Sunday, 22 December 2013

Letters from Father Christmas

Letters from Father Christmas

J.R.R. Tolkien

Recommended age: as from 3 years old

This book is the collection of the letters that Father Christmas wrote to Tolkien´s children for over twenty years. They are indeed the letters any of us would have dreamt of receiving each Christmas, with all the details of his life and adventures in the North Pole, with his friends, the Polar Bear, the Elves, Gnomes...and also his enemies the goblins.

This gem of a book not only contains the texts of the letters, but also the beautiful pictures drawn by Father Christmas himself! It is a delight to read the funny and heart warming stories and to enjoy the wonderful colours and pictures that illustrate them.

Pablo L.C.: "The letters From Father Christmas is a loving, sweet book for all the family, filled with colourful and beautiful illustrations and wonderful stories. This will help your little ones to discover the spirit of Christmas, along with a world they will adore, and that will help them to never stop believing! All courtesy of Tolkien himself. With wonderful characters which you will love straight away."

"I am more shaky than usual this year. The North Polar Bear´s fault! It was the biggest bang in the world, and the most monstruous firework there ever has been. It turned the North Pole BLACK and shook all the stars out of place, broke the moon into four - and the Man in it fell into my garden."

Jaime L.C.: "I think that this is a great book, it´s made up of stories that form a bigger story when put together. It has incredible illustrations and stylish handwriting so I think that children will like this book."

Here is another splendid drawing, this time to illustrate Polar Bear getting into an accident and making Father Christmas' job, the packing of presents, rather difficult.

Although Polar Bear is always getting into mischief, there are times when he really saves the day. He proves to be a strong and brave fighter when the goblins attack Father Christmas.

"Polar Bear was squeezing, squashing, trampling, boxing and kicking goblins skyhigh, and roaring like a zoo, and the goblins were yelling like engine whistles. He was splendid"


"We are quite happy and settled again now, and feel much safer. It really will be centuries before we get another goblin-trouble. Thanks to Polar Bear and the gnomes, there can´t be very many left at all."

Daniel L.C.: "l think that these stories can be amazingly entertaining as they are creative and imaginative. You also get a bit happier every time you read them as you can easily imagine the excitement of a little child (like one of the ones in the story) receiving such beautiful letters from Santa."

I was personally impressed with Polar Bear´s very good handwriting, taking he has rather big paws...and with the language skills of Ilbereth, an Elf and personal secretary of Father Christmas, who can write several alphabets: Arctic, Latin, Greek, Russian, Runes and Elvish, (luckly he didn´t have a blog to write...I can only imagine how long it would take him to translate to all those languages, it takes us long enough with two!!)

Related Activities:

Design your own Christmas Cards! These are the ones our bloggers have made to wish you all a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A WONDERFUL 2014!!

Happy Christmas to all those who read!

From Daniel

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to our friends!

From Jaime

Happy Christmas and keep on reading!

Best wishes Pablo

Did you know...?

It will be no news to you that Father Chrismas lives in the North Pole, but where exactly? well, the exact location is unknown but it is certain that his headquaters are somewhere in Lapland, which is the region at the north of the Scandinavian countries.

It is a wonderful land, but very cold and hush for the people to live in. The Sámi however have adapted very well. This is a Sámi boy with his raindeer, dressed with the typical clothes, aren´t they beautiful!

Their main way of living is the raindeer herds. They make very good use of them, also to make their shoes and clothing. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Hobbit

The Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkien

Recommended age: as from 9 years old

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." 

The above is the sentence that Mr Tolkien wrote on a blank page while the was engaged in the "soul-destroying task" of marking examination papers. It was only after he had jotted this line that he felt the urge of finding out what story laid behind it, what was a hobbit? where did he live? what kind of life would he live?

We also find that the opening of this great novel is engaging and gives the sense of adventure and the thrill of what is to come:

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

In fact we dare you to read the first chapter and not to continue until the end, even if you have seen the movies and know the story!

Pablo L.C.: "The Hobbit. What can I say about that book? A stupendous masterpiece, crafted by the imaginative mind of Tolkien. Join Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf and some thirteen dwarves on an epic quest for treasure and gold guarded by the fierce Smaug the Magnificent! Journey through a world of dragons, giant eagles, wizards, dwarves, elves, goblins, orcs, wargs, werebears and rock giants; giant spiders, trolls, hobbits and lots of battles (not to mention a giant dragon) and a creeping creature with a magic ring... All I  say is, welcome to Middle-Earth!"

The book is being brought to the cinema in three parts, the first one was out December 2012, The Hobbit, the Unexpected Journey. We watched it and it was just unbelievably awesome! If you would like to see the trailer, click here.

Jaime L.C.: "The movie and the book were both really good, the story is mysterious and you can´t take your eyes off both the movie and the book ,also they are planning to add a character from the Lord of the Rings... It´s Legolas everyones favourite immortal warrior, but that´s not all, they are going to reveal what happens when Gandalf finds the necromanser and much, much, more ."

Pablo L.C.: "My dear Frodo..., the minute I heard this phrase I was glued to my seat. The Hobbit starts off in the wonderful, picturesque, springtime wonderland of The Shire, a place where we all wish we could go. Soon Gandalf arrives, has a quick chat with Bilbo, (wich makes the hobbit run into the safety of his hole) and  begins to graffiti Bilbo´s door. Five minutes later, 13 rowdy dwarves with olympic style dishwashing skills, have dinner in and convince Bilbo to become a pickpocket, or as they call it, a thief. With wizards whose hair dye is bird poo, trolls with the secret ingredient of snot in their cooking and a goblin king with a flab beard and body issues, this is a funny, action packed film wich you will love".

The second movie is called The Desolation of Smaug and it is out December 13th 2013. Click here to watch the trailer, if you would like to see a funny version of the trailer made with Lego figures click here

Daniel L.C.: "The movie is completely amazing with all the action and fantasy. Even though you do not need to actually read the book (there is so much detail it extends on every little detail) it is still fun to know how the original story goes!"

As you know, The Hobbit is the prelude to The Lord of the Rings, you can have a sneak peek of this trilogy in Lego with this entertaining video made to a crazy song click here for funny lego video. And if you would like to see the Lego Lord of the Rings video game movie, click here

Related activities:

Pablo L.C.: If any of you would like to try writing a book, go ahead, I am writing a changed version of The Hobbit called The Midget:

It starts off in The Countryside, where a 3 foot tall coffe addicted midget, Balbo, is visited by famous explosionist Zap the wizard. He then has 13 rowdy, action loving, extremely rude dwarves visit him, who procceed to destroy his house. Balbo wakes up, reads a letter which ends with "we know where you live" and departs with the famous words "I´ve been blackmailed into going on an adventure!" He meets: snobby trolls, neat freak elves, action freak elves, snow giants, a were-elephant, boozy lake people, a weedy goblin king, alsatian riding orcs, hypochondriac spiders, a stupid dragon and a rock-paper-scissors loving craeature with a magic necklace.
 Guaranteed to be funny!!

Did you know...?

How old was the person who wrote the approving report on The Hobbit, leading to its publication? Have a guess...40?...30?...20?...Need a hint? look at yourself! Yes indeed, Rayner Unwin was a 10 year old boy who was given the manuscript of this fabulous novel by his father, a very wise publisher who believed, like Miss McHaggis certainly does, that children were the best judges of what make good children´s books.

This is the original report, for which he was paid a shilling:

"Bilbo Baggins was a Hobbit who lived in his Hobbit hole and never went for adventures, at last Gandalf the wizard and his Dwarves persuaded him to go. He had a very exciting time fighting goblins and wargs. At last they get to the lonely mountain: Smaug, the dragon who guards it is killed and after a terrific battle with the goblins he returned home - rich!
This book, with the help of maps, does not need any illustrations it is good and should appeal to all children between the ages of 5 and 9".

Special thanks to:

Our blogger Pablo, our own fantasy expert, who has worked very hard to write this post whilst he was at home with a cold. We would also like to thank him for sharing with us the highlights of the book he is writing at school during lunch breaks.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013



Philip Reeve

Recommended age: as from 9 years old

You have probably seen the movie The Hobbit, an Unexpected Journey. It came out last December and I'm sure you enjoyed it because it is an amazing story. It is based on a book by the same name which is the prequel to a trilogy called The Lord of the Rings. When you read the trilogy you'll love it too, but you might find these books a bit difficult just now. Therefore, if you are into fantasy, and as a warm up for the Tolkien lot, why not start with Goblins.

Jaime L.C: ''This book is very imaginative and funny, and I have enjoyed very much. I would recommend it to those who like creative and fantastic stories. The main character is special because he does not like to fight, he prefers to read, but the others do not like that ...''

Goblins of Clovenstone Keep are a silly and disgusting lot of creatures devoted to steal, kill each other and little else. All but Skarper, a goblin who has the misfortune of being smart and clever, and who discovers that books are there to be read, instead of using them for what his fellow goblins do...wipe their bottoms! His new hobby will lead him inevitably to be catapulted out of town, and this is where the adventure begins.

A story of fantasy with great sense of humor, where the bad guys are not all as bad as they are meant to be. Maidens of the clouds, trolls, wizards, and "softlings" (humans) are just some of the characters that you'll encounter.

Daniel L.C.: "This book is unique because this time the main character is a goblin and this goblin is also a good guy. However, Henwyn is my favorite character because he wants to be a hero but he is not very good at it." 

Well... think no more, catapult yourself with Skarper, meet Henwyn and enjoy this exciting and hilarious adventure, princess included.

Pablo L.C.: "This is one of the best books I've read in my life. Packed with action, laughs and a bit of tragedy. And there are two of them! On the second, dwarves want to empty Slowsilver, the lake where goblins are born, and Skarper, Henywn and all other goblins, trolls and giants have to fight to save Clovenstone. It is like The Lord of the Rings but some goblins are good guys and it's fun and simple. "

Related activities.

There is no movie of these books, but if you like fantasy and computer games have a look at World of Warcraft (for over 12 years old), you can even choose which creature you want to be. Click here to watch the video of one of the games with goblins.

If you have liked this story and you would like to find out more about its author and illustrator, check out his website

Did you know ...?

Goblins are evil creatures born from the bowels of the Earth. Most of their lives take place in caves, their home, which provide great protection for themselves and their stolen treasures.

There are immense and wonderful caves to visit around the world, like the Nerja Cave in Malaga. If you are lucky to go to this part of Spain on holidays it would be worth a visit (guided tours are available). Navegate their website with the virtual view option at, it will give you an idea of how impressive these caves are. Truly amazing!