12 Days Of Xmas Book Reviews, Day 11: The Night Before The Night Before Christmas
By Emma Davis
23rd December 2018
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator: Jim Field
Grandpa Christmas is one of the stand out books published for this Christmas. Reviewing it is difficult as it’s hard to find the words to adequately justify the brilliance of this book.
The story is centred around Mia who once received a very special letter from her Grandpa as a Christmas present. Grandpa’s love for Mia and his wishes for her future are captured magically by Michael Morpurgo. In the letter, he reminisces, sharing memories of Mia as a young girl, playing and helping him in his garden. However, he also shares his concerns about the future of the earth if we do not look after her…
‘The life of this world is as fragile as you are, as I am, as trees are, as butterflies and bees and birds are, as worms and frogs are, as plants are.’
His message to Mia is clear, the earth is at risk if we don’t begin to take better care of her, protecting the oceans, reducing landfill, eliminating war and not melting the ice caps or overheating the planet. For Mia’s future, he wants her to breathe in good clean air, drink clear water and live in a world where we grow and eat only what we need. No one should ever go hungry. Grandpa dreams of a world where animals roam freely and sea creatures can live in peacefulness in an unpolluted sea. The overarching message from this gorgeous book is summed up beautifully at the end of Grandpa’s letter…
‘Live always in rhythm, in harmony with this earth.’
Every year, Mia hides her diary under the branches of the Christmas tree. Everyone knows what is kept hidden in the diary – Grandpa’s letter. Reading the letter aloud becomes part of the family tradition, with everyone wishing Grandpa Christmas a Happy Christmas so it’s almost as if he is there with them.
Michael Morpurgo’s words are incredibly touching and, coupled with the stunningly beautiful illustrations by Jim Field, this book is sensational. The illustrations perfectly capture the changing mood of Grandpa’s letter, switching between the happy memories of times past and the devastation of our future earth should we not change our ways. This book is an absolute sensation.