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Letters from Father Christmas [Paperback]

J. R. R. Tolkien
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2009

The first ever B-format edition of Tolkien’s complete Father Christmas letters, including a new introduction and rare archive materials.

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R.Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.

They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas’s house into the dining-room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories. No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by the inventiveness and ‘authenticity’ of Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas.

To mark ten years since the publication of the complete edition of Tolkien’s Letters from Father Christmas in 1999, this new edition is the first time the letters have been available in B format.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (1 Oct 2009)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 0007280491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007280490
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

J.R.R. Tolkien was born on 3rd January 1892. After serving in the First World War, he became best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, selling 150 million copies in more than 40 languages worldwide. Awarded the CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University, he died in 1973 at the age of 81.

Product Description

Review

‘Tolkien at his relaxed and ingenious best’
The Times

From the Back Cover

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R.Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas.

This special edition contains a selection of these enchanting letters and pictures and will delight fans old and new - of both J.R.R. Tolkien and Father Christmas!

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting 28 Feb 2006
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
J.R.R. Tolkien was best known for his epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" and his studies in myth and language. But Tolkien was also the proud dad of four kids -- and he didn't just read "Hobbit" to them at bedtime. Over the course of many years, he wrote and illustrated detailed, whimsical letters from Father Christmas, populated with a clumsy polar bear, elves and goblins.
In these letters, Father Christmas kept the Tolkien children updated with stories about the hijinks at the North Pole -- the slapsticky North Polar Bear and all the things he broke, firework explosions, the discovery of ancient caves full of old cave drawings, and battles with the goblins. (When Father Christmas couldn't write, his Elvish secretary filled in)
When reading these letters, it's hard to imagine any luckier kids in the Christmases of the '20s and '30s. After all, how many children gets detailed letters and pictures from Father Christmas -- complete with special stamps? Tolkien's love for his kids is evident in the care he took to create these letters, and the affection that comes from "Father Christmas" that is written in.
Tolkien's old-school style of writing is a bit formal and very correct, but he tosses in comments of exasperation, amusement, and in the last letter, a sort of sad resignation that children will grow up. Maybe it is because they were given to real children, not intended for publication, that the letters are only a little cutesy, and never cloying.
And of course, Tolkien's detailed, colorful, fantastical, intricate pictures are what make the letters come alive; you can imagine the Tolkien kids eagerly examining the pictures as well as the written words.
Read more ›
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Was this review helpful to you?
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every house should have one 18 Aug 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My mum used to read this to us when we were children - it really added to the magic of Christmas, especially as 'Father Christmas' then used to write notes to us on the back of beautiful postcards.

Tolkien builds a fabulous picture of Father Christmas's world in a way that shows how he understood children so well - of course there has to be a North Pole, and I never forgot the stories of the North Polar Bear climbing up to get Father Christmas's hat back and breaking it because he had been eating rather a lot and was a bit plump! The goblins were a bit scary, the North Polar Bear a bit scatty (one year he went to sleep in the bath and the cellars got flooded ruining all the presents so that year there nearly weren't any presents at all). So beautifully illustrated and magical, my brother and I would beg my mum to re-read the book every year in the lead up to Christmas and when we got our cards from FC it was always a highlight of Christmas morning. My mum never wrote as much as Tolkien or drew pictures, but a few lines in shaky writing thanking us for the sweets we left out and and telling a small story to explain if we hadn't quite got what we'd asked for was part of the magic of Christmas - it stopped us complaining if we got something different and we always treasured the cards - who says everything about Christmas has to be expensive! Every friend of mine gets a copy when they have their first child.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb! 8 Sep 2004
By Rearda
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a treasure, and I thank the Tolkien Estate, and Tolkien's own family for allowing their personal letters to be shared with the wider public. The illustrations (all by JRR Tolkien himself) are enchanting. Original calligraphy samples are included with full typesets of each letter. Father Christmas' explanations for shortages (during WWII) and other mishaps (the Goblin's invaded) are a wonderful read. His helpers, a Polar Bear and a secretarial Elf, enter the story and never leave, as the saga continues each Christmas. Never mind the kids - buy this one for yourself.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspired 20 Nov 2001
Format:Hardcover
This is a fantastic book. The stories of the North Polar Bear are funny and engaging for Children of all ages. The Children in my local library were reading it with obvious delight with lots of "ooooh look at that mummy" "I really like that picture" so I bought a copy and I wholeheartedly agree with them!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars North pole tales 26 Feb 2007
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
J.R.R. Tolkien was best known for his epic fantasy "Lord of the Rings" and his studies in myth and language. But Tolkien was also the proud dad of four kids -- and he didn't just read "Hobbit" to them at bedtime. Over the course of many years, he wrote and illustrated detailed, whimsical letters from Father Christmas, populated with a clumsy polar bear, elves and goblins.

In these letters, Father Christmas kept the Tolkien children updated with stories about the hijinks at the North Pole -- the slapsticky North Polar Bear and all the things he broke, firework explosions, the discovery of ancient caves full of old cave drawings, and battles with the goblins. (When Father Christmas couldn't write, his Elvish secretary filled in)

When reading these letters, it's hard to imagine any luckier kids in the Christmases of the '20s and '30s. After all, how many children gets detailed letters and pictures from Father Christmas -- complete with special stamps? Tolkien's love for his kids is evident in the care he took to create these letters, and the affection that comes from "Father Christmas" that is written in.

Tolkien's old-school style of writing is a bit formal and very correct, but he tosses in comments of exasperation, amusement, and in the last letter, a sort of sad resignation that children will grow up. Maybe it is because they were given to real children, not intended for publication, that the letters are only a little cutesy, and never cloying.

And of course, Tolkien's detailed, colorful, fantastical, intricate pictures are what make the letters come alive; you can imagine the Tolkien kids eagerly examining the pictures as well as the written words.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little read
Just so lovely how a father would go to so much effort for soooo many years, it made me believe all over again. Beautiful illistrations and original letters makes it so more real.
Published 14 days ago by Lena C
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful little book, ideal cosy Christmas reading
Although I'm a huge fan of ebooks, this was one time where I knew that only the hardback version would do and I was not disappointed. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Set-in-Middle-Earth
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasure to Read
Fantastic to be able to see a different side of Tolkien through his letters to his Children.
Love the illustrations and the Polar Bear is my Favourite :)
Published 1 month ago by Izzy
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Absolutely lovely book. Not well known among the Tolkein books but a lovely addition. My wife was absolutely delighted with it.
Published 1 month ago by donniemaclean@amserve.net
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Tolkien is my favourite writer and this book is a wonderful collection to my bookcase. They are such delightfully innocent and fantastical stories about the adventures of Father... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jack D
5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift
I bought this for a gift for two people. One has yet to receive it but the other was delighted and I hope it will get passed along the family.
Published 3 months ago by Amy McAteer
5.0 out of 5 stars The spirit of christmas.
If only all dads were like this. The letters Tolkien sent his children from Father Christmas with pictures and tales from the north pole.
Beautiful.
Published 3 months ago by Jo Jo
2.0 out of 5 stars Cute, but not a Christmas book I would read every year...!
Sweet letters written from Father Christmas to the same children it seems, but I love reading and re-reading books to my daughter every Christmas with fond memories of the stories... Read more
Published 3 months ago by C. Grear
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book
Wanted my own copy after doing this at school with my Year 4 class before Christmas. They loved it and were inspired to write some beautiful letters to Father Christmas and the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sally Erkul
5.0 out of 5 stars Christmas book for my 8 year old
I bought this as a special Christmas Eve present for my 8 year old daughter, this is such a beautiful book and very special to read, she has enjoyed reading this and retelling some... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Hayley
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