***Letters from Father Christmas
by J. R. R. Tolkien
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1999. 157 pages.
Available on Amazon.com for $14.00 in hardcover.
Big thanks to Lauri Ann Donovan for giving this book to us. Letters
from Father Christmas
isn’t exactly a traditional picture book, but that
seemed to me to be the closest category it fit into.
Starting in 1920, when his son Christopher was three years old, and ending
in 1943 when his youngest daughter was outgrowing them, J. R. R. Tolkien
wrote letters for his children from Father Christmas. This is a different
edition than one I’d seen before. This one shows copies of the letters
and the decorated envelopes and pictures that went with them, but it also
has all the text printed out. Tolkien wrote Father Christmas’ words
in a shaky hand, because it was so cold at the North Pole, and Father Christmas
was so very old. This makes the letters rather difficult reading, and
it’s nice to have the print as well.
Tolkien didn’t settle for boring letters about what the children were
getting for Christmas. He made all sorts of adventures for Father
Christmas and his helpers at the North Pole. The main character is
the North Polar Bear, who helps Father Christmas, but always seems to cause
trouble, too. There are adventures with Christmas crackers going off
when they shouldn’t, and goblins stealing the presents and elves defending
Father Christmas. Tolkien was quite an artist, and the accompanying
pictures are beautiful, creative, and entertaining.
This is a fun Christmas book showing the playful side of J. R. R. Tolkien.
Reviews of other books by J. R. R. Tolkien:
The Lord of the Rings
Smith of Wooton Major
and Farmer Giles of Ham
Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund. All
-top of page-