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The Three Wishes

A Christmas Story

Alan Snow

Pavilion Children's


ISBN: 9781843653868

Price: £ 12.99

Publication date: 12 November 2020

ISBN: 9781843655039

ASIN: 9781843655039

Price: £ 6.99

  Our price: £

Publication date: 12 November 2020

Category: Picture Books

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A beautifully-told and stunningly-illustrated Father Christmas origin story. 

Coming together like a perfect festive jigsaw, this story explains all of the traditions and myths around Santa Claus, from how he travels around the world in one night, how his sleigh and reindeer can fly, and why he leaves presents, to the origins of his red coat.

A young boy is herding his family’s reindeer when they are drawn into a mysterious cave. The cave is the holder of eternal summer, looked after by three strange characters – a wooden creature, a bird and a fish. Once entered, the cave cannot be left without time in the outside world standing still. In his sadness at not being able to leave, the boy is granted three wishes and chooses freedom, happiness and time. He is told that they will all be granted – eventually.

After the first year of working hard in the summer cave, the boy is allowed to see his family in the outside world. Time stands still as he visits his parents, and he leaves gifts behind to show that he has visited. As the years go by, this annual visit continues and he begins to call on not only his parents, but more and more other families… and Christmas traditions as we know them, start to be created.


Alan Snow is an award-winning children’s book illustrator and designer who has worked on more than 160 books. His novel, Here Be Monsters (OUP, 2005), was made into an animated film, The Boxtrolls, which spent several weeks at the top of the UK box office in 2015. Fascinated with ‘how things work’, Alan turned his attentions towards the kitchen, acquiring sophisticated equipment such as vacuum machine, centrifuge, freeze dryer and shock chiller, and has developed his own culinary ‘lab’. He has since consulted for The Ethicurian restaurant. Alan now runs workshops and courses for professional chefs and cooks. His gastronomic experiments are due to be filmed for a documentary. Alan has won numerous awards for his work as a children’s book illustrator as well as for design and computer animation. 



'From the stately text to the beautiful illustrations – suggestive of hand-stitched quilts, all the way to their elaborate borders – it works superlatively well.'

Financial Times, 'Best Children's Books for Christmas'

'This fetching and original picture book tells an imaginative origin story for Father Christmas ... It combines the realistic, the ornamental and the surreal.'

The Sunday Times, 'Children's Books of the Year'

'The illustrations here are just so utterly beautiful, with their folk aesthetic – rich with patterned borders and colour ... Enchanting.'

The Independent, ‘Best Christmas Story Books'

'A clever Santa Claus origin story, which reads like a fable and is brought to life by the unusual, stylish illustrations… If you’re looking for a well-written, thoughtful seasonal tale without a hint of glitter or sparkles, this is for you.'

Irish Independent, '50 Most Magical Reads for Young Bookworms'

'With illustrations that capture the essence, atmospherics and quirkiness of the adventure through time, The Three Wishes is destined to become a Christmas family favourite.'


Lancashire Evening Post

'A really beautiful story - important morals, magical ideas and amazing illustrations.'

'This is such a lovely idea, beautifully and thoughtfully executed. Questions about how Santa gets around the world in one night, why his clothes are red and how his reindeer fly are cleverly answered, and the overall feel is that of a timeless folk tale with nods to Scandinavia and various myths and legends throughout.'

Little Literary Society

'A fresh and fascinating Christmas tale ... beautiful words and art.'

Storytime magazine

'Evocative, timeless illustrations bring this imaginative story vividly to life.', November Book of the Month

'Once read never forgotten! This delightful new Christmas classic feels like it has existed for hundreds of years.'

Creative Steps