Torvil’s was most definitely one of the town’s richest elves. In fact, as the owner of its only toyshop, he had done rather well for himself. But whereas most people who make money are happy to share it with their family and friends, Torvil kept his fortune all to himself.
(The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller. P19.)
Jackson has always wondered where Father Christmas came from. How did he come to be the man who delivered all the presents around the world.
Then, one magical night, Father Christmas arrives and takes Jackson on the ride of a lifetime. Along the way, he tells a story. A story about a stingy elf who never thought of those less fortunate, until one night three strange beings showed him a different way of thinking.
A Christmas Carol meets the magic of the North Pole.
Join Jackson on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for the answer to the ultimate question – how did Father Christmas get his position?
There are two parts to this story – the strand in which we see Father Christmas and Jackson, and the story of Father Christmas’s – or should I say Torvil’s – life. It is this second strand where the action and development takes place, so the story is about Torvil and not Jackson.
Let me be clear – this is a retelling of A Christmas Carol. Although the landscape is different and there are some minor changes (Torvil, does not, for example, face his own grave,) the plot builds in just the same was as the original Christmas classic. What Ben Miller has done is made it accessible to younger children, and added a bit of Christmas sparkle for bigger kids.
This narrative has never been more relevant – young Torvil’s claims that he will grow up to help the poor fade as he grows older and greedier. At a time when politicians are putting their own personal feuds and whims above the increasing number of Foodbank users, it is important for children to understand why the wealthy and powerful need to think about others.
The world is full of magic – think snowy hills and starry skies and reindeer.
Accepting that this is a retelling, I think it brings the story to a younger audience. Snuggle up and listen with wonder to the story of Father Christmas himself.