book review,  Books

Book Review: A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

I’ve read and reviewed plenty of stories so far that were set in Christmas, but only a few that were about Christmas itself – and none for kids. That was a situation that was more than rectified by Matt Haig’s book, A Boy Called Christmas – easily my favorite of this season. This story will delight both kids and adults alike.

Boy Called Christmas


 A Boy Called Christmas 
 Matt Haig  
 Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers  
 November 1, 2016  


Before there was Santa Claus, there was a young boy who believed in the impossible.

Eleven-year-old Nikolas–nicknamed “Christmas”–has received only one toy in his life: a doll carved out of a turnip. But he’s happy with his turnip doll, because it came from his parents, who love him. Then one day his father goes missing, and Nikolas must travel to the North Pole to save him. Along the way, Nikolas befriends a surly reindeer, bests a troublesome troll, and discovers a hidden world of enchantment in the frozen village of Elfhelm. But the elves of Elfhelm have troubles of their own: Christmas spirit and goodwill are at an all-time low, and Nikolas may be the only person who can fix things–if only he can reach his father before it’s too late. . . .

Sparkling with wit and warmth, A Boy Called Christmas is a cheeky new Christmas classic-in-the-making from acclaimed author Matt Haig and illustrator Chris Mould.

“The definitive (and funny) history of ho, ho, ho! My children loved it.” –Yann Martel, bestselling author of Life of Pi

“The most evergreen, immortal Christmas story to be published for decades.” –Stephen Fry, actor and comedian

Review of A Boy Called Christmas

Lighthearted, quirky and just good fun, Matt Haig’s telling of the story of how Father Christmas came to be was simply irresistible, as were the charming illustrations by Chris Mould. It is magical, it has adventure, danger, even some darker moments, and through it all, Nikolas never gives up hope.


– An old elf swearword.

Possibility and hope abound in this adventure as Nikolas goes off in search of his father and the elves he believes do exist. The kids were properly disgusted by mean Aunt Carlotta and Father Vodol and fell in love with the elves of Elfheim (eventually).  Naughty Blitzen made us giggle, as did the Truth Fairy (who has quite a mean streak for a fairy!)  This was such a fun take on the origins of Father Christmas, and one that puts the focus on giving and doing good for others is something any parent can be pleased with.

I received a review copy of A Boy Called Christmas, but a hard copy is making its way to me now, as this deserves a place in our Christmas library, indeed.

About the Author

Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as ‘delightfully weird’ and the New York Times has called him ‘a novelist of great talent’ whose writing is ‘funny, riveting and heartbreaking’.  You can find Matt Haig on Twitter and on his website.

Disclosure: I was provided an advanced reader copy by NetGalley and the publisher. All thoughts, opinions and typos herein are my own. This review includes affiliate links, which help feed my coffee habit and pay my hosting fees but cost you nothing.

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