You may not think that this is a Christmassy book – but you would be wrong.
This is the first of four books in The Gaskitt series, following the exploits of the Gaskitt family. In The Man Who Wore All His Clothes we follow the Gaskitts as they go about their day – Mr Gaskitt puts on all his clothes, the Gaskitt twins, Gus and Gloria, endure a horrid supply teacher called Mr Blotter (their lovely teacher Mrs Fritter is always having accidents), Mrs Gaskitt picks up a strange man outside a bank in her taxi. It slowly dawns on her that he could be the bank robber reported on the news. And so the scenes switch between the family until the action converges and Mr Gaskitt saves the day by sitting on the robber. Later, when calm is restored, he goes to work….as Father Christmas (hence him wearing all of his clothes).
First published in 2001, we came across this book 4 years ago in our local library. Toby was 4 and I wanted to find him something longer to read than a normal picture book as his attention span for listening was almost limitless. At that time most chapter books were too old for him in terms of content – things like the Claude books by Alex T Smith were nowhere to be seen – but this was perfect.
They originally had a bigger format. They are now in a more usual format for a chapter book, which are the ones we have at home. This is such a shame though; the pictures have so much going on, and they have been squished a bit too much in their current format.
Although it is separated into chapters they are very slight and I never got away with reading this piecemeal – it had to be done in one sitting. We have them in the early reading section in the bookshop as they are good for readers gaining confidence, or reluctant readers, but definitely good for younger children happy to sit and listen for ages.
This is a quirky series with fantastic characters. It is fast-paced and funny. And if you want a story that happens to be about an element of Christmas but are not ready to go full on festive, then this is for you. And of course it is also great to read when it isn’t Christmas too.
I have always been sad that The Gaskitt Series was never further developed. We would love to see more adventures from this family – and in the original larger format. Walker, Mr Ahlberg – think about that please!