Thursday 3 December 2020

Santa Post - Guest Blog Post

It's an absolute pleasure to invite Emma Yarlett onto Picture Book Party to tell us all about her new picture book, Santa Post

Santa receives letters of Christmas wishes from children all over the world. But this year there's one that just doesn't make sense. What does this child want for Christmas? Santa is determined to find out!

An irresistible festive follow-up to the internationally bestselling Dragon Post and Beast Feast, this joyous novelty book sparkles with Emma Yarlett’s vibrant illustrations and quirky humour, and is full of lots more hilarious letters to open.

Click here to download our Santa Post activity sheets. 

The perfect gift for anyone writing a letter to Santa!

Q&A with Emma Yarlett

What was the inspiration behind Santa Post?
Christmas is my favourite time of year. I love the early dark evenings and starry night skies, the cold bright breath-clouding wintery days, and the feeling of being toasty and warm in fluffy socks, boots and padded coats. I’ve never done a themed book for a specific time of year before, and I decided it was about time to get into the spirit of things and create a book which felt like a warm winter hug full of all the festive folktales of Christmas characters and traditional tales.

Having written and illustrated two ‘post’ books with Walker before (Dragon Post, Beast Feast) it felt like a perfect opportunity to explore the Christmas themes within a postal framework (I mean who doesn’t love receiving Christmas cards and presents!?)… and so the book was born!

Tell us a little bit more about your process?

This was the first book that I created since having my daughter, and so it was a lot more of a juggle than my books have been before! We also moved house right in the middle of this book project – and so my attention was being pulled here there and everywhere. It was the last book project I worked upon in my little studio by the sea in Falmouth before I moved my studio home to our new house.

The process started with a lot of thinking and scribbling words and tiny pictures on paper. Once I have thoroughly thought through, around, above and below the idea I then poke the best ideas into a semblance of an order – paying special attention to the story arc. This arc was a bit of a tricky one, as the final ‘Santa gift’ was a tricky one to decide upon – and it had a big effect on all of the previous parts of the book. But when the final gift was eventually decided upon – everything fell into place quite smoothly.

Santa was a tricky chap to pin down too – as I didn’t want to modernise him too much from a traditional looking Santa, but at the same time wanted him to look as though he lives and breaths in our world today. He had a few guises until he finally became the Santa you see in Santa Post.

Do you have a favourite spread in the book?

I loved creating the artwork for this book – although it was strange working on something so festive when it wasn’t Christmas (I painted this book in January – March). I think my favourite double-page spread has to be of the elf workshop. It was one of the first ideas I had when thinking up the book, and with a little bit of finessing and backwards and forwards, I think it came together really well. I loved adding in all the little pieces of detail to help bring the different elves that appear on the page to life. I also had a little fun having one of the elves re-enacting one of my favourite scenes from the film Elf (see if you can spot it!).


What’s on your Christmas list this year?

Having just moved house – it’s really lots of things I’m very excited about, but perhaps to everyone else seems very boring indeed! Interior design books, cosy socks (our floors are in a questionable state), and an eye wateringly expensive but very feng shui toilet brush! But, it is really nice. Right? Right!?


What was your favourite picture book when you were a child?

I didn’t have a favourite one that I would always hark too, for me it was all about quantity… I absorbed as many books as I could! To name but a few… Five Minutes Peace, Where the Wild Things Are, The Blue Balloon, I Want My Potty, The Jolly Postman, Funny Bones, The Snowman, The Spot series, The Rainbow Fish, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Burglar Bill…

A special thank you to our guest author-illustrator this week, Emma Yarlett!

Santa Post is now available to buy from all good booksellers.