When you first open Tom Fletcher’s latest release, it reads like the Christmas novel you always longed for. The style is kitsch, crisp and well thought out. It brings Christmas magic from the page to your imagination and feels nostalgic – despite the fact you’ve never read it before.
Tom’s own interpretation of the North Pole is wonderful. With the maps and illustrations, it really helps you to buy into his idea of Santa…despite the fact there’s a dinosaur there too! You completely just fall in love with his writing and just accept everything he throws at the reader…and this is where the problems lie.
- The dad was not portrayed in a good way. He was made to be nerdy but it wet too far and it was more of a sad geekiness rather than a quirk. like we were meant to mock him as a reader. This saddened me because the dad is all William has.
- The “absent mother” trope. It seemed to be put in for no good reason other than a plot device. Though I think it is important to tackle grief in children’s/middle grade fiction, this particular aspect was not portrayed well in my opinion.
- Bullying. For me I would rather have seen William standing up for someone else, other than being the target himself. I am worried what message this sends out to other disabled children.
- The standing up wish…just no.
- The book is over 300 pages long. It drags.
- 90% of the portrayal of women in the story is negative. More female reprsentation next time please!
And my biggest issue with the book was the ending. Bearing in mind Amazon states this book is aimed at 7-9 year olds. The bad guy in the book pulls a GUN on the dad and shoots him (he survives) and then on the DINOSAUR. This in my opinion is just not okay for fiction aimed at that audience, especially when you consider the other issues it tackles. It really made me cringe and completely ruined the book for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom as much as the next person but I feel this book is not fit for purpose.
Ending killed any potential the early book had, 2/5. Which is a shame. Because for the majority of the book I was completely besotted.
Thank you lovelies and happy reading! xo