- Title And Author: The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo (Inspired by the classic by Raymond Briggs
- Publisher: Puffin
- Physical, eBook or Audiobook: eBook
- Bought, Borrowed or Gifted: Gifted by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an Honest Review
- Length: 160 Pages
Andrew, we are in September. Why on earth are you reading a Christmas novella? And a retelling of a well known Christmas classic? have you COMPLETELY lost the plot?
I am imagining you are all thinking this. Don’t say you’re not. I love Christmas. I love Bonfire Night and Halloween (well… in theory, I love Halloween. I love all the myths and legends on Halloween. In pratice… no. I hate it. I will be the one sitting the dark of my house, pretending that no one is home… but that’s a blog post for another day). So, when I saw this on NetGalley, I thought it would be a fun little read for me. A nice break from Time Convert, my current adult read (which I an enjoying, but it’s so weird reading this book when, the other books In the series, I have audiobooked…). Plus, I was curious on how Michael Morpurgo was going to write this, how he was going to tackle this classic. Tackle it head-on, or go into it from a slight angle…
When James wakes early on Christmas Eve to discover it had snowed overnight, he’s so excited that he goes out and builds a snowman. He spends all day building him and showing him off to his parents and his grandma, who is staying over Christmas. When he goes to bed that night, waiting for Father Christmas, he wonders about his snowman and, when he looks out of the window, he discovers that his snowman has come to life…
Where do I start with this novella?
Ok, let’s make something perfectly clear: nothing will beat Raymond Briggs’s classic. Not the Channel 4 film, not its sequel (which is still wonderful), not the stage production, nothing. Raymond’s wordless story is a beautiful, yet bittersweet masterpiece.
So, what about Michael Morpurgo’s version? Does it work?
It does, strangely. It adds something new to the mythology, yet tries to stay as faith as it can. It feels like a story that cane be read with the original and still stand on its own two feet. Plus, this novella would be perfect for a parent, guardian or grandparent to read with a child at bedtime or a child to read to themselves.
As an adult reading this, I really liked the story Michael wrote and how he tackled one or two issues in it. Not saying what, but they were address in a simple, kind way. Plus, having James’s grandma involved in the story made the ending less bittersweet compared to the original.
Small note about the illustrations by Robin Shaw. I really liked these. Sadly, I have a black-and-white kindle so no idea if they are meant to be colour or not, but I liked these illustrations hugely and just wanted to give the illustrator his due.
There was an odd moment when James read the original Snowman tale in this novella. Inception moment, anymore? But it’s a nod to the original and am glad it was there, but some people might go “Huh?” over it. No biggie, though.
While this is not going to be anything like the original, it’s still a wonderful story and am very tempted to buy this for the tiny humans in my life near Christmas-time…