Nickolai of the North [Lucy Daniel Raby]

Penulis/Author: Lucy Daniel Raby (2005)

Penerbit/Publisher: Hodder

Cetakan/Edition: I

Kategori/Category: Juvenile Fiction

ISBN: 0-340-90301-5

“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.


16 thoughts on “Nickolai of the North [Lucy Daniel Raby]

  1. Lucy Daniel Raby says:

    Dear Reygreena

    Thanks for your enthusastic response to my book, which I spent many years slaving over and which is very close to my heart! From all your comments you obviously understand what the book is about and have a total grasp of what I was trying to say with it, which is very satisfying. I have had many wonderful sessions with children in schools here in England, and it seems we are all of the same mind. And here’s the secret – although a mother and housewife with a nearly grown up daughter, (who gave me the idea for the book when she was 10!), I am still a ten year old tomboy inside! I enjoyed writing it and it is great to know that the people I wrote it for enjoyed reading it. I have just completed the first draft of the 2nd book, the follow up, which tells of how Nickolai carried out his first mission and all the difficulties he had. It is full of scary monsters and exciting adventures and I had a lot of fun writing that too. I am hoping to do a 3rd book too, that delves into the past, to complete a trilogy. So there is more to come where this came from! There is also an audio book version of the 1st book, read by a new young British actor, Hugh Dancy, available with the paperback. So watch this space – and thanks very much for your interest and support. And make the most of the rest of your childhood! Enjoy!

    Best Wishes


  2. hello Lucy!

    first of all i apologise for the spelling mistake of your name on the title there. truly sorry, i am embarrased. i didn’t realise that until i read your comment. my bad. it has been corrected.

    as I said above, this book is official on my fave list. thank you so much for writing a wonderful book like this. i was spellbound when reading it, i wished i also live inside that magical world.

    when the recent news on september saying that the warm summer and late storms has has opened a channel for ships to sail to north pole*, the first thing i thought was i am going to save up and then join a cruise ship to visit the north pole!! hahaha… that is how your book has left a big impression on me :)

    wohoo… thanks for the great news about making it a the trilogy! i always believe that a good story should not stop at one book only ;) i certainly look forward for the laters to come Lucy!!

    i have passed my childhood quite a while back, but just like you, on the inside i am still that ten years old with huge imagination of what an ideal world should be, and i never stop believing in it.

    from a very eager fan

    with good luck wishes

    and a big hug ^_^



  3. Lucy Daniel Raby says:

    Hi Reygreena
    Just getting back to you. I am glad to hear that like me you have not left the magic of your childhood behind. I have been very busy touring England talking to children in schools and book clubs about Nickolai and will be finishing the second book soon. There are more exciting developments on the horizon as well which I must be mysterious about at present, but I will keep you posted. I also hope to start a website some time next year so I can keep in touch with people like you. It is a question of finding the time as I am also doing a lot of teaching too!

    Do not worry about spelling either – I am of the firm belief that ideas and stories should be shared by all and language differences should not get in the way.

    Where are you from by the way?

    Speak soon

    Warmest festive wishes

    Lucy Daniel Raby

  4. Hi Lucy,

    Glad to hear from you again ^_^ Hope the touring goes well. You must be excited to meet lotsa new people (especially the young ones) while talking about something as fun as Nickolai and his world.

    I believe creating a website to share your new projects, your schedules even your teaching programmes is a good idea to keep in touch with people like me who are located far from England. Honestly!

    Oh by the way, I am an Indonesian who’s currently residing in Auckland, New Zealand. That’s why my blog uses both Bahasa and English so that visiting friends will have options about which language they prefer using :)

    Keep in touch

    Wishing you all the joys of the season


  5. Daniel says:

    Hi Lucy

    Its a great book :) my teacher was reading it out at school so i thought i should buy it and get a head a bit. it is an amazing book and i cant wait for the next one :). i could’nt help thinking what an imaganation you have to write an amazing book such as that.

    when is the next book coming out?


  6. Lucy Daniel Raby says:

    Dear reygreena and daniel

    Thankyou for your continued lovely comments and encouragement. I really do appreciate it as a new(ish) author, although I have been a children’s writer for many years, having worked on many TV programmes.

    I have just finished the 2nd book – only a few final edits and tweaks hopefully. The front cover is ready and looks fab. It is called Nickolai’s Quest and comes out on October 18th or 19th I think. The first book has been nominated for two regional UK awards judged by children and teachers which is very exciting and pleasing. just to be nominated is good. The film rights are being negotiated at the moment but I can;t say much – it all takes ages once lawyers get involved and there’s no knowing how things will turn out. The film industry is very precarious!

    I have started working on a website and trying to gather the material for it. I hope to have it running by publication time.

    So look out for that and look out for Nickolai’s Quest!

    let’s keep in touch – it’s people like you who make it all worthwhile.



  7. Daniel says:

    Great to hear from u agen “Nickolias Quest” looks good or sounds good I just finished reading Nockolia Of the North for the 23rd time… every time it gets better and better and i find out more each time.

    I started my Easter holidays today so i got plent of time to read Nicolia of the North.

    How were you insprired to write nicolia of the north and Nockolia’s Quest

  8. Dear Reygreena, Daniel and anyone else who is logging in,

    The 2nd book – Nickolai;s Quest – has gone off to the printers! The cover is done and the inside illustratuions are being done now. The film negotiations are beginning to resolve so hopefully there will be some news soon! Also, work has begun on the website and a holding page is already up, so take a look at I am working on the content now and like I said, I hope to have the whole thing completed by publication day ,if not before. I might also start up a blog to work alongside the website – maybe Nick’s own blogspace, Nickolai’s Chat Grotto or something like that. On the website there will be a few words from our Cool Yule hero himself, plus loads of stuff about the background research that went into both books, stuff about me and my background and all the other stuff I’ve written for children, what I’m working on at the moment, more Nick books, writing tips, school visits, any forthcoming events and much more. So watch this space.

    At the moment I am writing the website content, working on some other short story ideas and developing a book proposal for a TV series I created for CBBC some years ago, called Big Kids. It’s about these kids whose parents have been hypntoised and keep turning into little kids and it keeps being repeated on TV.

    Plus running a home and getting my daughter sorted out for her exams.

    So plenty to keep me busy.

    Thanks as always for your support and interest and let’s keep in touch.

    I am new to blogging, so have yet to get into the good habits. Will keep trying.

    Best Wishes


  9. Dear Daniel

    Sorry I forgot to answer your question. I was inspired to write the 1st book by a question from my daughter about who filled Santa’s stocking when he was young. I realised nobody did – because he invented the whole business! This first book was all about his childhood and why he does what he does every year. The 2nd is about how he does it ie how he carries out his first mission and thereafter. I have got very extensive research and development notes in the website which I hope will answer your question more in full. I hope you will forgive me for not expanding here. It is on its way! I hope that is enough for now!



  10. Daniel says:

    There is no need o apologise, I just wondered is there a film? and i just finished my first book its called “spacelift” its about a boy called daniel finds a ruined space ship and he is very smart and he tries his hardest to repair it and he does after a while and it takes of and so on….

    But i think it could get published i don’t know



  11. Hi Reygreena and Daniel and anyone else

    Just a quick note to say my website is now up and running. Do check it out – loads of stuff on there. I will be setting up a myspace and maybe a blog too but I’m a bit scared of all this new technology so I am getting my daughter to help me. Nickolai’s Quest is coming out on October 18th.

    let’s keep in touch – but if you don’t hear from me it’s because I’m a bit of a technoprat.



  12. Hi reygreena and daniel

    Happy new year to you both! Book 2 – Nickolai’s Quest is now out and I had a very busy November and December touring schools in the South and West of England to promote it.

    If you haven’t checked out my website yet do – and why don’t you contact me via that and we can keep in touch by e mail. I am also starting a MySpace.

    However, the best news is – I am coming over to new Zealand. I will be there, travelling in the North and South Islands from 30th January to 3rd of March. So get in touch and let’s see if we can meet up.

    I will forward details on my itinerary then. I am also hoping to research my next book over there – which is not about Nickolai. Something completely different in the works but still fantasy ficiton cos that’s my bag!

    Speak soon

    best new year wishes


  13. Dear Lucy

    Happy new year :)

    Thanks for the updates. I am eager to read the second book but so far I am unable to find it in Jakarta. I am going to Singapore next week and I hope to hit my luck to find your book there hahaha…

    I am soo excited to read about your plan to go down under, I wish I am still there so I could meet you :( Since early 2007 I have moved back to Jakarta, my hometown, and it’s hard to find your books here. Some friends were asking me about it after reading this post.

    Oh by the way, the menu icons on your website is sooo cute! They jingle every time my cursor passes them hahaha… What a creative design! Yup, I’ve been visiting it often to see what you are up to. I was actually going to join the Quiz to win the 2nd book but I thought it’s probably too far for you to send the book to here if I win :) Oh well, sooner or later, I am going to have it anyway.

    Last but not least, I wish you a superb time in OZ and NZ, please do keep posting news on your website with all the fun you have down under. And I am very curious with the Viking theme you have in mind :)

    God bless!

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