‘Danger,’ yelled Limpy. His warts were prickling with panic. If his rellies didn’t shift their buttocks soon, they’d be wearing them as eyebrows.
I’m very grateful to have a group of characters who help me explore serious things in a funny and silly way. Partly because some serious things are best explored that way, and partly because I can spend time with these funny characters when I need a break between writing books that explore serious things in a more serious way.
For example, each time I’ve finished a Felix book in the Once series, I’ve been emotionally drained and exhausted by the experience of writing it. So how pleasant and what a relief to visit a familiar swamp and hang out with Limpy and Goliath and Charm for a few months.
Toad Surprise was the result of one of these visits. It gave me the chance to have Limpy and the others bumping up against humans in a different kind of way – still with a bit of fear and trepidation, but with a desire to show humans how helpful and friendly toads can be.
Limpy discovers what an important time Christmas is to humans, and how it brings out the best in them. Peace and goodwill, for example, two things Limpy has always wanted to share with humans.
When he and Goliath bump into a friendly bloke with a red suit and a white beard, Limpy can’t believe his luck. What better way to offer peace and goodwill to humans than by being Santa’s helpers?
As long as the bloke in red is actually Santa.