One boy and his toy are about to change everything…
Jack loves his childhood toy, Dur Pig. DP has always been there for him, through good and bad. Until one Christmas Eve, something terrible happens – DP is lost. But Christmas Eve is a night for miracles and lost causes, a night when all things can come to life… even toys. And Jack’s newest toy – the Christmas Pig (DP’s annoying replacement) – has a daring plan: Together they’ll embark on a magical journey to seek something lost, and to save the best friend Jack has ever known…
Illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Field, J.K Rowling’s latest children’s fantasy novel The Christmas Pig encapsulates the spirit of the holidays, telling the story of a lost beloved toy and the journey that his heartbroken owner goes on in order to retrieve him.
Whilst magic doesn’t feel as dominant in this one, something J.K Rowling captures well in her children’s novels is a cast of relatable characters who draw empathy from readers. They’re also fast-paced, fun and easily digestible for young eyes.
“All his adventures gave DP his interesting smell, which Jack liked very much. It was a mixture of the places DP had gone on his adventures, along with the warm dark cave under Jack’s blankets, and just a trace of Mum’s perfume…”
I particularly enjoyed J.K Rowling’s depiction of emotions like happiness, power and ambition — the way they can alter a person’s attitude to others and then be easily discarded depending on circumstances and setting.
The Christmas Pig will help children process emotions such as loss, when they lose something or perhaps when something or someone is no longer in their life. It’s nice to imagine a place where toys come alive, and this is certainly not a unique trope in children’s literature. Another aspect of the book that may help children is the family dynamic for our protagonist Jack — his parents are divorced and his mother remarries. He gains a teenage step-sister who is awful to him, and I think many young readers may find elements of their own home life within these pages.
“After that, Jack was shouting and crying too loudly to hear anything anyone said to him. He couldn’t stand feeling the car bearing him away from the place where DP was lying, lost and bewildered and wondering why Jack wasn’t coming back for him.”
Whilst there are some moments in the book that aren’t as digestible, such as the subtle messages around climate change and the somewhat cliche villains we meet towards the end, that’s only noticeable for adult readers — children will love this book. There’s a sense of urgency to the plot that drives the story forward and will keep children entertained. Each chapter is relatively short, encouraging young readers to keep turning.
“Sure enough, within a few seconds Jack was able to see the Christmas Pig again. Like Jack, he was floating downwards. Their surroundings became gradually lighter until Jack realised they were both sinking through their own column of golden light.”
With a gorgeous hardback cover, this is a great stocking filler for the festive season. Recommended for young children, readership skews 8+
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Christmas Pig
Hachette Book Publishers
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