Friday, November 18, 2016

Book review - A Boy Called Christmas

Title: A Boy Called Christmas
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: fantasy, humor
Similar books: Suddenly, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
                     The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli
a silly story with heart

Summary (provided by publisher): 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.

My opinion: Haig takes elements from the life of Saint Nicholas and a variety of Santa Claus stories to create this truly individual novel. While there is magic, it is magic with clear rules and limits. Its a truly funny story. The humor does tend towards the low brow (think reindeer ... releasing... mid-flight) but that will add to the appeal for young readers. It's not all fun and games though. There are some rather serious scenes, some rather grim in fact, which young readers might actually absorb better with a dose of humor. All in all, it's not a book that the average reader will spend much time contemplating or revisiting but with  quirky line drawings and a sharp sense of humor it's pretty entertaining.

Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley

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