Christmas comes but once a year. Luckily . . . The Christmas holiday is, traditionally, a time when families gather together. In Ralph's case this means ten or more relatives coming to stay, including assorted aunts and uncles, nutty Great-Aunt Ida (the Home tells them to be careful not to let her out) and his ghastly cousins: Titania in her silly, sick-making frilly fairy dresses and the twins Sylvester and Sylvia (it took until Easter last year before the family dog got over them).Jammed into one small house for three days of merriment and family fun, with the tv on the blink and Mum on the verge of a breakdown, it soon becomes obvious that, in this house, more definitely does not mean merrier . . .
Anne Fine has been an acknowledged top author in the children's book world since her first book was published in the mid l970s, and has now written more than forty books and won virtually every major award going, including the Carnegie Medal (more than once), the Whitbread Children's Award, the Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Smarties Prize and others. The Children's Laureate from 2001-2003, Anne is also very funny and young readers love her lack of hypocrisy about the family and her honesty about how people can behave. She lives in the North-East. One of the sharpest and most humorous observers of the human condition writing today for the young' School Librarian 'She is translated into 26 languages and has regularly won every major children's literary award in the land, including the Carnegie Medal twice and the Whitbread Children's Novel award twice . . . There are few more influential, or more unfailingly intelligent, authors at work' Scotsman'A subversively wicked gift for exploring family tensions' Independent