Book Advent – 1st December Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present by John Burningham


A highly original Father Christmas story with a difference this is a wonderful picture book to read aloud. A humorous celebration of generosity, helpfulness and perseverance, this is a treat.

Harvey Slumfenburger

It is late on Christmas Eve and an exhausted Father Christmas arrives back home. He wearily puts his tired reindeer to bed, reassuring the one who doesn’t feel too well, and then makes his way to bed too. BUT just as Father Christmas is slipping between the sheets he notices one present still inside his sack. This is not just any present, this is Harvey Slumfenburger’s present and little Harvey’s parents are too poor to buy him any so without the one from Father Christmas he will not have a present at all. Harvey lives a long, long way away and Father Christmas is very, very tired. What will he do? Father Christmas knows there is only one thing he can do and sets off to get the present to Harvey Slumfenburger.

This is a delightful and gently humorous tale with bags of repetition that make it a treat to read aloud. It’s a refreshing version of Father Christmas too. This one is kind and thoughtful but not round, jolly and uttering ‘’Ho Ho Ho’’ but dogged and determined to get his important job done and not let anyone down. His long journey involves all manner of transport and the illustrations depict the daunting scale of his journey beautifully. The many different vehicles Father Christmas uses throughout his marathon trek may prompt an interesting discussion with very young children too.

Harvey Slumfenburger 2

Throughout the story every single person Father Christmas meets on the way is helpful and this is a cheering tale of generosity and gratitude.  A lovely balance of humour and gentle thoughtfulness this picturebook is just right of Christmas.


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