Penulis/Author: Lucy Daniel Raby (2005)
Kategori/Category: Juvenile Fiction
“Meet the boy who grew up to be Santa Claus”
For me, that sentence is provocative enough to make me picked up the book and took it to the cashier (well, of course with some other cool titles ;)). Santa Claus is a legend. People say when you grow old and stop believing in Santa Claus, that’s when you lost your childhood and you’ll never return. In fact, when you stop believing in anything, you’ll simply lose it!
Nickolai is the last elf survived from the Elfin Kingdom when the whole place was turned into stone by the evil queen Magda. The evil elf took the Northern Light that was the source of all living creatures in the North Pole for herself, and she absorbs all the light fairies that accompanied the elves. Nickolai was saved by a flying reindeer and he was brought to a poor elderly human couple (Joe & Hannah) who found him at the bottom of their chimney one night. They noticed he has a pair of long ears but they love him no less. At that time, baby Nickolai was wrapped in a red velvety robe which keept him warm. Behind the robe, there is Nickolai’s guardian fairy, Elvina, whom the couple almost mistaken as an insect.
At school, Nickolai is the target of the school bullies. He is taller than his friends, he wears the bright red robe which has been modified into a jacket with some white fleeces on the edge by Hannah and he has a pair of long ears. Nickolai knows he is different but he never dares to ask Hannah & Joe about his past, until one day, his dangerous midnight adventure led him into the village of the dying flying reindeers. These reindeers have to save their power since the Light source has gone missing.
Meanwhile, Magda and her follower goblins and wolves work hard to create the Golden City on top of the ruined Elfin Kingdom. This city will be used to allure human to come to her, more importantly to bring the children who are the source of Magda’s youthful appearance. The city will have pavements and houses made of gold and sparkling gem-stones. In reality, these all are evil work of coals and hallucination. When people starting to migrate to the Golden City, Nickolai is tempted to do the same. He believes this is his chance to uncover his past. One of the magical reindeers told him that he was saved from around that place long time ago. Hannah & Joe refuse to go, so they have to let Nickolai go with his best friend, Anneka, and her family. On the way to the Golden City, they make a new friend with Zakurak, an inuit boy.
The live at the Golden City isn’t as expected. The humans are enslaved, their children are transformed into little adults who no longer talk and behave like their own age. There’s no fun allowed in there and once Magda sees Nickolai’s ears, he is hunted by the whole troops of wolves. She has been expecting him for thirteen years!
What can I say about the book? I love the whole thing! There’s no one ever write a tale like this, it completes the missing pieces from Santa Claus story and it has some good moral messages for the children i.e. sharing, loyalty, friendship, common sense and bravery. Children are taught not to get affected by the sparkling gems and to enjoy their childhood while they can.
If you ever wonder why Santa wears a red jumper, why he laughs with a big Ho Ho Ho, how did he meet with Rudolph and the gang, why Rudolph has a red nose… all and all, you’ll find it on this book. The story won’t let you put down the book until you finish, and once you finish you feel like going back to something you’ve passed, your childhood.
The author has done some extensive research about the North Pole and the famous Northern Light, and about the Inuit (the Eskimos) and their language (Inuktitut). When she combined all together, we have this impressive story. This book is now officially one of my favourites. Glossy covers with soft pages, good moral messages and interesting research, plus a bibliography; what more do I want from a book? The whole package is superb! Put it together with “Polar Express” and “Peter Pan”, now you have a complete picture of Elfin Kingdom and Light Fairies Kingdom. And remember: you lose it when you stop believing in it ;).
“I believe in fairies, I do, I do!”*
*From Peter Pan the movie, 2003.