Author Matt Haig knows what middle school readers like in a book and he didn't stop dishing it out cover to cover.
Amelia Wishart is ten when she writes Father Christmas a letter asking for one thing, to make her mother well. He fully intends to do all he and his magic can until multiple disasters strike in Elfhelm on Christmas Eve.
The story takes place in two locations that couldn't be more different: Elfhelm, where it is clean and only ever gets as cold as you want it to be, and in 1841 London, where it is dirty, cold and unfriendly place to orphans.
The characters in the story are quite fun. Amelia and Father Christmas both have strong personalities with a firm determination to get things done. Mr. Creeper is just as his name predicts, he is creepy and not a nice man at all. The guest appearances of a ruling head of state and a famous author are perfect. One passage was hilarious and it took me several minutes to sop laughing before I could continue reading. I was amused.
This is not a book for an adult to read for their own entertainment. They should read it aloud to and with their children in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The humour is mostly directed towards children, as it should be in a children's book. Yes, there is potty humour and kids find this wildly funny. This is bound to become a favourite that families will find themselves re-reading year after year. You do not need to have read Mr. Haig's earlier book, A Boy Called Christmas, to enjoy this one.
I received an ebook review copy from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review.