Published November 1st 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published November 12th 2015)
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
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.
Matt Haig's latest offering opens up with a grumpy-looking illustration of an elf - deftly rendered by Chris Mould - with the quote, "'Impossible.' - an old elf swearword." Which basically tells any reader that they're in for an amusing, intelligent ride.
And what a ride it is. Nikolas - a.k.a. Christmas, since he was born on Christmas Day - is immediately likable from the first page, with his optimism and cheer, even in the face of of a hardscrabble life. Even when his father goes missing, Nikolas takes it on himself to go after him, with bravery and optimism.
What follows is a whimsical, elaborately-constructed world full of grumpy reindeer, elves and adversity that pushes Nikolas beyond anything he's ever imagined. But he also learns plenty along the way, which helps him prepare for the knowledge of his eventual future as Father Christmas. With great-writing at every interval, this is both a magical tale that will inspire readers of all ages during the holiday season, and also serve as a fantastic read-along.
All in all, A Boy Called Christmas is an unusual, enchanting story that is a perfect twist on the holiday season. Highly recommend for Matt Haig fans, and also fans for who are looking for good holiday reads either to gift themselves, or as gifts.
About the author & illustrator:
Matt Haig is an internationally bestselling author whose novels for children and adults have been translated into 26 languages. His children’s books have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Alex Award, and the Blue Peter Book Award, and been nominated several times for the Carnegie Medal and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. He lives in Brighton, England, with his wife and two children. He lives in Brighton, on the south coast of England, with his wife and two children. Visit him at matthaig.com and follow him @matthaig1