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For Duncan

J.B

For Cash, Archie, Quinn, Clementine,

Olive, Lulu and Harley

R.B

First published in Great Britain 1985

by Methuen Children’s Books Ltd

This edition published 2017

by Egmont UK Limited

The Yellow Building, 1 Nicholas Road, London W11 4AN

Text copyright © 1985 Jeff Brown

Illustrations copyright © 2017 Rob Biddulph

First e-book edition 2017

ISBN 978 1 4052 8808 8

Ebook ISBN 978 1 7803 1830 1

www.egmont.co.uk

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Stay safe online. Any website addresses listed in this book are correct at the time of going to print. However, Egmont is not responsible for content hosted by third parties. Please be aware that online content can be subject to change and websites can contain content that is unsuitable for children. We advise that all children are supervised when using the internet.

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CONTENTS

Cover

Title Page

Dedication and Copyright

Front series promotional page

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER 1

SARAH

CHAPTER 2

THE SLEIGH

CHAPTER 3

SNOW CITY

CHAPTER 4

SARAH’S FATHER

CHAPTER 5

THE LETTERS

CHAPTER 6

GOING HOME

CHAPTER 7

CHRISTMAS

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Once there was an ordinary kid called Stanley Lambchop. A bulletin board squashed him flat as a pancake. Flat Stanley became famous – he even foiled the art robbery of the century! Stanley’s little brother Arthur managed to reinflate Stanley with a bicycle pump, but ever since weird stuff just keeps happening to Stanley . . .

PROLOGUE

She was the sort of little girl who liked to be sure of things, so she went all over Snow City, checking up.

The elves had done their work.

At the Post Office, Mail Elves had read the letters, making lists of who wanted what.

In the great workshops – the Doll Room, the Toy Plant, the Game Mill – Gift Elves had filled the orders, taking care as to colour and size and style.

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In the Wrap Shed the gifts lay ready, wrapped now in gay paper with holly and pine cones, sorted by country, by city or village, by road or lane or street.

The Wrap Elves teased her. ‘Don’t trust us, eh? . . . Snooping, we call this, Miss!’

‘Pooh!’ said the little girl. ‘Well done, elves! Good work!’

But at home in Snow City Square, all was not well.

‘Don’t slam the door, dear,’ said her mother, weeping. ‘Your father’s having his nap.’

‘Mother! What’s wrong?’

‘He won’t go this year, he says!’ the mother sobbed. ‘He’s been so cross lately, but I never –’

Why? Why won’t he go?’

‘They’ve lost faith, don’t care any more, he says! Surely not everyone, I said. Think of your favourite letter, the one by your desk! He just growled at me!’

‘Pooh!’ said the girl. ‘It’s not fair! Really! I mean, everything’s ready! Why –’

‘Not now, dear,’ said the mother. ‘It’s been a dreadful day.’