Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well.
I’ve decided to make a dedicated effort to read more since I’ve definitely been neglecting my books lately, so with that in mind, I thought I’d start to post reviews of some of my favourite books or just books I happen to be reading. Since we’re in December, I figured I read and review some festive-themed books, starting with the children’s chapter book The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo.
The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo was originally published by Puffin in October 2018 and is 160 pages.
Now, many of you may be familiar with Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman – a wonderful, magical story told only through illustrations – well this book was inspired by the former and is a bit of a retelling – sort of.
Raymond Briggs’ original (a classic picture book) was one of my favourites growing up and when I heard that someone had ‘revisited’ the story it irked me a little bit. I didn’t like the idea that the story had been messed with and that it might have been changed.
The original did, however, later spawn an animated movie which also had no dialogue (although there is a beautiful soundtrack to match the magnificent artwork) though the story remained the same.
I did try to put off reading this new version of The Snowman, but curiosity finally got the better of me and I purchased myself a copy and I am very glad I did.
In many ways, the plot is exactly the same – the story, as in the original, involves a young boy called James, who builds a lovely snowman in the Oak Tree Field behind his farmhouse. On Christmas Eve, something magical happens and the snowman comes to life and the two of them embark on a great adventure to the North Pole.
What’s different in this version is that the story has been expanded upon a little bit. Not enough so that anything significantly changes, but enough that it gives a little more depth to the characters.
And speaking of characters, there are a couple more in this version who weren’t in the original in the form of James’s grandma who gets to experience a little bit of the fun, and his dog Bertie, who both round things out rather nicely. With the inclusion of dialogue, this retelling lets us hear what James thinks and feels. We learn that he wishes he could stop stuttering and stammering because the kids at school laughed at him.
We can also hear the snowman speak, letting us know what he thinks and how he feels, like how he wonders what it’s like in James’s house because he’s never been inside a house before.
As I said before, the original story is presented to the reader in image format, and even though the story is vivid and clear, adding text adds a whole new dimension. The descriptions are wonderful, and when combined with the beautiful black and white illustrations by Robin Shaw, they paint a vibrant picture that is very reminiscent of the original world created by Raymond Briggs.
The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo is a wonderful read and I’m very glad I decided to buy it. In the times we live in currently, it was a welcome piece of pure escapism.
The target audience for this book is around 7+ (my nephew enjoyed it immensely and he will be the book’s caretaker from now on as he loves Christmas just as much as I do) however at 36 years of age I got all the warm Christmassy feelings the original gave me way back when.
If I was to rate The Snowman by Michael Morpurgo out of 10, I think I would have to give it a solid 9. It was fun and exciting and it made me nostalgic for a time when life felt simpler and full of magic and possibility. I think it gave my nephew those same feelings and that is a special thing.
Are you familiar with the story of The Snowman (in any of its forms)? What do you think of it?
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,
© 2022 GLT
Categories: Book Reviews, Reading
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