The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket and Brett Helquist

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‘The holiday season is a time for storytelling, and whether you are hearing the story of a candelabra staying lit for more than a week, or a baby born in a barn without proper medical supervision, these stories often feature miracles.’

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The Lump of Coal, like Lemony Snicket’s other holiday book, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, follows the travails of a Christmas outsider destined for the flames. Unlike the unfortunate latke, the lump of coal embraces his fiery destiny but not before he achieves his ambitions.

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‘Like many people who dress in black, the lump of coal was interested in becoming an artist… one day it would get to draw rough black likes on a canvas or, more likely, on a breast of chicken or salmon filet by participating in a barbeque.’

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This is Snicket at his most Snickety, full of authorial interjections and witty observations and a cast of oddballs. Along the way the coal meets a snooty gallery owner, a fake Korean restaurateur and a fake Santa (the real one is at the Mall), before ending up in the stocking of another wannabe artist called Jasper.

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Happily, Brett Helquist, Snicket’s partner on the Series of Unfortunate Events, is back on illustration duties.

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Few people do downcast as well as Helquist and he successfully produces the least smiley piece of Christmas un-cheer since the Little Match Girl.

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The Lump of Coal is published by Harper Collins





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