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Father Christmas and Me Hardcover – November 6, 2018
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About the Author
As well as being a number-one bestselling writer for adults, Matt Haig has won the Blue Peter Book Award, the Smarties Book Prize and been shortlisted three times for the Carnegie Medal for his stories for children and young adults. The idea for the Christmas series came when his son asked what Father Christmas was like as a boy.
Chris Mould went to art school at the age of sixteen. He has won the Nottingham Children's Book Award and been commended by the Sheffield Children's Book Award. He loves his work and likes to write and draw the kind of books that he would have liked to have had on his shelf as a boy. He is married with two children and lives in Yorkshire.
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A little over a year ago, I read “A Boy Called Christmas,” and earlier this month I read the second book in this series, “The Girl Who Saved Christmas” which was equally as charming, as fun, and as magical as his first. I knew I would love the third, and so I began “Father Christmas and Me” and it was no surprise to me that it was as charming as the first two.
This begins where the second book leaves off, and Amelia Wishart is now living with her new adoptive parents, Father Christmas and Mary Christmas in Elfhelm.
”But Elfhelm is an ordinary town in lots of ways. A small town. An oversized village, really. And there are normal things there, like shops and houses and a town hall. There are streets and trees and even a bank.
“But the people who live there are very different to me. And very different to you too.
“They aren’t even people. Not human people anyway.
“They are special. They are magic.
“They are, well…
“They are elves. But the thing is, if you are surrounded by elves, it isn’t the elves that are the weird, unusual creatures.
I loved the artwork in this book, all of the books in this series, I loved the story, the frequent nod to the magical elements that had a quirky twist on those normal completely non-magical things in life.
”There was a reindeer clock in the living room, which was like a cuckoo clock but instead of a cuckoo popping out it was a reindeer. Oh, and it didn’t tell ordinary human time with boring things like ‘six o’clock’ and ‘twenty past nine’. It told elf time, and elf hours were called things like Very Early Indeed and Way Past Bedtime.”
I loved that this was written for children, to be read to a child would make it even more magical all the way around, and it is silly enough, more than charming enough and yet entertain even those old enough to have children of their own. Magical!
The artist responsible for the wonderful illustrations is Chris Mould, and they really are beautifully matched to this wonderful holiday story.
In this story we get to meet Amelia Wishart, a young girl who feels that she doesn’t belong anywhere after the death of her mother and a father nowhere to be seen. With no-one to look after her, Amelia ended up at Mr. Jeremiah Creeper’s Workhouse. That was until Father Christmas took her, and Mary, who worked in the kitchen, to his home in Elfhelm, a magical place that is not visible to humans.
Elfhelm is a magical town, filled with laughter and joy. The villagers, mainly elves and pixies, are mostly happy little people, until Father Vodol, a very bad elf starts causing trouble (again). This time he is trying to get rid of Father Christmas, Mary and Amelia, and will do everything and anything he can to succeed and banish the humans from Elfhelm, along with ruining Christmas for everyone too.
Will Father Vodol succeed, or will Amelia be able to prove that Vodol is spreading fake news, show the folk of Elfhelm just how bad an elf he really is and save Christmas?
I didn’t realise when I read Father Christmas and Me that it was the final part in a trilogy, which does mean that although starting at the beginning is best, it can be read as a standalone too.
The book is filled with magic and goodness, but also a reminder of how bad some people can be, and how fake news can travel fast, causing lots of people pain and heartache.
Amelia is a lovely little girl who through no fault of her own, has had an awful childhood. That was until Father Christmas saved her. She isn’t completely happy in Elfhelm and still doesn’t feel like she fits in perfectly, as she has to attend elf school, where she is taller than all the other children, and the adults too. Plus Elf school work isn’t like human school work, so she doesn’t feel as clever as all her elf classmates.
What I like about Matt Haig’s books is how he can make you become emotionally attached to his characters, whilst entertaining you with his superb stories. He sprinkles a little bit of magic onto each page and has children excited to read and use their imaginations, in an age where it often feels like technology has taken over and books are being left behind.
This is an exciting, adventurous book that is a little bit zany, but is a whole lot of fun. It includes lots of amusing illustrations by Chris Mould. Plus you also get to discover why you receive chocolate eggs at Easter too!
Reviewed on Whispering Stories Book Blog
*I received a free copy of this book, which I voluntarily reviewed
I second this right after The Girl Who Saved Christmas, and it did prove that this series works better read in order. I think this was my favorite, although I loved them all! There is a political undertone to this that is hard to overlook but I personally liked it, there's a wedding, newspapers, elf classes, rabbits, SO MUCH CHOCOLATE (I had to eat chocolate twice while reading it). So good.