'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Review: A Boy Called Christmas

I tend to sigh when I receive a book that is apparently 'a new classic'. It seldom lives up to the hype. But, I'm pleased to say this one does. I would love to believe that this really is the true story of how Father Christmas came to be — it's funny, heart-warming and imaginative. Simply put, it's all that's best about Christmas.

Nikolas is an ordinary boy living in the middle of Finland. His mother has died, so it's just him and his dad — a woodcutter — in their small cottage. They are very very poor. Nikolas has only received two presents in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip and a wooden sleigh.

In an effort to earn a large sum of money, and make their lives a bit more comfortable, his father agrees to be part of an expedition that will head to the Far North to try to find Elfhelm, the legendary elf village. Nikolas will stay behind and be looked after by his Aunt Carlotta (not the nicest woman in the world).

When Nikolas's father doesn't return as scheduled, and life with Aunt Carlotta becomes unbearable, Nikolas decides to head north and find his dad. What follows is an epic quest involving a mouse, reindeer and yes, elves. The illustrations scattered throughout are a gorgeous addition to the story — I particularly loved the front pages of the elf newspaper The Daily Snow.

Matt Haig is an award-winning, bestselling author for both adults and children. With A Boy Called Christmas I think he really has created a new classic. I enjoyed every word on every page, and I plan to start a new 'Twelve Days of Christmas' tradition this year by reading it with my daughter each night.

I'd recommend asking Santa for a copy!

Title: A Boy Called Christmas
Author: Matt Haig
Illustrator: Chris Mould
Publisher: Canongate, $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: December 2015
Format: Hardcover with jacket
ISBN: 9781782117896
For ages: 8+
Type: Junior Fiction

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