Sonderbooks     Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

More info from

Rate this Book

Sonderbooks 70
    Previous Book
Young Adult Fiction
Children's Nonfiction
Children's Fiction
Picture Books
        Previous Book
        Next Book

2003 Stand-outs
2002 Stand-outs
2001 Stand-outs

Five-Star Books
Four-Star Books
Old Favorites
Back Issues
List of Reviews by Title
List of Reviews by Author

Links For Book Lovers

About Me
Contact Me
Post on Bulletin Board

I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***Letters from Father Christmas

by J. R. R. Tolkien

Reviewed January 20, 2004.
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1999.  157 pages.
Available on for $14.00 in hardcover.

Big thanks to Lauri Ann Donovan for giving this book to us.  Letters from Father Christmas isn’t exactly a traditional picture book, but that seemed to me to be the closest category it fit into.

Starting in 1920, when his son Christopher was three years old, and ending in 1943 when his youngest daughter was outgrowing them, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote letters for his children from Father Christmas.  This is a different edition than one I’d seen before.  This one shows copies of the letters and the decorated envelopes and pictures that went with them, but it also has all the text printed out.  Tolkien wrote Father Christmas’ words in a shaky hand, because it was so cold at the North Pole, and Father Christmas was so very old.  This makes the letters rather difficult reading, and it’s nice to have the print as well.

Tolkien didn’t settle for boring letters about what the children were getting for Christmas.  He made all sorts of adventures for Father Christmas and his helpers at the North Pole.  The main character is the North Polar Bear, who helps Father Christmas, but always seems to cause trouble, too.  There are adventures with Christmas crackers going off when they shouldn’t, and goblins stealing the presents and elves defending Father Christmas.  Tolkien was quite an artist, and the accompanying pictures are beautiful, creative, and entertaining.

This is a fun Christmas book showing the playful side of J. R. R. Tolkien.

Reviews of other books by J. R. R. Tolkien:
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings
Smith of Wooton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham

Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

-top of page-