Matt Haig's A Boy Called Christmas gives us a possible story of Santa Claus's boyhood. Eleven-year-old Nikolas' his father; a poor woodcutter , Nikolas has a hard life, but he never complains. Living in the second-smallest cottage in Finland, he spends his time day dreaming of magical things - pixies and elves. Nikolas considers his father’s bedtime story the best part of his day. A small, brown mouse Miika, who dreams of cheeses of all types and forms, often sneaks into the cottage to share in hearing these stories. The two have very little possessions - Nikolas only has a turnip doll and a sleigh.
When the hunter, Anders, convinces Nikolas’ father to join a band of men seeking to prove the existence of Elfhelm and reap a large reward from King Frederick, Aunt Carlotta comes to care for Nikolas. However, her cruelty in forcing Nikolas to sleep outside and in failing to give him enough to eat result in his running away to find his father. Facing danger and bitter cold, Nikolas aids the reindeer Blitzen, removing one of Anders’ arrows from Blitzen’s leg .
. The two succumb to the frigid cold; Father Topo and his granddaughter Little Noosh, two elves, rescue them and take them to Elfhelm. Angered because humans have kidnapped an elf child, Father Vodol, the head elf and owner of the “Daily Snow” imprisons Nikolas and Miika. Sharing their cell, Nikolas meets Sebastian, a troll, and a Truth Pixie, who delights in using hewlip to make other people’s heads explode.
A daring escape allows Nikolas and Miika to track Joel, Nikolas’ father, and the kidnappers. After rescuing the elf child and returning him to Elfhelm, Nikolas makes the decision to remain there. The balance of “A Boy Called Christmas” follows Nikolas’ growth and integration into Elfhelm society, the creation of Santa’s workshop, and the legend of Santa Claus and his gift giving.
Chris Mould’s illustrations complement the story of “A Boy Called Christmas” and are well done and appropriate for the 8-12-year-old.
One thing we must remember is that this is a fiction story based on the real-life St. Nicholas. It is a suppostion.
I personally really enjoyed this book. It brings out to children that good does overcome evil.
Well written and very entertaining. Any child will love this book.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.