


Brimming with nostalgic appeal, Alfie and Annie Rose are busy with advent calendars, Christmas trees and carols. Perfect for sharing in the build-up to the big day. The Bookseller Hughes

-- Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times Childhood would be diminished without Hughes's simple, perfectly told tales of family life... Heartbreakingly beautiful illustrations... Hughes's wonderful London street scene is, for me, the perfect Christmas Day in a walnut shell. The Times - Children's Books of the Year With their gentle illustrations of family life Shirley Hughes

-school children for more than 30 years. In Alfie's Christmas the little boy is excitedly making decorations, writing cards and buying presents. An enchanting book that will get everyone in the Christmas spirit. -- Emma Lee-Potter Daily Express Alfie and Annie-Rose fans can catch a wonderful glimpse into their adventures in the run-up to Christmas. Shirley Hughes has captured excitement and expectation, as Alfie and his family prepare for the big day. Our Mumsnet December book of the month. Mumsnet website

About the Author

Shirley Hughes

Winner of the Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award 2015. Shirley Hughes was born and grew up in West Kirby, near Liverpool. She studied at Liverpool Art School and at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, before embarking on a career as a freelance illustrator. At first she worked as an interpretive illustrator, but she began to write and design her own picture books when her children were very young. Her first book, Lucy and Tom's Day, was published in 1960. Now living in London's Notting Hill, Shirley Hughes has illustrated over two hundred children's books and is renowned as a champion of children's literature.

She has been the recipient of the Other Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal and the prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award. She was shortlisted for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, which rewards the best in contemporary children's and young adult literature from all over the world, in 2010.

Shirley Hughes won the first ever Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution to children's literature.

Book Trust CEO, Diana Gerald, says: ‘Book Trust is thrilled that our first ever Lifetime Achievement Award goes to someone whose remarkable, multi-talented contribution to children's fiction spans several generations and continues to this day. Her characters are imprinted on the memories of two or three generations, a recognition of their enduring charm. This evergreen storytelling is something we particularly want to celebrate with this award. ‘Significantly, Shirley continues to innovate and create, providing young children with a love of reading that we know will give them a great start in life. We often hear about ‘national treasures’, but Shirley Hughes is up there with the best.’

Shirley Hughes, says: ’Being chosen for the Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award is a tremendous honour which I appreciate more than I can say. I have derived so much fulfilment from my long career, first as an illustrator of other artists’ stories and then creating my own. Best of all has been perennially encountering very young children who are learning to look with such rapt pleasure and follow a story visually long before they are able to read.’

In her own words: As a child

I grew up in a quiet seaside town near Liverpool, in the days when there was no television, only radio, which we listened to a lot. My older sisters and I messed about in the back garden, pored over comics and surveyed the world from the flat garage roof. There were acres of time to be filled in then. We combatted boredom by dressing up and acting out plays to any audience we could press into service (including the cats), making up fantasy worlds and, of course, drawing pictures. There was a good supply of books. Most inspiring were wonderful illustrated classics, with colour plates by artists like Arthur Rackham and Will Heath Robinson. Later, the cinema was a terrific source of glamour and narrative, as were the Victorian paintings in the Walker Arts Gallery, Liverpool. I am pretty sure that having a lot of time to read, to dream or simply mooch about, played a major part in my becoming an author/illustrator.

As an adult

When our quiet, well-conducted suburban childhood was rudely interrupted by World War II, the grown-ups, as luck would have it, were far too absorbed in the war effort to bother much about our academic, social and cultural achievements. With me, drawing stuck. I just went on doing it. I wrote too, but kept that secret. I had a good high-school education, but I got out as soon as I could and went to Liverpool Art School to study costume design, and later, at the Ruskin School of Art, Oxford. This theatrical impulse turned into the desire to illustrate stories (another kind of theatre). I got the sketchbook habit, which has stayed with me always. You hang around, observing and drawing real people (especially, in my case, children), then you go back to the drawing board and make it all up. The characters in my stories are not my own children at that age, or anyone else's, but inspired by a combination of both.

As an artist

When I first started doing the rounds with a folio, way back in the1950s, I got plenty of work illustrating other people's books, mostly in black and white line. It was an excellent apprenticeship. I was married with two small children when I tried my first picture book, Lucy and Tom's Day, an unassuming little book about everyday life. I was very tentative about using colour then. It took a long time to acquire the expansive confidence you need to let go and let it flow across the page. Two big breaks for me were Dogger, which was my first book to be widely published abroad, and being asked by Walker Books to do a series for very young children, which ended up, via The Nursery Collection, as Olly and Me. These books gave me an opportunity to use a very simple, first-person text, in a kind of rhythmical verse form. Recently, I have launched into picture books for older children with more sophisticated themes and artwork. I can't bear hearing grown-ups telling children they can't have picture books any more as they can read! Why remove such a great narrative pleasure?

Things you didn't know about Shirley Hughes

1. At school, I was always the last to be picked for the hockey team.

2. I'm told I was an easy-going baby, but it didn't last.

3. I like birds, but would hate one to come near me.

4. I like ironing.

5. I never travel by underground.

6. I like travelling by bus, especially London buses.

7. Once on Australian TV, I had to hide in a Wendy house then leap out and hug a huge bear.

8. I save elastic bands, paper clips and pieces of string that I find lying about.

9. I jazz about a lot when washing up.

10. I fantasize about having a house by the sea.

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


32 pages
Interest Age: From 3


Shirley Hughes
More books by Shirley Hughes

Author's Website


The Bodley Head Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing

Publication date

1st September 2016




We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

I have told all my friends, family & teachers to see for themselves just how great the site is. Without fail, they are hugely impressed.

Alexander Boxall – age 11

I love all the books they recommend & put up for me to review. I also love the fact that they give new authors the chance to share their boo

Daisy Pennock – age 15

Writing reviews help the children with their literacy skills and we always read the books together which gives us good quality family time!

Cat Bisland (on behalf of the Bi

LoveReading4Kids is a modern and creative way of emphasising the value and importance of books in this digital age #booksforlife

Amrit Bunet – Teen

You give me age appropriate ideas of books I can read and buy for the children and find out what other children their age think of them too.

Katie Lonsdale

It is THE website to use for narrowing down your search for any book. Definitely knocks the socks off any other book review website.

Nickey and Tomasz Hawryszczuk

Lovereading4kids is great, we get books really early never late. We love to read and review, and think you would like it too. The excitement

Jasmine Harris-Hart, age 12

Lovereading 4 schools