"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Book Report: Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien



The book club I'm in charge of here in Kansas wanted to read a Christmas themed book this month. Last year for December, since it's crazy and hectic, we all shared our favorite kid books instead of reading a book. This year I suggested a bunch of different books, most of which I have never read, and the members who responded unanimously wanted to read this book by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was sort of funny because the members who replied were also the members who I know for a fact lean more towards science fiction than the rest of us.

This book is basically a children's book with huge illustrations throughout. It is the collection of letters that Tolkien wrote to his children, over a twenty-three year period, as Father Christmas. The first letter arrived in 1920 when his oldest son, John, was three years old. He continued on through the childhoods of his three other children; Michael, Christopher and Priscilla. The last letter arrived to Priscilla in 1943.

In these letters Tolkien creates, through words and pictures, his friends, his house and the events that take place at his home in the North Pole. We are introduced to Polar Bear, an elf assistant named Ilbereth, and various other characters. They save Christmas from Goblins, from Polar Bear's mischief and disaster, as well as the limited resources of World War II.

The book includes Father Christmas's illustrations, copies of his beautiful letters with his exquisite handwriting, along with notes from Polar Bear and Ilbereth.

It is a fun, quick read. I read it in two separate nights about a week apart, but it could be read in an evening curled up next to the fireplace. I love that Tolkien's kids were so important to him that he went through the time and effort to create all of this. So fun.

1 comment:

wendys said...

It sounds really neat, thanks for the book review!

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