Review: The Smelly Sprout, by Allan Plenderleith

Day five of advent posts is about Allan Plenderleith’s Christmas story The Smelly Sprout.

Image courtesy of

What it’s about:

Sprouts are rarely anyone’s favourite veggie but The Smelly Sprout is having a particularly bad time. Left at the bottom of the veg basket, he is chucked unceremoniously out into the cold on Christmas Day, left to find his true home. A Christmas tree rejects him, as does a snowman without a nose. Will The Smelly Sprout ever find his forever home?

Sam’s review:

As a lifelong avoider of sprouts, I came to this book agreeing with the title. Yes, sprouts are smelly – before and after they are ingested. But I was keen to see what else Allan Plenderleith had to say about this little sprout, so I decided to use the book as my Year 2 storytime piece. It was also the first festive title I’ve read this year, and I am very glad that it was.

The Smelly Sprout is terribly funny, in words and in pictures. The idea of a poor sprout being rejected by everyone and everything in its path rang true, but it was hard not to feel sorry for the little fellow as he eagerly looked for his new home. The children loved the illustrations, particularly this one, with the woman’s crazy hair:

Image courtesy of

The repeated refrain of “Out, Smelly Sprout!” was quickly learned by the group, who loved shouting it out when prompted. (In fact, this group was the first I think I ever have come across where sprout lovers were in the majority!)

The story does have a moral at the end, but it’s deftly handled and doesn’t sink into sentimentality. Throughout the tale, the humour is maintained and the children loved guessing what would happen next. The drawings were more like something you would find in a broadsheet newspaper – intelligent and quirky, and intermingled with photography (in some of the larger images of the sprout it had been created by a photo of the veg, with eyes drawn on).

I am not the greatest fan of Christmas-themed books but I must say that The Smelly Sprout has become my favourite.

Do you like sprouts?

What is your favourite Christmas book for children?


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