Selby Santa, by Duncan Ball

Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

Selby is back in another series of crazy adventures centred on Christmas, as Selby sets out to prove the existence of Santa Claus. In this book, the fifteenth in the Selby series, Selby again gets himself in and back out of a number of scrapes and awkward situations, especially when he tries to stand in for Santa in a flying sleigh invented by Dr Trifle. During his escapades Selby meets some interesting characters, one of whom is inspired after meeting Selby to write a series about Blake Romano and his secret agent dog.

I particularly liked the story of Selby making Christmas ‘pressies’ for the Trifles and the way even when Selby gets things wrong, it somehow works out right. Selby’s insights into people are priceless, like Aunt Jetty who he describes as having, ‘the feelings of a flea.’

The quirky situations, word play and humour make these stories a joy to read. The collection includes a play and a couple of Selby’s poems. This is a book children will pick up and chuckle over time and time again. I know my grandson will. He started with his father reading him ‘Selby Shattered.’ In the end he couldn’t wait for Dad to get around to reading the next chapter, so started reading it himself. Though at least a couple of years under the age group these books are intended for, he was so captivated by this talking dog and his antics that he has read several Selby books since. They are his favourite chapter books.

I can’t wait see his face when he receives Selby Santa at Christmas. I’m sure he’ll be delighted with this new addition, which includes some of the usual characters like Selby’s owners, Dr and Mrs Trifle and Garry Gaggs as well as the usual inclusion of Paw notes that refer readers to stories from other Selby books. Selby Santa also includes 15 Christmas stickers. The book is sure to be a hit with kids of all ages.

Selby Santa by Duncan Ball
Published by Angus&Robertson – an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, Australia
Paperback 175 pages
RRP $12.99
Published November 2007
ISBN 9780732286798
suitable for ages 7 and up