Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on 11/1/16
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: The Publisher
Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible. . . . Lemony Snicket meets Elf in this warmhearted Christmas caper.
Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him.
Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .
Sparkling with wit and warmth, A Boy Called Christmas is a cheeky new Christmas classic-in-the-making from acclaimed author Matt Haig and illustrator Chris Mould.
This book is perfect for the MG grade and younger set (and for the young at heart)—adorable, entertaining, bittersweet and just a teensy bit irreverent. This isn’t a rehash of an old Christmas story that you’ve seen a million times before—it’s something completely new.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Nikolas. Well, of course we have to start with the little boy himself. Nikolas is scrappy and resourceful and completely loyal to his father. When he heads off into the frozen wilderness to find him, you can’t help but feel for the poor lost and lonely boy. His belief in magic helps him throughout his journey, and Nikolas doesn’t give up hope, even when things look very bleak for him.
- Elves, trolls, pixies and reindeer! This book has them all! I loved Haig’s take on all of these magical creatures and what makes each unique. I especially loved Blitzen, who was Nikolas’s first magical friend and helped get him out of quite a few tight spots!
- A message of hope. When Nikolas finally finds the elves, he finds that they’re not what he expected. Something has happened to change the elves from the jolly creatures we know from our Christmas stories (I don’t want to give any spoilers, so I won’t say what—but I will just say that the elves have lost faith in humanity). I love that this book explores both the good and bad sides of humanity and ends with a message of hope and love. Nikolas learns that the world is not as perfect as he imagined it to be, but that he can do something to make it a better place.
- The illustrations. The illustrations sprinkled throughout the book are utterly adorable! I loved them all!! Below is just one of the adorable illustrations. Check out Haig’s Twitter post for more.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- A few of the immature elements. This is totally a personal thing, but I could have done without a few of the goofier elements like reindeer peeing on people. But I have a feeling my kids will LOVE those parts, so …
Haig’s take on how Father Christmas came to be is unique, fun and magical!! I just discovered that there’s another one called The Girl Who Saved Christmas and I’m eager to pick that one up now. I give this book an enthusiastic 4/5 stars!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in 1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as ‘delightfully weird’ and the New York Times has called him ‘a novelist of great talent’ whose writing is ‘funny, riveting and heartbreaking’.
His novels for adults are The Last Family in England, narrated by a labrador and optioned for film by Brad Pitt; The Dead Fathers Club (2006), an update of Hamlet featuring an 11-year-old boy; The Possession of Mr Cave (2008), about a man obsessed with his daughter’s safety, and The Radleys (2010) which won Channel 4’s TV Book Club public vote and was shortlisted for a Galaxy National Book Award (UK). The film rights to all his adult novels have been sold. His next adult novel is The Humans (2013).
His multi-award winning popular first novel for children, Shadow Forest, was published in 2007 and its sequel, The Runaway Troll, in 2009. His most recent children’s novel is To Be A Cat (2012).