The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo 

Raymond Briggs’s wordless picture book, The Snowman, was first published 40 years ago and later became an animated film.

Now, for the first time, inspired by Briggs’ modern classic, best-selling author Michael Morpurgo has written the story of the little boy, James, and his snowman who comes to life. Today, the Daily Mail exclusively publishes an extract from the new book with beautiful illustrations by Robin Shaw.

Here, lonely little James has built a snowman in his garden. On Christmas Eve, James can’t sleep so looks out of his window — only to see that something remarkable has happened to his snowman…  

Raymond Briggs's wordless picture book, The Snowman, was first published 40 years ago and later became an animated film

Raymond Briggs’s wordless picture book, The Snowman, was first published 40 years ago and later became an animated film

Downstairs the clock in the hallway was chiming out the hours, and James was still awake every hour it happened.

He heard everyone coming upstairs to bed, creakily — Mum and Dad together, then Grandma. And still the owl hooted, still the clock chimed out the hours. 

James wasn’t thinking about Father Christmas coming; he could think only of his snowman, and he had the strangest feeling that his snowman was thinking of him.

He got out of bed and went to his window. It was a bright night, a white night. Under the moon and the stars he could just see the big tree in Oak Tree Field. 

He could hear the owl hooting. And he thought he could just make out his snowman, with Dad’s old hat on top. ‘G’night, Mr Snowman,’ he whispered. ‘See you in the morning.’

Back in his bed, he snuggled down. He still couldn’t stop thinking about his snowman. Outside, the owl hooted again. 

Downstairs, the clock chimed again. Morning will come faster if I go to sleep, James thought. 

Then it’ll be Christmas Day, and I’ll wake up, and Father Christmas will have filled my stocking and brought my bright green mountain bike with the big fat tyres.

And, best of all, I’ll be able to go out and be with my snowman again. Grandma was right. He is magnificent; he is wonderful. James closed his eyes and pretended to sleep; pretended hard — so hard that very soon he drifted off and was lost in his dreams.

It was still the middle of the night when he woke. He sat up and looked out of the window. There was the big oak tree out in the field, and there was his snowman.

And then, and then — and James didn’t believe it at first, and you’re not going to believe it either — the snowman was waving to him; yes, waving to him! James rubbed his eyes and looked again. 

It was true. The snowman was waving, beckoning to him. He wanted James to come down and see him.

James was out of bed as quick as he could, lickety-split, dressing gown on, slippers on. Soon he was tiptoeing past Grandma’s room, down the creaky stairs, and towards the front door. 

And, still tiptoeing so as not to wake Bertie, he was opening the door and running out across the snow — in his slippers. He hadn’t even stopped to put on his wellies!

He ran through the gate into Oak Tree Field, and there was the big tree, every branch and twig still covered in snow. But where was his snowman? He was nowhere to be seen! He had gone.

And then from behind the tree came a waving arm, then a kicking leg, then a head — his snowman’s head, the face still smiling, and still wearing Dad’s old hat. 

Now the snowman was walking; walking across the field towards him! Now he was shaking James by the hand.

‘All night I’ve been standing there and thinking,’ said the snowman, and his voice sounded so jolly and booming and deep. ‘I was thinking what it might be like inside your house. I’ve never been in a house before.’

‘Well, why don’t you come in then, Mr Snowman?’ James said. ‘I’ll show you around. But I’m not sure you’ll fit through the door. 

You’re so big. And we mustn’t make any noise, or else we’ll wake everyone up, and Grandma hates being woken up at night. It makes her proper grumpy.’

This month, the Daily Mail bringing you excerpts from Christmas stories to enchant your children (file image)

This month, the Daily Mail bringing you excerpts from Christmas stories to enchant your children (file image)

The snowman took his hand, and off they ran together over the frozen snow, across the garden, past the swing and the trampoline towards the house, the owl flying above them on silent wings. 

The snowman had to breathe in very deep to get through the door. But he managed it, just.

James showed him into the sitting room first. Bertie was fast asleep on the sofa, where he shouldn’t have been. The last thing James wanted was for the dog to wake up. He put a finger to his lips, and the snowman did the same. They understood one another perfectly.

And how the snowman loved the Christmas tree — all the glittering dingly-danglies, and especially the Silver Star on the top and the little Father Christmas underneath the tree; the one Grandma loved so much because she had had the same Father Christmas under her Christmas tree every year when she was little. 

The snowman was trying to sit down on a chair. He tried Grandma’s chair. Too small. He tried Mum’s chair. Too small.

The only one big enough was the chair by the fire, where Dad often sat when he took off his socks and wiggled his toes — which Grandma didn’t like at all. 

The snowman sat back in the chair just like Dad did, but he didn’t take off his socks or wiggle his toes because he didn’t have any socks to take off or any toes to wiggle.

But suddenly the snowman was not looking happy at all. He jumped up and backed away from the fire. James saw at once what was upsetting him. It was the heat of the fire! It was too much for the snowman. 

It was warming him up, and he didn’t like it one bit. He liked being cold. He had to be cold. 

So James took him into the kitchen and opened up the lid of the freezer. It was just about long enough for his snowman. ‘Lie down in that for a bit, Mr Snowman,’ he said. ‘You’ll feel a lot cooler, a lot better.’

So the snowman lay back and snuggled down happily on his frozen bed made of bags of frozen peas and frozen broad beans and frozen apples and frozen blackcurrants and frozen gooseberries — everything Mum had gathered in from the garden during the summer. 

Once the snowman was feeling cold enough again, he was clambering out of the freezer, ready to explore the rest of the house.

James took him upstairs, creakily, into his bedroom and showed him all his toys. They sat down and played with James’s train set, and James introduced him to every single one of his cuddly animals. The snowman liked his polar bear best.

They even crept into Grandma’s room. Luckily she was sleeping soundly, and snoring quite loudly, as she did sometimes. By her bed was a photograph of James, who the snowman recognized at once. 

In the bathroom James showed him how he brushed his teeth. The snowman wanted to smell everything on the shelf — the shampoo, Grandma’s special lavender soap, which she didn’t like anyone else using, and the talcum powder.

James showed him how to shake the powder out. He shouldn’t have done that because, before he knew it, the snowman was going wild with the talcum powder, shaking it all over the bathroom, all over himself and all over James too!

The Daily Mail will be carrying special pullouts of some of the most magical Christmas stories for children including Winnie the Pooh

And The Snowman

This week begins with two special pullouts of two of the most magical Christmas stories for children including Winnie the Pooh and The Snowman

After that James got him out of the house as quickly as he could before any other disasters could happen. The whole house smelled of talcum powder!

They ran out into the garden. The snowman took one look at the swing and wanted to have a go, but he was too big to fit on it. So James sat on it and the snowman pushed him. Higher and higher he went — so high that James felt he was almost flying.

Then, suddenly, the snowman wasn’t pushing any more. He was running towards the trampoline and climbing on. After only one bounce he just seemed to love it. James ran over and climbed on as well. 

They held hands, and bounced and bounced and bounced. James had never bounced so high in his life. This was the best fun he had ever had. In the end they had to stop because they were laughing so much.

Maybe it was their laughter that woke up Big the horse and Little the donkey. They began neighing and braying from their stables. 

The snowman wanted to find out who was making all that noise. He took James’s hand, and off they ran to the stables.

B ig and Little were only too pleased to see them. No one usually came to see them in the middle of the night! 

Though they thought it was rather strange when they were led out into the snowy field, and they thought it stranger still when James got up on Little and the snowman got up on Big. But they didn’t mind, not one bit. 

Nights in the stables could be long and boring. Off they trotted, and then away they galloped through the snow. It was all James could do to hang on.

Up in the big oak tree the owl was watching everything, too amazed even to hoot. The snowman rode Big as if he had been riding all his life. 

Big and Little had never galloped so fast before, and they had never had so much fun. They were soon completely puffed out. And, by the time they took them back to their stables, so were James and the snowman.

That was when the snowman saw Dad’s tractor. He walked round and round it, chuckling all the time, his smile becoming broader and broader. 

He swept the snow off the seat, climbed up and sat on it. ‘Well?’ he said with a twinkle in his eye. ‘How does this thing work? Are you coming or not?’

James wasn’t going to miss this. Up he climbed and sat on the snowman’s lap, just like he did with Dad. 

He showed him where the key was — Dad always left it in. He showed him the gears and the steering wheel and the throttle. That’s all the snowman needed. With a turn of the key the engine started up.

With a grinding of the gears and a push on the throttle the tractor began to move — slowly at first, jerkily, but soon they were out in Oak Tree Field and roaring along, bouncing along. 

Round and round the tree they went. Up on his branch, the owl was getting giddy watching them. Round and round his head went.

Down the hill they roared, and along the river. They scared the deer in the woods, woke up the badgers and foxes, and then came thundering up the hill again, back into Oak Tree Field.

The snowman drove that tractor like a proper farmer, as if he’d been doing it all his life. He chortled and chuckled and laughed out loud. He loved every moment of it. So did James. 

He never wanted the ride to end! Afterwards, as they walked back through the garden together, James thought that all the fun and games must be over. He couldn’t have been more wrong.

The snowman took his hand. ‘I’ve had such a good time, James,’ he told

him. ‘This home of yours is full of nice surprises. Would you like to see mine? I haven’t got a farm, but I have got a bit of a surprise to show you.’

The paper will also include children's classic The Polar Express in the coming weeks

The paper will also include children’s classic The Polar Express in the coming weeks

And at that moment the snowman began to run — slowly at first, but then faster and faster and faster. He had long legs and James had short legs, so with every step James was finding it harder and harder to keep up.

But suddenly he didn’t have to run any more because he couldn’t — his feet weren’t touching the ground! 

They were going so fast they were taking off. His legs were running through thin air! They were flying! The snowman had his arm around him, and they were flying!

James looked down. There was his house with the smoke coming out of the chimney; there was the farm, there were the barns, there was his swing, there was Dad’s shed, there was his trampoline.

But they were all getting smaller and smaller. Higher and higher they flew, over the fields and the woods and the river, out over the moor. Above them the moon and the stars; below them a world of white. James looked round and saw that they weren’t alone!

There were other snowmen flying along behind — dozens of them; hundreds of them! But none of the others had a boy flying with him. 

He was the only one, and James liked that. He had never felt more special in his life. James looked ahead. ‘Where are we going?’ he cried.

But the snowman only laughed his booming jolly laugh, so James wasn’t worried. He was enjoying himself too much to be worried. 

Ahead, on the horizon, the sky was aglow. As they flew on, he could see the glittering lights of a big city, with tall towers, wide roads, and a dark river running through it; over the bridges the cars came and went.

James looked up. Stars filled the sky as far as he could see. He loved stars; his dad loved them too — he knew some of their names, and so did James. 

But he had never been so close to them as this. Up there was The Plough and the Big Dipper, and the Milky Way was everywhere. When he looked down again, the brightness of the city was gone.

There were no lights to be seen any more; no houses, no fields, no snowy whiteness; only a darkness that shone in the moonlight, a darkness that James knew was the darkness of the sea.

Down they flew, lower and lower, over little waves, huge waves, and then over little icebergs, huge icebergs. The snowman was pointing ahead. ‘Look, James,’ he said. ‘Home. My home.’

It was a land made entirely of snow. Below them now there were no more trees or fields or rivers or houses, no more glowing lights, no cars or bright city buildings, just snow. 

And it was all so empty, so beautiful, so quiet. Over white mountains they floated high, and along white valleys they flew low over the snow, the snowman’s arm around James, still holding him tight.

‘Almost there now,’ said the snowman. ‘I’m not very good at landing, James, I’m afraid. I never really got the hang of it. But don’t you worry. There’s plenty of snow about, and it’s always deep. We’ll have a nice soft landing, you’ll see.’

But, as they neared the ground, it seemed to James that they were flying over it faster and faster, not slower and slower. 

So, despite what the snowman had said, he was beginning to be worried; very worried indeed. 

But, when they did land, although they bumped and bounced and slid along in the snow for quite a while, and rolled over and over in it, they ended up safe and sound, because the snow, as the snowman had said, was softer than the deepest cushion.

The snowman was there to help James to his feet.

‘Here we are, James,’ he said. ‘Snowmen’s land. Our home. This is where we all come back to, where we snowmen all belong. We can’t stay long in your world. We have to live where it’s cold. And we aren’t alone. Look up there!’

James looked up, and saw then that all down the valley snowmen were landing…

To find you out what happens next in the story, you can order a copy of The Snowman for £10.39 (20 per cent discount) by visiting

Extracted from The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Robin Shaw and inspired by the original picture book by Raymond Briggs. © Snowman Enterprises 2018. Published by Puffin £12.99. 

 

Winnie The Pooh by A.A. Milne 

A. A. Milne created the Winnie-the-Pooh stories for his son, Christopher Robin, based on the boy’s own teddy bear and named after a real bear in London Zoo called Winnie.

In this extract from The House At Pooh Corner, first published in 1928, Pooh and Piglet set out in the snow to find Eeyore, the gloomy donkey…

One day when Pooh Bear had nothing else to do, he thought he would do something, so he went round to see what Piglet was doing.

It was still snowing as he stumped over the white forest track, and he expected to find Piglet warming his toes in front of his fire, but to his surprise he saw that the door was open, and the more he looked inside, the more Piglet wasn’t there.

‘He’s out,’ said Pooh sadly. ‘That’s what it is. He’s not in. I shall have to go a fast Thinking Walk by myself. Bother!’

But first he thought that he would knock very loudly just to make quite sure…and while he waited for Piglet not to answer, he jumped up and down to keep warm places to visit in december in india, and a hum came suddenly into his head, which seemed to him such a Good Hum, such as is Hummed Hopefully to Others.

A. A. Milne created the Winnie-the-Pooh stories for his son, Christopher Robin, based on the boy's own teddy bear and named after a real bear in London Zoo called Winnie

A. A. Milne created the Winnie-the-Pooh stories for his son, Christopher Robin, based on the boy’s own teddy bear and named after a real bear in London Zoo called Winnie

The more it snows

(Tiddely pom),

The more it goes

(Tiddely pom),

The more it goes

(Tiddely pom)

On snowing.

And nobody knows

(Tiddely pom),

How cold my toes

(Tiddely pom),

How cold my toes

(Tiddely pom),

Are growing.

‘So what I’ll do,’ said Pooh, ‘is I’ll do this. I’ll just go home first and see what the time is, and perhaps I’ll put a muffler round my neck, and then I’ll go and see Eeyore and sing it to him.’

He hurried back to his own house; and his mind was so busy on the way with the hum that he was getting ready for Eeyore that, when he saw Piglet sitting in his best armchair, he could only stand there rubbing his head and wondering whose house he was in.

‘Hallo, Piglet,’ he said. ‘I thought you were out.’

‘No,’ said Piglet, ‘it’s you who were out, Pooh.’

‘So it was,’ said Pooh. ‘I knew one of us was.’ He looked up at his clock, which had stopped at five minutes to eleven some weeks ago.

‘Nearly eleven o’clock,’ said Pooh happily. ‘You’re just in time for a little smackerel of something’, and he put his head into the cupboard. ‘And then we’ll go out, Piglet, and sing my song to Eeyore.’

‘Which song, Pooh?’ ‘The one we’re going to sing to Eeyore,’ explained Pooh.

The clock was still saying five minutes to eleven when Pooh and Piglet set out on their way half an hour later.

The wind had dropped and the snow, down until it found a place on which to rest and sometimes the place was Pooh’s nose and sometimes it wasn’t, and in a little while Piglet was wearing a white muffler round his neck and feeling more snowy behind the ears than he ever felt before.

‘Pooh,’ he said at last, and a little timidly, because he didn’t want Pooh to think he was Giving In, ‘I was just wondering.

‘How would it be if we went home now and practised your song, and then sang it to Eeyore tomorrow — or — or the next day, when we happen to see him?’

‘That’s a very good idea, Piglet,’ said Pooh. ‘We’ll practise it now as we go along. But it’s no good going home to practise it, because it’s a special Outdoor Song which Has To Be Sung In The Snow.’

‘Are you sure?’ asked Piglet anxiously.

‘Well, you’ll see, Piglet, when you listen. Because this is how it begins.

‘The more it snows, tiddely pom — ‘

‘Tiddely what?’ said Piglet.

‘Pom,’ said Pooh. ‘I put that in to make it more hummy. The more it goes, tiddely pom, the more — ‘

‘Didn’t you say snows?’

‘Yes, but that was before.’

‘Before the tiddely pom?’

‘It was a different tiddely pom,’ said Pooh, feeling rather muddled now. ‘I’ll sing it to you properly and then you’ll see.’

So he sang it again.

The more it

SNOWS-tiddely-pom,

The more it

GOES-tiddely-pom,

The more it

GOES-tiddely-pom

On

Snowing.

And nobody

KNOWS-tiddely-pom,

How cold my

TOES-tiddely-pom,

How cold my

TOES-tiddely-pom,

Are

Growing.

He sang it like that, which is much the best way of singing it, and when he finished he

waited for Piglet to say that, of all the Outdoor Hums for Snowy Weather he had ever heard, this was the best.

And, after thinking the matter out carefully, Piglet said: ‘Pooh,’ he said solemnly, ‘it isn’t the toes so much as the ears.’

By this time they were getting near Eeyore’s Gloomy Place, which was where he lived, and as it was still snowy behind Piglet’s ears, and he was getting tired of it, they turned into a little pine-wood and sat down on the gate which led into it.

They were out of the snow now but it was very cold, and to keep themselves warm they sang Pooh’s song through six times, Piglet doing the tiddley poms and Pooh doing the rest of it, and both of them thumping the top of the gate with pieces of stick at the proper places. And in a little while they felt much warmer, and were able to talk again.

‘I’ve been thinking,’ said Pooh, ‘and what I’ve been thinking about is this. I’ve been thinking about Eeyore.’

‘What about Eeyore?’

‘Well, poor Eeyore has nowhere to live.’

‘Nor he has,’ said Piglet.

‘You have a house, Piglet, and I have a house, and Owl and Kanga and Rabbit have houses, and even Rabbit’s friends and relations have houses or somethings, but poor Eeyore has nothing. So what I’ve been thinking is: Let’s build him a house.

‘That,’ said Piglet, ‘is a Grand Idea. Where shall we build it?’

‘We will build it here,’ said Pooh, ‘just by this wood, out of the wind, because this is where I thought of it. And we will call this Pooh Corner for Eeyore.’

‘There was a heap of sticks on the other side of the wood,’ said Piglet. ‘I saw them. Lots and lots. All piled up.’

‘Thank you Piglet, said Pooh. ‘What you have just said will be a Great Help to us, and because of it I could call this place PoohandPiglet Corner if Pooh Corner didn’t sound better, which it does being smaller and more like a corner. Come along.’

So they got down off the gate and went round to the other side of the wood to fetch the sticks.

Extracted from The House At Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne published by Egmont £14.99. Text © The Trustees of the Pooh Properties 1928. © Line illustrations E. H. Shepard 1927. Colouring 1970 and 1973 © E. H. Shepard and Egmont UK Ltd. Reproduced with kind permission from Curtis Brown, London, on behalf of The Shepard Trust.

To order a copy for £11.99 (20 per cent discount), visit

King John’s Christmas by A.A. Milne 

King John's Christmas is a poem by Winnie-the-Pooh creator A.A. Milne and was first published in 1927 in a collection called Now We Are Six

King John’s Christmas is a poem by Winnie-the-Pooh creator A.A. Milne and was first published in 1927 in a collection called Now We Are Six

King John’s Christmas is a poem by Winnie-the-Pooh creator A.A. Milne and was first published in 1927 in a collection called Now We Are Six. 

King John was not a good man —

He had his little ways.

And sometimes no one spoke to him

For days and days and days.

And men who came across him,

When walking in the town,

Gave him a supercilious stare,

Or passed with noses in the air —

And bad King John stood dumbly there,

Blushing beneath his crown.

King John was not a good man,

And no good friends had he.

He stayed in every afternoon…

But no one came to tea.

And, round about December,

The cards upon his shelf

Which wished him lots of Christmas cheer,

And fortune in the coming year,

Were never from his near and dear,

But only from himself.

King John was not a good man,

Yet had his hopes and fears.

They’d given him no present now

For years and years and years.

But every year at Christmas,

While minstrels stood about,

Collecting tribute from the young

For all the songs they might have sung,

He stole away upstairs and hung

A hopeful stocking out.

King John was not a good man,

He lived his live aloof;

Alone he thought a message out

While climbing up the roof.

He wrote it down and propped it

Against the chimney stack:

‘To all and sundry — near and far —

F. Christmas in particular.’

And signed it not ‘Johannes R.’

But very humbly, ‘Jack.’

‘I want some crackers,

And I want some candy;

I think a box of chocolates

Would come in handy;

I don’t mind oranges,

I do like nuts!

And I should like a pocket-knife

That really cuts.

And, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,

Bring me a big, red, india-rubber ball!’

King John was not a good man —

He wrote this message out,

And gat him to this room again,

Descending by the spout.

And all that night he lay there,

A prey to hopes and fears.

‘I think that’s him a-coming now!’

(Anxiety bedewed his brow.)

‘He’ll bring one present, anyhow —

The first I had for years.’

‘Forget about the crackers,

And forget the candy;

I’m sure a box of chocolates

Would never come in handy;

I don’t like oranges,

I don’t want nuts,

And I have got a pocket-knife

That almost cuts.

But, oh! Father Christmas, if you love me at all,

Bring me a big, red, india-rubber ball!’

King John was not a good man,

Next morning when the sun

Rose up to tell a waiting world

That Christmas had begun,

And people seized their stockings,

And opened them with glee,

And crackers, toys and games appeared,

And lips with sticky sweets were smeared,

King John said grimly: ‘As I feared,

Nothing again for me!’

‘I did want crackers,

And I did want candy;

I know a box of chocolates

Would come in handy;

I do love oranges,

I did want nuts!

And, oh! if Father Christmas, had loved me at all,

He would have brought a big, red,

india-rubber ball!’

King John stood by the window,

And frowned to see below

The happy bands of boys and girls

All playing in the snow.

A while he stood there watching,

And envying them all…

When through the window big and red

There hurtled by his royal head,

And bounced and fell upon the bed,

An india-rubber ball!

AND, OH, FATHER CHRISTMAS,

MY BLESSINGS ON YOU FALL

FOR BRINGING HIM

A BIG, RED,

INDIA-RUBBER

BALL!

Taken from Now We Are Six by A. A. Milne published by Egmont, £14.99. Text copyright © The Trustees of the Pooh Properties 1927. ©Line illustrations E. H. Shepard 1927. Colouring by Mark Burgess © 1989 Egmont UK Limited. Reproduced with kind permission from Curtis Brown, London on behalf of The Shepard Trust.

To order a copy for £11.99 (20 per cent discount), visit

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