Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Extract: The Night I Met Father Christmas - Ben Miller


I've always been rather a fan of Ben Miller, don't ask me why... I was super intrigued when I heard he was a releasing a children's book, and a Christmas one at that, and super excited when an early reading copy arrived through my letterbox! It's a heart-warming tale of how Father Christmas came to be, with a nod to some Christmas classics, and at the centre of the story is essentially a retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, but with elves.

Simon Kids UK have asked me to share an extract from the opening of The Night I Met Father Christmas so you can see how magical it is for yourself, and I do hope you'll pick up a copy of the finished hardback which is rather lovely!

The Night I Met Father Christmas - Ben Miller

Chapter One

When I was small, one of my friends said something really silly. He said that Father Christmas didn’t exist. ‘So where do all the Christmas presents come from?’ I asked him. He didn’t have an answer.
‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘It’s just something my older sister told me.’
‘Who comes down the chimney and eats the mince pies and drinks the brandy?’ I asked. ‘Who rides the sleigh?’
My friend was silent for a while.

‘You know what?’ he said. ‘You’re right. I don’t know why I brought it up. Do you want to play marbles?’
That night, I had trouble getting to sleep. I had won the argument, but my friend had planted a tiny seed of doubt in my mind. What if Father Christmas wasn’t real?
As Christmas approached, I began to ask myself all sorts of worrying questions: who was Father Christmas? Why did he bring presents? How did he deliver them all in one night? How did it all start?
I made up my mind that there was only one way to find out the truth. I had to meet Father Christmas, face to face.
Of course, I didn’t tell anyone about my plan. My parents would have tried to stop me, and my twin sisters would have wanted to tag along, even though they were much too young.

This was a serious operation and I couldn’t risk it going wrong. Finally, Christmas Eve arrived, and my parents came up to kiss me goodnight. ‘Do you know what day it is tomorrow?’ asked my mother, her eyes twinkling. ‘Is it Wednesday?’ I asked, pretending not to care. She looked at my father, who shrugged. ‘Yes, darling,’ she said, trying to maintain an air of suspense. ‘It is Wednesday. But it’s also Christmas Day.’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘I’m not really that interested in Christmas.’ ‘Really?’ said my father. They both looked very disappointed, and for a very brief moment, I felt bad for tricking them. ‘It’s okay, I suppose,’ I said, ‘if you like presents and chocolate and sweets and things like that, but I prefer to work through a few maths problems while listening to classical music.’ And then I faked a big yawn and closed my eyes. ‘Whatever makes you happy, darling,’ said my mother, sounding worried. They kissed me goodnight, switched out the light, and went downstairs.

I lay there in the dark, with my eyes closed, listening. I could hear my sisters in their bedroom down the hall, talking in their own special made-up language, which only they could understand. Usually, when I heard them talking like that it made me feel a bit left out, but not tonight, because I knew that I was doing something very special.
Eventually, my sisters fell quiet and the house suddenly seemed very deep and dark. I could hear the low murmur of my parents talking downstairs, but soon that stopped too, and then the stairs creaked as they made their way up to bed. I knew they might look in on me, so I acted as if I was fast asleep.

‘Goodnight, little man,’ my father whispered, as he gently moved my head back on to the pillow and pulled the covers up to keep me warm. Then I smelled my mother’s perfume as she gave me a kiss. The door closed, and I heard their footsteps crossing the landing to their bedroom. I lay still, listening in the darkness.
After what felt like the longest time, I decided it was safe enough to half-open one eye. My bedside clock showed a quarter to twelve. I had never, ever been awake that late before, and I wondered for a moment if, when it struck midnight, I would be turned to stone, like a child in a fairy tale.

Don't forget to check out all the other fabulous blogs taking part in the tour for The Night I Met Father Christmas!






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