This week saw the opening of A Boy Called Christmas at the cinema, based on the utterly brilliant book of the same name by Matt Haig. Many children’s books have been adapted over the years, from Roald Dahl to Julia Donaldson, and of course, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, so get yourself some popcorn and plenty of hot chocolate ready for festive reads that all have TV or cinema adaptations you may know.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg is a fabulously festive tale of trust, faith and belief. The stunning illustrations bring the children’s adventure to life, and is one of my favourite Christmas films that started life as a picture book.
Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.
Bah! Humbug by Michael Rosen, and illustrated by Tony Ross is a raucous retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens which has had numerous outings on screen. Keeping true to the language and spirit of the original, this modern take shows just how relevant this story still is today in busy modern families.
In a school theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol”, the boy who plays Scrooge is extra nervous because his very busy father is in the audience. However, it’s likely his father won’t stay for the duration, due to business. As always. Will the classic story’s message of Christmas cheer and family love reach his father’s distracted heart?
The Lost Magician by Piers Torday hasn’t been adapted itself, but is an ode to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia which has, and it’s an absolute delight! To take a classic and reimagine it for modern readers is a fearsome task that Piers Torday has excelled in, creating a magical fantasy all of his own. Celebrating the power of reading, this is a story that sang to my soul, whisking me back under a blanket and reading by the light of the calor gas heater in my childhood home.
I was captivated from beginning to end, and revelled in the world of Folio. From the characters, who show the different ways war affects people, to the glorious settings within Folio and the abundance of characters from well loved books, there is much to capture the reader’s imagination and, with subtle messages about the power of imagination as a way to heal, much to think about too.
Having survived the Blitz, Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry are sent to Barfield Hall while their parents find them a new home in London. The mysterious Professor Kelly is working on a top secret project to end human conflict once and for all, which leaves the children plenty of time and freedom to explore. They soon discover another world on the brink of war. It’s up to the children to draw on their experiences and choose which side they are on before the battle begins. But is there a way to prevent the two sides from destroying each other?
A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig is the first in a magical series about the real life of Father Christmas, and is for those of you who truly believe that the impossible can happen. With enchanting illustrations by Chris Mould throughout the book, bringing the inhabitants of Elfhelm to life as Nikolas’ adventure unfolds, this will have tears of sadness, joy and laughter flowing freely.
Matt Haig sprinkles wisdom about kindness and goodness throughout Nikolas’s journey to the Far North as he faces adversity after adversity, from the cruelty of his own Aunt, the suspiciousness of the elves and the greed of the person he trusts the most. Imagination and a heavy sprinkling of Christmas magic make this the perfect family read that will thaw the hardest of humbug hearts.
You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible. If you are 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.
Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin . . .
A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.