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A Boy Called Christmas

by Matt Haig
Illustrated by Chris Mould

Published by U.S. edition: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016
234 pages
ISBN: 978-0-399-55265-6

Ages 6-9

“…if you’re one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you. Because this book is full of impossible things.” Nikolas and his father don’t have much, but being together has always been enough for Nikolas. Then a hunter asks Nikolas’s father for help locating Elfhelm, land of the elves. In exchange, he’ll and earn enough money to change their lives. Miserable Nikolas is left with his aunt (Dahl-esque in her disregard for him), and runs away. An injured reindeer, whom Nikolas helps and names Blitzen, joins him on the journey to find his father. Nikolas has heard stories from his father about the elves’ magic, and goodness, and happiness, but with a few exceptions it’s all in short supply when he finally reaches Elfhelm. A new leader there has practically outlawed kindness, and all humans are suspect since the recent kidnapping of a young elf. Nikolas realizes his father is one of the kidnappers and becomes determined to rescue the elf child. A warm, funny, spirited story has moments of poignancy, as when Nikolas sees his father in a new, upsetting light, but is nonetheless full of delight. Occasional black-and-white illustrations perfectly echo the droll narrative tone. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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