This month we have selected The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas by Matt Lucas as our book of the month! This review has been written by our blog writer, Charlotte Bateman.
Matt Lucas is perhaps one of the funniest and most versatile creatives in the whole of the UK. While he is best known for his work alongside David Walliams in Little Britain, the comedian/actor has appeared on a plethora of TV shows including Doctor Who and The Great British Bake Off. He has also landed roles on the big screen in films such as Bridesmaids, Alice In Wonderland, Paddington, and most recently Wonka.
It’s not just screen acting that he excels at. The star is a lover of musical theatre and has performed in West End hits like Hamilton and Les Miserables. It was this passion that gave him the idea of writing his first-ever children’s book. And not just any old children’s book: a musical novel!
Titled The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas, this heartwarming story is told through a unique blend of words and song. The pages contain QR codes that readers can scan on their tablet or phone. They can then listen to 20 original songs, penned by Matt, and even sing along by following the lyrics at the back of the book.
During a radio interview with Chris Evans, Matt
explained the reason for incorporating this interactive element was because not all children are able to access theater. They may not have a theatre near them, and of course, tickets can be extremely expensive. So through this festive book, he wanted young readers to experience the joy of musicals right from their bedroom.
Although the songs are lovely, I really enjoyed the story itself and found myself laughing out loud at regular intervals. Leo, the protagonist, is a 10-year-old boy who absolutely loves Christmas. This year he wants the festivities to be the best ever because it is the first Christmas without mum.
As the story unfolds, we see Leo come up against numerous challenges whilst preparing for the big day. Everything starts going wrong, and soon Leo decides he’s had enough. He wishes Christmas would go away and when he wakes up on Christmas morning, he learns his wish has come true. With the help of his friends, teacher, and family, he sets out on a mission to undo his wish and get Christmas back.
What I loved about it was the whole story felt very cosily festive. And despite touching on some difficult topics like bereavement, it wasn’t sad overall. It was hilarious, and I think when you are going through tough times, laughter really is the best medicine. In my opinion, humour is also an effective way of introducing these topics to a younger audience. But while it is a children’s book, I would recommend this book to anyone young or old this Christmas. I enjoyed it at the age of
22, and I would happily read it again. The musical element was just the cherry on top of the cake.