Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The girl who saved Christmas Audio

The girl who saved Christmas Audio

Matt Haig
For ages 8 to 10
Unabridged audiobook (Digital)
Performed/read by: Carey Mulligan
Listening Library, 2017 

Two years ago, during the reign of Queen Victoria, Father Christmas left his home in Elfhelm and traveled to the world of humans. For the first time ever, Father Christmas wanted to “give human children a reason to be happy and to believe in magic.” He wanted to deliver gifts to the world’s children to give them a much needed boost in the happiness department.

There was so little hope in the hearts of children that Christmas Eve night, and without hope, and the magic that came with it, Father Christmas and his reindeer were having a hard time completing their mission. Then a thin thread of hope filled with a magical light brought Father Christmas to 99 Haberdashery Road in London. There he entered the home of a girl, Amelia, whose belief in magic was so strong that Father Christmas was able to complete his debut flight that night.

One year ago Amelia wrote to Father Christmas, thanking him for the gift that he gave her the year before. She asked if he could bring her a new brush for sweeping chimneys, a spinning top, a book by Charles Dickens, and a cure for her mother. The last item on her list was the most important. Amelia’s mother was dreadfully ill and she needed help. That Christmas trolls attacked Elfhelm on Christmas Eve, and Father Christmas was unable to leave his home to deliver treats to the children of the world. Amelia’s mother died and the poor grieving child was taken to Mr. Creeper’s workhouse where her life became a living hell. Cruelty, terrible living conditions, and loneliness eroded away Amelia’s hope, and thus the magic that had drawn Father Christmas to her faded.

Christmas Day is just around the corner once again and the elves at Elfholm have been preparing for Father Christmas’ big trip. The buildings and the other things that the trolls destroyed last year have been repaired, and Father Christmas is looking forward to delivering gifts to children all over the world. In particular he is looking forward to visiting Amelia again.

When Father Christmas takes to the sky in his sleigh he soon notices that the amount of hope floating around is very subpar. In fact, it is so low in quality and quantity that the reindeer are unable to stay aloft and they crash through a window in Buckingham Palace and disturb none other than Queen Victoria herself. The Queen is not best pleased, and it takes all of Father Christmas’ charm to convince her that he is who he says he is.

With the queen’s blessing Father Christmas sets off to visit Amelia, but when he gets to 99 Haberdashery Road he finds that a large bewhiskered man is in her room. He learns that Amelia’s mother has died and he sets out to find the child. He needs to make sure that she is alright, and more than anything he needs her help to bring a little joy into the lives of the world’s children.

This delightful holiday tale will charm young listeners. The author tells us a wonderful story, but he also reminds us that the yuletide is all about hope and believing in possibility. It is a time when we need to embrace the good things that make life truly worth living.