Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Tony Abbott
Illustrator:  Greg Call 
For ages 9 to 12
Scholastic, 2005   ISBN: 978-0439749428

Orphaned at an early age Kringle lives in the woods with an old woman called Merwen. They live in a dark time when the Roman legions are pulling out of Britain and when the goblins, dark and evil creatures, are running wild across the land. The goblins, in addition to destroying villages and killing people, are stealing children, taking them away to some unknown and no doubt dreadful place. Kringle and Merwen think they are safe in their little cottage but soon enough the goblins find them. Merwen is taken prisoner but Kringle manages to escape and he runs as fast as he can into the woods hoping that he will be able to rescue Merwen soon.

What Kringle does not expect is to find a whole community of elves living in the woods. In their hidden world Kringle has time to rest and heal and to start thinking about what he is going to do next. From the elves Kringle learns about the joy of giving to others. He also learns about a secret which the elves have tried to keep out of the hands of the goblins for many years and he discovers what the goblins are up to and what their ultimate, and diabolical, plan is.

This extraordinary saga about Kringle (whom many of us call Santa or Father Christmas) is captivating. Sometimes dark, and always exciting, readers will discover how Kringle came to ride a sleigh drawn by flying reindeer, how he delivers his gifts in one night, why he gives children gifts at all, and how he came to meet and work with the elves. A wonderful tale about good versus evil, the author has gathered together lore about Santa from many sources to create this tale which is a fabulous combination of history, myth, fable, and fairytale.