Michael Morpurgo and Jim Field
When one of my very favourite authors and favourite illustrators come together in a seasonal collaboration, the result is, so I anticipated, something special. And this is truly something very special; it’s not just a Christmas book, but one for all times.
Herein, narrator mum Mia tells how every Christmas she shares with her family a letter from her Grandpa, (sent one year instead of a Christmas card or present) kept safe in her diary. The reading of this letter, inspired by visits to his home from a much younger Mia that brought him joy, has become part and parcel of their family day.
Grandpa’s letter tells of his deep concerns about our fragile planet and its wildlife. He talks of the rapid rate at which its precious resources are being depleted and makes a prayerful plea for a new world and time where ‘we grow and eat only what we need … and learn to share all we have, so that no-one anywhere goes hungry again’; a world without pollution
and global warming,
where wild animals live free, and war and waste are no more.
Morpurgo’s poignant words are a powerful antidote to the gross consumerism and waste that the Christmas season has become, and a stark reminder of the original message of goodwill and giving.
Jim Field’s illustrations echo the deep sadness inherent in the text but at the same time bring out both the hopefulness in Grandpa’s heartfelt litany
and the loving bond between Mia and her grandfather.
This treasure of a book is, I think, my favourite Christmas publication of the year.