A Boy Called Christmas
by Matt Haig
Published: 1 November 2016
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Age Level: Middle Grade (ages 8-12)
Source: Provided by Publisher
My Rating: 4/5!
Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible. . . . Lemony Snicket meets Elf in this warmhearted Christmas caper.
Eleven-year-old Nikolas—nicknamed “Christmas”—has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him.
Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things—if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .
Sparkling with wit and warmth, A Boy Called Christmas is a cheeky new Christmas classic-in-the-making from acclaimed author Matt Haig and illustrator Chris Mould.
This time of year can be one of magic and wonder for so many around the world. Families and friends get together, people shop and create gifts for their loved ones, the air smells of pine and cookies, there is a feeling of giving and good cheer you can't help but share with others. Having the opportunity to add this charming novel to the list of magical things during the holidays is absolutely perfect. I am enchanted with A Boy Called Christmas!
Nikolas is by no means a spoiled child. He hasn't had a traditional Christmas experience growing up, only receiving a handful of gifts in his short life, but he is a happy kid. His father, however, feels bad for not being able to provide his son with everything he believes he deserves, so he accepts a job that takes him away from his son... but he is gone far longer than anticipated. Nikolas is left with his selfish, horrid Aunt, but figures he would be better off braving the freezing cold temperatures to search for his father. So he leaves on an adventure with only his friend mouse, Miika, and has quite an adventure along the way.
Our main character, Nikolas, is a really good kid. He is kind, thoughtful, hopeful, and brave. He truly believes in magic and is determined to make people happy every day like his mother did before she passed away. A wonderful boy, right? I was touched by how happy and goodhearted he was determined to be even with his humble upbringing. It really makes you think about what you truly need in life to be happy, as opposed to what you think you need. Anyway, I loved Nikolas and his friends he meets on his journey. One friend is an injured reindeer he names Blitzen. Talk about determination! Just when Nikolas thinks he may not be able to make it any further up the mountain, Blitzen carries him and keeps moving forward. I want a Blitzen!
This is the first book I have read by Matt Haig, and I must say, I like his style. The pace, writing style, cheeky voice, and everything in between was absolutely marvelous and magical. He has a distinct voice that draws the reader in and makes you want more, more, more! If all of his books are like this, there is no reason why I shouldn't read them all as soon as humanly possible. Also, the illustrations by Chris Mould are amazing! I have decided I want some of the prints for my desk at work, they are that magical.
Though this is an origin story of the jolliest of legends, Santa Claus, the message is timeless. Believe in magic. Be true to yourself. Do what is right. There is sadness, danger, and uncertainty, but also joy, hope, love, and humor to be found within the pages of this story. I have a feeling A Boy Called Christmas is going to become a holiday tradition for many a reader and family. I know it will for me!