Age Range: 8 +
A Boy Called Christmas was under my Christmas tree last year and I loved the story so much that I read the whole book on Christmas Day. I’ve just read it with my daughter and she was hooked too. It’s a wonderful festive read in which hope, kindness and the joy of giving triumph over poverty and greed.
The blurb on the back of the book states ‘You are about to read the true story of FATHER CHRISTMAS’.
The Story: Eleven year old Nikolas is left at home in Finland with mean Aunt Carlotta while his father, Joel, goes off to seek proof that elves exist. After several months Nikolas escapes from his aunt and heads north to look for his father. On the way he rescues an injured reindeer, Blitzen, and eventually they find Elfhelm, the elf village. But not all of the elves welcome him and Nikolas discovers that a group of humans has kidnapped one of their elves, Little Kip. Happiness and frivolity have been suspended so Nikolas decides to go and look for Little Kip in the hope that he can bring joy back to Elfhelm…
When Nikolas arrives in Elfhelm it isn’t how Joel described it in bedtime stories. There are deep divisions between the elves and many are unhappy. Throughout the book Nikolas is instrumental in helping the elves restore order and happiness to their village as well as discovering how he can make himself happy. His adventures throughout the story, some magical, some more tragic, keep you turning the pages and, despite the poverty and desperation in his situation, also contain humour. My daughter thinks The Truth Pixie is hilarious (she always tells the truth but often regrets what she has said!) and she found it funny that some of the hunters didn’t know what a toilet was (they hadn’t been invented when Nikolas was a boy!).
A Boy Called Christmas is a magical, funny, festive adventure which tells the story of how Father Christmas came into being. We are introduced to the origins of his sleigh, how he was given the name Father Christmas, how reindeer fly and why he wears a red hat. The chapter telling us how and why the very first stocking was used leaves us with a warm fuzzy feeling and the reason behind the invention of Christmas crackers makes us laugh. I loved watching my daughter’s face light up when she recognised the reindeer’ names and made connections with the other Christmas traditions that we keep.
Chris Mould’s black and white illustrations are a wonderful complement to the story. His picture of Sebastian the troll makes us laugh but our favourite is ‘How to Spickle’ (the elves do a particular type of dance called spickle dancing). We also love the newspaper front pages which report on the development of Father Christmas’ plans and Aunt Carlotta’s face when Blitzen flies over her is priceless!
A Boy Called Christmas is the perfect read for this time of year. However, its promotion of kindness, the joy of giving and the importance of having hope is a message that is not just relevant to Christmas. Nikolas’ uplifting story shows that anything is possible when you have determination, hope and a little bit of magic…
‘An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet’
I would really love to find a copy of Matt Haig and Chris Mould’s new book, The Girl Who Saved Christmas, under my Christmas tree this year 🙂