That time of year is fast approaching again and it couldn’t have come sooner for this post, as I meant to review this treat last year and then forgot for whatever reason it was that I forgot. I forget now what that was.
Christmas, it seems then, is on the way and so in my extremely low paid job as your official present advisor – we really should talk about a pay rise – I have, after much tough research, come up with this book, which is a brilliant choice, if I do say so myself and I do for I am always right and very humble about it.
Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R.Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.
They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining-room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!
Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and ‘authenticity’ of Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas.
Tolkien’s creative side has incredible depth as we all know, so the time he took to craft these letters should not surprising in itself. First off they start out short and fairly skimpy, but once he gets into his stride and his children get older, of course, the range of artwork and his storytelling really comes to the fore. The letters themselves have been crafted to have a very authentic look about them, one imagines the originals would have something of the inordinately exhilarating about them when that years envelope arrived.
These wonderful, gentle tales of fun and whimsy are great to dip into but it’s almost too tempting – and easy – to devour them all in one go. The lovely illustrations coupled with the wonderful cursive script give weight to the lavish feel of the whole project. Some of the words can be a little hard to decipher though, at times, but on the opposite page the text is clearly printed so this doesn’t become an issue and allows you to peruse conveniently and still remain absorbed in the mood.
Not only will children be enchanted and immersed into these letters, but adults will get to relive the magic that seems to have been grated away due to the commercial, capitalistic and downright terrible part of Christmas. This is one book then, that you can treasure and know will be treasured by others, with its very innocent hi-jinks and magical, colourful mood that feels full of history as is Tolkien’s way.
Perhaps this is a great christmas present for somebody else…if you haven’t already treated yourself to this one, after all the usual stress. I would advise you get the bigger book though, it just looks so much more superior and makes things much more arresting.