By Author / Illustrator
Michael Morpurgo, Jim Field
Egmont UK Ltd
Paperback / softback
This bestselling Christmas picture book by renowned children's author Michael Morpurgo and illustrator Jim Field, is now available in paperback for the first time.
Michael Morpurgo frames his powerful message about protecting the environment in this beautiful personal story about a grandpa's wish for his granddaughter to live in a better world. This vital and timely story is paired with Jim Field's emotive illustrations in this gorgeous Christmas picture book, perfect for the whole family to share.
Dearest little Mia,
This Christmas, instead of a Christmas card - you'll have plenty of those - and instead of a present - you'll have plenty of those too, I am sending you a letter ...
Every Christmas Mia and her family read a letter which her Grandpa wrote to her. His letter is a warm, impassioned and heartfelt wish for a better world for Mia to live in. He remembers fondly the times they spent in his garden finding frogs and worms and planting seeds.
But Grandpa worries that all the things they love so much are in danger ...
His letter is a hopeful plea to Mia (and to all of us) to continue to care for and protect our precious world.
Michael Morpurgo is a master storyteller who has written over one hundred books and won countless awards. In 1976 Michael and his wife Clare started the charity Farms For City Children, which aims to relieve the poverty of experience of young children from inner city and urban areas. In 1999 they were awarded the MBE for their work in creating these farms and in 2006 Michael received an OBE. His novel War Horse has been adapted into a hugely successful and critically acclaimed West End play as well as a film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg. Michael is a tireless champion for children's books and was formerly the Children's Laureate.
Jim Field is an award-winning illustrator, character designer and animation director. He is perhaps best known for drawings frogs on logs in the bestselling picture book series Oi Frog! He has illustrated children's books with Kes Grey, Michelle Robinson, Rachel Bright, Jeanne Willis, Steve Cole and comedian David Baddiel. His first picture book Cats Ahoy won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and he has been nominated for several other awards including the Kate Greenaway Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award. In 2016, The Bookseller listed Jim as the 6th top selling illustrator. Jim grew up in Farborough and now lives in Paris with his wife and daughter.
Although it mentions Christmas in the title, this is not a typical commercially-driven Christmas story with the usual 'Christmassy' themed tale. This is, however, a truly beautiful book. The story and pictures are so poignant and Michael Morpurgo has delivered the message within the story in a creative way. It has beautiful illustrations by Jim Field which support the text and really draw the reader into the story.
The story begins with Mia, a girl who follows a family tradition year after year; placing a letter from her Grandpa on the tree. This provides good opportunities to discuss tradition in an inclusive way. The story then changes to the letter. Grandpa has loved watching Mia in his garden; teaching her about the environment, growing plants, naming wildlife, and on trips to the beach. His letter reflects the utmost love he has for Mia, and that of her for him.
The story then moves onto him wishing that Mia can continue her love for others and nature but he worries for the future of the planet. Then comes the slight twist, a very clever way of guiding the reader into thinking about pollution, global warming and how our day-to-day lives could be affecting experiences, and therefore the memories of others in the future, all whilst on the theme of Christmas.
This is a good book to use at this time of year, as it incorporates an important message regarding the welfare of our earth with the upcoming celebration of Christmas.
There are many learning opportunities linked to this books; History - how traditions have changed, life in the past, predictions for the future. PSHE - family celebrations, making memories, family generations. Geography - the Earth, pollution, global warming, growing. English - letter writing, change of tense, writing in 1st person. Art- story illustrations.
Picture book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Maria Faithorn, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 7+