Scholastic UK has bagged two books from Steven Butler with the first, Humbug: The Secret Life of a Christmas Elf, inspired by his sister, an NHS nurse, and "the tireless lives of our key workers”.
Ruth Bennett, former senior commissioning editor at Scholastic UK, acquired world rights from Isobel Gahan on behalf of Stephanie Thwaites at Curtis Brown. Humbug is set to be published in October 2022.
The book will follow Gristle P Humbug and his fellow elf family who run the Reindeer Poo Disposal department at Santa Claus’ Christmas Workshop. Everything changes, however, when Gristle finds a lost note from a little girl who is worried her Christmas won’t be magical this year.
Butler said: “I vowed I would never write a Christmas story. However, a new idea threw itself across my path after many conversations with my sister who works tirelessly as a nurse for the NHS.”
He added: “These valiant people who behind the scenes keep the world ticking along are mostly unseen and undervalued. Last Christmas, when we were all stuck indoors, my mind drifted to Santa Claus’ workshop. Who feeds the elves? Who takes care of the reindeer? Who keeps the fires lit? Gristle P Humbug’s story is my love letter to all the NHS staff, the carers, the cleaners, the teachers and all the heroes who keep us going.”