Jim's Spectacular Christmas
This is the story of Jim, a scruffy, smelly dog with one rheumy eye. Jim works at the Victoria and Albert Museum with his owner, Sir Henry Cole, the founding director of the museum. Thompson weaves facts with a fictional account of Cole’s Christmas card endeavour in this delightfully funny tale.
In Thompson’s version, Jim delivers messages for the very busy and important Sir Henry, who regularly corresponds with museum builders, architects and his hairdresser. In 1843, Sir Henry is inspired to draw a Christmas scene, has it rendered by the artist John Horsley and prints 1000 copies, creating the first Christmas card. One is sent to Queen Victoria, delivered by Jim the dog.
Thompson describes Jim the dog as ‘a great reader’ who was ‘fond of plays… lapped up histories… viewed poetry with respectful terror’ when he was not busy delivering post. While in the presence of the Queen, Jim delivers Sir Henry’s Christmas card and runs off with Prince Albert’s monocle, having discovered it helps him read better with his rheumy eye.
Scheffler’s illustrations are marvellously old-timey and anthropomorphise Jim in silly and sweet doggy ways, expertly painting the heart-warming friendship between Cole and Jim. Thompson’s cheeky wit is both subtle and hilarious as it pokes fun throughout the story. Interesting facts and Cole’s original sketches of Jim are included at the back. This is a Christmas classic in the making, a story for all ages to share. An animated version would be delightful.