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Letters From Father Christmas Paperback – November 15, 2004
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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 The new edition is one hundred pages longer and contains previously unpublished material.
"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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Incredible book with incredible images. A true classic.Published 1 month ago by Paul W. Westermeyer
Written and illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien, Letters From Father Christmas is a charming collection of personal letters that Tolkien send to his children under the guise of Father... Read morePublished 2 months ago by dann michalski
A little more damaged than I thought it would be. All the pages are present so that's what counts!Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This picture book is a classic! Our children loved it when they were young and still do as adults. It's a MUST read around Christmas.Published 6 months ago by Helen Came
Captures the magic of Christmas. I love this book. Tolkien's lettees to his children are beautiful, whimsical and sweet. A must have for any Tolkien fan.Published 6 months ago by Liz Stevens
Such a fun book! I read it with with my children, and I enjoyed it more than I expected. This is a collection of letters that J.R.R. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Julie L. Stout
Enjoyed the letters and pictures! Wonderful how he kept Christmas alive and special for his children during difficult times and the war.Published 7 months ago by Rachel
What a charming little tradition that Tolkien had of writing to his children and helping them experience the wonder of Christmas. Read morePublished 7 months ago by StroupyDays