'Grumpy squirrel' story wins Amazon Christmas Writing competition

'Grumpy squirrel' story wins Amazon Christmas Writing competition

A digital marketing manager has won the Amazon Christmas Writing Competition for his tale of a greedy squirrel who learns compassion from “three wise trees”.

Mike Doodson, 30, penned children’s book, A Christmas Squirrel, for his newborn daughter’s first festive season.

A digital marketing manager for a technology solutions business from Mobberley, Cheshire, Doodson, beat hundreds of entries in the search to find a modern equivalent to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol which was launched in October.

His story about "compassion and forgiveness strengthens the narrative’s spirit of community and diversity”, according to the judges, which included storyteller Taffy Thomas MBE, children’s author and presenter Cerrie Burnell, as well as last year’s winner Lucy Banks, and members of the Amazon UK books team.

The book has been hand-illustrated by artist Ian Beck and has been published by Kindle Direct Publishing, available in paperback or digital. Doodson has also won a £2,000 Amazon UK gift card, a Fire tablet and marketing campaign to support his book’s launch. As a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) author, he will earn royalties of up to 70% from sales of the book which retails at £2.79 in digital and £4.49. It was published on Friday (8th December).

The story follows a “grumpy, greedy squirrel” who discovers the spirit of generosity from three wise trees and learns to share with the woodland creatures around him.

Thomas praised the link to the natural world and described it as a “great story of rhyme and reason”.

He said: “Mike’s story is magical and will delight families this Christmas, and I particularly like the food-sharing element of Mike’s re-telling.”

Beck described it as “the story of a Christmas squirrel is a perfect depiction of the meaning behind A Christmas Carol”.

Alessio Santarelli, Amazon’s EU Kindle content director, added: “Mike’s story stood out for us as a particularly heart-warming tale. It’s interesting to learn that Mike kept his aspirations to be an author so quiet before entering the competition – we are thrilled to be able to celebrate his story as a new author using Kindle Direct Publishing this year.”

Doodson, who wrote the story in tribute to his six-month-old daughter, Anais, said: “The themes of redemption, repentance and forgiveness underpin the magic of this time of year and regardless of whether I won or not, I thought an uplifting take on the classic would be the perfect Christmas present for my daughter.”

Last year’s winner was freelance copywriter Lucy Banks for her story about a slug living under the floorboards at Christmas in a retelling of Clement Clarke Moore's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas'.