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Letters from Father Christmas
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Letters from Father Christmas [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by J.R.R. Tolkien (Author), Derek Jacobi (Narrator)
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews

This recording comprises a festive reading of letters written by Tolkien to his children, in the guise of Father Christmas, over a period of 20 years. The letters tell the adventures, and misadventures, of Father Christmas' life at the North Pole, and of his helpers, the mischievous North Polar Bear and sensible Ilbereth the Elf. The letters are perfect for reading aloud, with plenty of humor. They also are interspersed with carols and Christmasy music to give a real seasonal feel.
© The J.R.R Tolkien Copyright Trust; © The J.R.R. Tolkien Copyright Trust 1997, 2004; (P)1997 HarperCollins UK

Product Details

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 2 hours and 7 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • Release Date: October 4, 2005
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000BO2D5U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
160 of 164 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Return to Sender November 4, 1997
By A Customer
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 136 people found the following review helpful
By Craig
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
5.0 out of 5 stars a stunningly beautiful book November 24, 2001
"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
2.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic collection tragically edited short November 10, 2010
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Letters from Santa November 3, 2004
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The illustrations by J. R. R. Tolkien are are his stories of his adventures at the North Pole.
Published 1 day ago by David Severance
1.0 out of 5 stars Total waste of time.
Don't waste your time. Just don't.
Published 1 month ago by Jason Crawford
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Lovely book.
Published 2 months ago by Diane
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 2 months ago by Lois J. Rhoades
5.0 out of 5 stars My children and I enjoyed reading Tolkien's letters from "Father...
This is a lovely book. My children and I enjoyed reading Tolkien's letters from "Father Christmas," written to his own children, and seeing how they grew and changed as... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Beth H.
2.0 out of 5 stars ... print was too small for children to see and enjoy! at least on the...
The print was too small for children to see and enjoy! at least on the copy I received. Is there a larger copy available!
Published 2 months ago by Love to read mysteries
5.0 out of 5 stars How wonderful that these were all saved and now shared with ...
We read this every December. I have 4 children and we read a letter or two most evenings during the holidays. The drawings and stories are so lovely. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kathryn C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Kind father Beautiful illustrations
The care and affection Tolkien poured into these letters surprised me. I loved the presentation and the transcription in text. Read more
Published 3 months ago by MsFloyd49
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book.
Published 3 months ago by Brenda Collins
1.0 out of 5 stars Hello, I'm not a new Customer in France. ...
Hello, I'm not a new Customer in France...but it was my first international purchase;
There is no problem .thank you.
Published 3 months ago by NICOLLE ALONSO
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