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Letters From Father Christmas Paperback – November 15, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Tolkien at his relaxed and ingenious best' The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

J.R.R. TOLKIEN (1892–1973) is the creator of Middle-earth and author of such classic and extraordinary works of fiction as The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. His books have been translated into more than fifty languages and have sold many millions of copies worldwide.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Paperback: 111 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Revised edition (November 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618512659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618512652
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 7.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892.1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.

Customer Reviews

This is a charming book, full of wonderful illustrations drawn by Tolkien himself.
Red Pineapple
J.R.R. Tolkien was best known for his epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" and his studies in myth and language.
E. A Solinas
Would recommend this anyone who wants a nice book to share with their family at Christmas time.
Lauri J. Crowell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

160 of 164 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 4, 1997
Format: Hardcover
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his children a beautifully illustrated letter from Father Christmas each year. They are wonderful and witty adventures, with the holiday ever-threatened by the antics and errors of the bumbling North Polar Bear. Somehow F.C. and the elves always managed to stay up all night and make enough toys to save the day. The original edition of these letters, "The Father Christmas Letters," has been hard to find for some years. This newer edition was promising- each letter was enclosed in an envelope (much like the "Griffin and Sabine" books)- a nice touch, and expensive for the publisher to produce. Unfortunately, they did not go to the additional expense of actually including the full letters if they were longer than one page, as many are. Each year gets a single page, regardless of the actual length of the original letter. So many of the stories and adventures are cut off with no resolution. This edition is poorly slapped-together and unworthy of the artistry of the originals. Whomever is responsible should be ashamed.
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130 of 135 people found the following review helpful By Craig on December 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It is not surprising the creator of Middle Earth, and the father of the fantasy genre, would create such an elaborate, creative collection of Christmas stories for his children. This book is a nice addition to my library, as it contains the text of the letters, as well as Tolkien's hand-drawn illustrations and North Pole post markings.
While this book does not relate to his Middle Earth universe, it is easy to recognize the origin of some of its characters. The goblin attack on Santa's cellar presages the Goblin-Elf wars in Lord of the Rings. Santa's elf-secretary Ilbereth is the obvious progenitor of the ancient elf-queen Elbereth. We even get a glimpse of elvish writing and the goblin alphabet!
If you have the chance, buy the new revised version of this book. I have the 1991 reissue edition. It is only 48 pages long, and omits the letters from 1920 - 1924 and from 1939-1942 . The new edition is one hundred pages longer and contains previously unpublished material.
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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on November 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"Letters From Father Christmas" is stunningly beautiful. I have no words to describe how wonderful this book is. It is a great book for the Christmas season.
"Letters From Father Christmas" is a collection of the Letters that J.R.R. Tolkien's children received from Father Christmas (what they call Santa in England) during the over twenty years between 1920 and 1943.
Each letter is reprinted along with their accompanying illustrations. Father Christmas' letters are beautiful in their own right, but I am blown away by his illustrations. Some of this art deserves to be in a museum.
The letters each tell a story. The North Polar Bear (Santa's friend and assistant) figures prominently in these tales. Other characters (elves, goblins, the snow man--who is Father Christmas's gardener, and the man in the moon) add depth and humor to these tales from the North.
Some of these letters had my daughter rolling with laughter as we read them together. They are quite funny no matter what age you happen to be (the Polar Bear's commentaries had me laughing).
This is a great book. Readers cannot fail to be moved by these letters and stories. I give "Letters From Father Christmas" my highest recommendation.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Greg Webster on November 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My father's copy remains one of my favorite Christmas books, but when I bought this planning on reading it to my children, I hadn't noticed that many of the letters were cut short without any warning or explaination.

If you plan on buying this FANTASTIC book, avoid the version with fold out letters enclosed within. All the letters are cut down to one page, regardless of their original length.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
J.R.R. Tolkien was best known for his epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" and his studies in myth and language. But Tolkien was also the proud dad of four kids -- and he didn't just read "Hobbit" to them at bedtime. Over the course of many years, he wrote and illustrated detailed, whimsical letters from Father Christmas, populated with a clumsy polar bear, elves and goblins.

In these letters, Father Christmas kept the Tolkien children updated with stories about the hijinks at the North Pole -- the slapsticky North Polar Bear and all the things he broke, firework explosions, the discovery of ancient caves full of old cave drawings, and battles with the goblins. (When Father Christmas couldn't write, his Elvish secretary filled in)

When reading these letters, it's hard to imagine any luckier kids in the Christmases of the '20s and '30s. After all, how many children gets detailed letters and pictures from Father Christmas -- complete with special stamps? Tolkien's love for his kids is evident in the care he took to create these letters, and the affection that comes from "Father Christmas" that is written in.

Tolkien's old-school style of writing is a bit formal and very correct, but he tosses in comments of exasperation, amusement, and in the last letter, a sort of sad resignation that children will grow up. Maybe it is because they were given to real children, not intended for publication, that the letters are only a little cutesy, and never cloying.

And of course, Tolkien's detailed, colorful, fantastical, intricate pictures are what make the letters come alive; you can imagine the Tolkien kids eagerly examining the pictures as well as the written words.
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