Billy Chrismas by Mark A. Pritchard is published in paperback by Alan Squire in association with Santa Fe Writer's Project, priced £14.50 (ebook £7.01). Available now from for £11.02 in paperback.

It's the week before Christmas and nearly a year since teenager Billy Christmas's dad mysteriously disappeared on Christmas Day. With his mum bereft and suffering from depression, Billy hopes to bring a little festive cheer to their lives by bringing home a Christmas tree. But this is no ordinary tree, it's even come with 12 of its own special decorations.

The tree comes to life every day after midnight and gives Billy a task connected to each of the decorations, which when completed will renunite him with his lost father. But the tasks, from chopping up his garden fence to fighting the school bully, seem destined to get him into trouble. And as Christmas gets nearer, there's no guarantee Billy's father will be found.

Pritchard's debut novel is a magical treat in the grand tradition of children's Christmas tales - he's a natural storyteller, whose characters will engage and delight even the most hard-hearted scrooge.


(Review by Kate Whiting)