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Letters From Father Christmas (Anglais) Broché – 1 octobre 2009
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They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone North 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, and many more.
No reader, young or old, can fail to be charmed by Tolkien’s inventiveness in this classic holiday treat.
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Dans Les aventures de Tom Bombadil (1962), Tolkien déploie son talent pour les assonances ingénieuses. En 1968, il enregistre sur disque les Poèmes et chansons de la Terre du Milieu, tirés des Aventures de Tom Bombadil et du Seigneur des Anneaux.
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien est décédé en 1973.
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While this book does not relate to his Middle Earth universe, it is easy to recognize the origin of some of its characters. The goblin attack on Santa's cellar presages the Goblin-Elf wars in Lord of the Rings. Santa's elf-secretary Ilbereth is the obvious progenitor of the ancient elf-queen Elbereth. We even get a glimpse of elvish writing and the goblin alphabet!
If you have the chance, buy the new revised version of this book. I have the 1991 reissue edition. It is only 48 pages long, and omits the letters from 1920 - 1924 and from 1939-1942 . The new edition is one hundred pages longer and contains previously unpublished material.
"Letters From Father Christmas" is a collection of the Letters that J.R.R. Tolkien's children received from Father Christmas (what they call Santa in England) during the over twenty years between 1920 and 1943.
Each letter is reprinted along with their accompanying illustrations. Father Christmas' letters are beautiful in their own right, but I am blown away by his illustrations. Some of this art deserves to be in a museum.
The letters each tell a story. The North Polar Bear (Santa's friend and assistant) figures prominently in these tales. Other characters (elves, goblins, the snow man--who is Father Christmas's gardener, and the man in the moon) add depth and humor to these tales from the North.
Some of these letters had my daughter rolling with laughter as we read them together. They are quite funny no matter what age you happen to be (the Polar Bear's commentaries had me laughing).
This is a great book. Readers cannot fail to be moved by these letters and stories. I give "Letters From Father Christmas" my highest recommendation.
If you plan on buying this FANTASTIC book, avoid the version with fold out letters enclosed within. All the letters are cut down to one page, regardless of their original length.
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. They aren't terribly realistic -- Father Christmas never looks quite real -- but their detailed fantastical charm makes up for it, such as the murals on Father Christmas's walls, with suns, moons, stars and trees.
Tolkien also sprinkles the stories with things that his kids were probably intrigued by, like prehistoric cave paintings, fireworks, and a comic bear who causes all kinds of mayhem. And fans of Tolkien's fantasy works will probably enjoy checking out things like the invented Elf language (as written by the secretary Ilbereth) and goblin language. Tolkien includes a letter from the North Polar Bear in the latter language.
"Letters From Father Christmas" won't exactly make you believe in Santa Claus again, but it is one of the prettiest and most charming Christmas picture books out there. Definitely recommended -- and not just for Tolkien fans too.