Sunday, December 18, 2016

Letters From Father Christmas

Letters From Father Christmas. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1976/1999. 160 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Dear John, I heard you ask daddy what I was like and where I lived. I have drawn me and my house forr you. Take care of the picture. I am just off now for Oxford with my bundle of toys--some for you. Hope I shall arrive in time: the snow is very thick at the North Pole tonight. Your loving Father Christmas.

Premise/plot: The earliest letter from 'Father Christmas' to the Tolkien children is 1920. The latest letter is dated 1943 to his daughter, Priscilla. The letters speak of Father Christmas' affairs--his adventures and misadventures. Little details about the Tolkiens slip through, of course. He refers to their letters in which they mention pets and toys, etc. He speaks of Polar Bear, his greatest assistant. He speaks of red elves--some. But Father Christmas has a war to fight of his own--against the goblins! (Christmas is almost sabotaged several times!)

My thoughts: I like this one. It is an interesting collection shared with readers. Original letters and pictures (illustrations) are shared. But each letter is also typed up making it easier to read. (Father Christmas has very, very shaky writing. And Polar Bear, well, English is NOT his first or even second language. And he writes with such big paws.) His longest letter is from 1932, and this features, I believe, the first mention of the GOBLINS.

My Dearest Priscilla,
I am so glad you did not forget to write to me again this year. The number of children who keep up with me seems to be getting smaller: I expect it is because of this horrible war, and that when it is over things will improve again, and I shall be as busy as ever. But at present so terribly many people have lost their homes: or have left them; half the world seems in the wrong place. And even up here we have been having troubles. I don't mean only with my stores: of course they are getting low. They were already last year, and I have not been able to fill them up, so that I have now to send what I can instead of what is asked for. But worse than that has happened.
I expect you remember that some years ago we had trouble with the Goblins; and we thought we had settled it. Well, it broke out again this autumn, worse than it has been for centuries. We have had several battles, and for a while my house was besieged. In November it began to look likely that it would be captured and all my goods, and that Christmas Stockings would all remain all over the world. Would not that have been a calamity? It has not happened--and that is largely due to the efforts of Polar Bear-- (142, December 22, 1941)

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous said...

This sounds like a nice little compilation that I might enjoy. I haven't read nearly the Christmas books that I would have liked this year.

Nan said...

This is a wonderful book which we bought for our children. And now look forward to reading to our grandchildren.

Joy Weese Moll said...

What fun! I had no idea that Tolkien did this.