Christmas Tea with Mr. Tumnus

Dear Diary,
I am spending the Christmas holidays at my Grandmother’s house. I helped her decorate the tree yesterday and today we are awaiting guests. But guess what happened just today morning?

Well, I better start at the beginning. You probably remember how I and my three cousins found a door inside granny’s wardrobe last summer. You know the green one with all the colorful dresses granny wore when she was young. I had just intended to borrow the red and white dress to dress up like a summer Santa, but then I decided to try looking for matching shoes deeper inside the wardrobe. But instead of matching shoes I found a magic country hidden far inside the wardrobe! My cousins and I had the most wonderful adventures there during the summer. But that is a story for another time. However, one of the many creatures we met there was the fawn Mr. Tumnus. He is a lovely fellow with the coziest little house situated just beyond the lamppost. Well, a few days ago I got a letter from him! It was an invitation to a Christmas Tea Party on Christmas Eve morning!

As today is Christmas Eve I got up early, dressed in my prettiest frock and borrowed a brown fuzzy coat from granny to shield me from the cold Narnian winter. Then I opened the green wardrobe and went inside. I was rather excited because Narnia is not always there, but thankfully today it was! The forest looked so lovely with tall evergreens frosted with white silvery snow. The forest is really thick but the lamppost lights it up beautifully. I love how the warm yellow light flickers and creates golden shadows on the snow. I walked slowly in the new deep snow towards Mr. Tumnus’ house. He had lit red lanterns outside his house and the small windows flamed cozily behind cream lace curtains. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Beavers were there too! It’s been so long since I’ve seen them! Mrs. Beaver had knitted scarves for all of us for Christmas. Mine was pink and purple, my favorite colors. Mr. Tumnus’ scarf was red and yellow, the colors he likes best. There was a wonderful spread of cinnamon cakes, chocolate cookies and peppermint tea. And Mrs. Beaver had brought her famous marmalade roll. My contribution was ginger biscuits that granny and I baked yesterday, and they all loved them! Mr. Beaver dipped his biscuits in his whiskey coffee and was happy as a horse the whole morning! After the tea Mr. Tumnus played his flute for us. The Narnian carols are rather strange, but very beautiful, and when you hear them you can’t help but look at the flames blazing in the fireplace and then the most magical thing happens! You can see shapes in there! The flames start changing and whatever the music makes you think of appears in the flames! I saw flying unicorns migrating together over the ocean seeking the colder climate of the north where they can fly among stars even in daylight! Those images made me very dreamy and I wished I had brought my sketchbook so I could draw them. Maybe I will make an attempt at it later today.

Mr. Tumnus hadn’t brought a Christmas tree because all the trees in Narnia are like living creatures, they even sing in the Dawnlight if you pay proper attention. Instead of a Christmas tree there were garlands of cones and sugared red autumn leaves and apples and cinnamon sticks hanging in the windows. It was so beautiful and smelled delicious! After the tea we all went outside to see the snow fairies dance among the trees. They can be hard to spot because they look a little like mist when they move, but if you squint your eyes you can clearly see their beautiful little shapes, almost like icicles with snowflakes for wings and dewy cobwebs for clothes. They look especially beautiful when the golden sun rays hit their little bodies. Mr. Tumnus played his flute again and they really loved that! It was absolutely magical!

But then it was time to head home. Even though time is different in Narnia I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. And the beavers wanted to go too so I decided to keep them company along the trail. But the trail was actually gone because so much snow had fallen the last hour! I thought I would have to wade my way through the forest. But the beavers told me to let them walk first and with their fat tails the patted the snow down so that it was all flat and perfect for me! My boots made that lovely sound they make when you walk on hard flat snow. None of us talked the whole way we just stayed silent and listened to that lovely boot music, and just as we came up to the lamppost I could hear the church bells chiming from the open wardrobe door. The beavers smiled and stayed and listened for a while while I bid them goodbye and disappeared back into the wardrobe. There I hung up my brown fuzzy coat and went right over to you dear Diary to write it all down, so that I would never forget my Christmas Tea with Mr. Tumnus.

Wait, now I can hear granny calling from downstairs. I better go and help her prepare for the guests. Talk to you later! And Merry Christmas!

Yours truly,
Trini.

* The above artwork is by the beautiful artist Pauline Baynes

Advertisements

Trollhunter

Trollhunter is a Norwegian indie film from 2010 directed by Andre Øverdal. This film has already been given a Cult status in Norway. Mind you, this is not a movie for children, even though I would have loved it as a child, but its target audience is teens and adults.
It is filmed in a mock documentary style, a little like Blair Witch Project, and is a presentation of footage filmed by a group of young journalists. The actors in the film are all unknown, except for the trollhunter himself, and it adds to the feeling of it being a documentary. The film is not really scary at all, it’s more funny, especially if you have some pre-knowledge about Norwegian culture and Norwegian trolls. And the trolls themselves are just awesome!

The movie is about a team of students studying to become journalists who set out to make a documentary about this crazy man who claims that he is a trollhunter. The trollhunter is fed up by the government who conceals all traces of trolls, and he wants the public to know what is really going on in the Norwegian forests. Following is a hilarious and brilliant chase, where we get to know a lot about trolls and how they can still be alive!

What I love the most about this film is how thoroughly all the facts are explained, like why the trolls burst in sunlight, what they eat and how they live, all explained by a veterinarian troll expert! I love the descriptions of the different types of trolls, and I love how amazingly brilliant the trolls actually look on screen.

This movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, as it is VERY Norwegian, but if you like to learn more about other cultures, folklore and the supernatural, then this movie is definitely for you, and I highly recommend it! I would say the movie can be seen by kids from 13 and up, but it depends on the child. I would not have found this movie disturbingly scary as a child, but all children are different. I’d say, if the child enjoys Jurassic Park, he or she can definitely watch this movie. 😊

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For younger kids, or for all kids of all ages, I would recommend the Dreamworks/ Netflix Series “Trollhunters”. It is an animated series that is, I can’t help but think, slightly inspired by the Norwegian Trollhunter. The storyline is brilliant and the animation awesome!

Tři bratři ( Three Brothers)

Tři bratři is a Czech musical Fairy Tale film from 2014 directed by the wonderful Jan Svěrák. This film is a spinoff of some of our most beloved fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty, also known as Briar Rose, Little Red Riding Hood, and a Czech version of Cinderella. I normally do not like modern musical fantasy films that much, but I adored this film! It might have a little bit to do with the fact that I love the beautiful sing-song Czech language. I especially appreciated the sweet voice of Little Red Riding Hood. And many of the musical scenes had me squealing with delight! 😊😊

This film is not a commercial film, so there are no computerized special effects, well a very very few but nothing to speak of, something that I very much appreciate. I loved all the little well-thought out details, like the witch’s cottage on the murky pond, the big bad wolf, the beautifully folksy decorated inside of Cinderella’s house, and granny’s adorable forest cottage. Everything with its own Czech flair. I also loved the costumes and the beautiful Czech people with their make-up free angelic looks and natural hair. It is a breath of fresh air from the, in my opinion, over-glamorized Hollywood fantasy films with all their high-tech special effects. I also loved how the fairy tales were not made into politically correct modern stories. They were rather made humorous, but not in a mocking way, rather in a sweet deliciously can’t-stop-grinning-ouch-my-cheeks-hurt kind of way.😄

Tři bratři is definitely different, and might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those who love big Hollywood productions like the new versions of the Disney classics, but if you, like me, love seeing movies from different countries, to see a glimpse of another way of telling stories, and very unique and beautiful cinematography, then you will definitely appreciate this little gem!

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities is a children’s fantasy book written by Shannon Messenger. The book is aimed at children from 10 years and up, but the children in the book are around 12-14 years old. Keeper of the Lost Cities is the first book in a fantasy series about Sophie Foster.

Sophie Foster is a 12 year old girl who has been a telepath since she was five. She also has a photographic memory, something which has made her excel in school. But these special abilities have always made Sophie feel alone and out of place. She doesn’t really have any friends and she is so different from her sister and parents that she sometimes wonders if she was adopted. So one day, when a boy, a little older than herself, shows up claiming he is an elf, and that so is she, Sophie is surprised, but perhaps not as shocked as she should be. The elvin boy takes her with him home to see his elvin family in a magic country where having special abilities is a very common thing. Sophie feels at home at right away, but when the elves ask her to leave her human family forever and come live with them instead, Sophie is torn. Can she really leave the only family she has ever known? But if she doesn’t, how will she ever go back to being a normal human girl again?

I loved this book to pieces! The characters are wonderful and very endearing, the language flows like a dream, and the writer takes time to describe details and scenarios that spark our imagination and make the story very atmospheric. The plot reminded me again of J.K Rowling; the elvin kids go to a magical academy and much of the story takes place there. Having said that, this was not a new storyline when J.K Rowling wrote it either, so I am definitely not saying this book copies from the Harry Potter books. Rather I would say that this book is perfect for lovers of the Harry Potter series (like me). Sophie’s world is filled with magic, but also with difficult decisions, dilemmas and trials. What is different in this story is that it is more realistic in a way, I mean, the writer talks about some of the issues that we face today, of course in a symbolic way, and how those who often feel like misfits, are the ones who will have to step up and be the heroes.

I will heartily recommend this book to all lovers of the fantasy genre, children and adults alike, but perhaps especially to those who feel different, like many of the children we call “Star children” do.

Of course five beautiful golden stars to this magical book! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom is a picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The book’s target group is children from 3-7 years old.

This little enchanted story, told in rhyme, is about a kind witch who goes out on a flight on her broom. Along the way she meets different animals who all wants to tag along. The kind witch grants them their wish, and this turns out to be a very lucky decision, for soon she meets a dragon who wants to eat her!

I absolutely fell in love with this adorable book! It is one of those picture books that will become a magic totem pole for a a child’s entire childhood. You know, one of those treasures that will transport you right back to that wonderful world, when you have long since left it behind.

I can just imagine a little child begging his or her guardian to read this book over and over again, and I think this is one of those books you wouldn’t even mind re-reading a hundred times over. When I first read it I was just dying to make all those adorable voices ( well, I kind of did after some time, I just couldn’t resist….!😳😳) and I laughed out loud at some of the funny parts!😂😂

I absolutely highly recommend this enchanting book! If you are one of those who have little ones in your life (or just someone like me who collects children’s books) , I would say it would make a wonderful addition to your children’s book library!

Of course, five beautiful twinkling stars! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time is a children’s fantasy book written by Madeleine L’Engle. It is aimed at children from 10 years and up, but I would say it rather suits children from 12 years and up. In fact, this book is quite an alternative book that I think will be be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age, who is interested in science, philosophy and spirituality.

Meg, our heroine, is the oldest child in a family of six. She doesn’t feel like she is anything special, except perhaps good in maths. She is not beautiful like her mother or smart like her little brother. Nevertheless, when Meg, her baby brother and their friend, Calvin, set out on a mission to find Meg’s long lost scientist father, it is Meg who has to step up and be the real hero. But can she really defeat the darkness known as IT all by herself? And how in the world is she going to do that when her prodigy brother and brilliant father have already failed?

This book is different, very different. It is full of symbolism, philosophical and scientific references, and quotes from different cultures and respected cultural personalities. The scientific principles explained in the book is not easy to understand, not even for me and I am an adult! The book has been labeled a science fantasy novel, but to me, it feels more like a fable. It is definitely a book with a strong message, and the whole story is built up specifically to convey this message.

In my opinion, this book is perfect for those whom we call Star children (Indigo-, Crystal -, and rainbow children). People who feel they have been born with an insight that nobody else seems to have, or perhaps a very rare and powerful talent that often urges them to be light workers; someone who dedicates their life to show mankind the way onwards.

I would absolutely recommend this book to all star children, light workers, and children and adults alike who have a special interest in science, philosophy and spirituality.
It is a short book, and most definitely worth the read!

P.S I just learnt that this book is being made into a movie, starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon, that will be released next year. I will say, it is a much needed story to be told.

Storybound

Storybound is a children’s fantasy book written by Marissa Burt. It is a part of a duology about Una Fairchild and her adventures in Story. This book is aimed at children 10-13 years old, but I think even younger kids might like it. Even though the heroine of the book is twelve years old.

This is one of those novels where the heroine disappears into a book where she finds a magical land where all the characters she always thought were only fictional prove to be real. Una Fairchild falls into Story in the middle of Peter’s practical examination where he has to fight a dragon in order to save a lady in distress. When he discovers Una in the cave he thinks she might be another maiden in need of a knight so he tries to save her too. But Una is not brought up to be a lady and she is more than ready to try to save herself. Later, Peter and Una become friends and Una joins him in the school where he is training to become a storybook character. But why has Una really come to Story? Will she ever get back to her real world? And who is the mysterious lady in red lurking around talking about Write-Ins?

I loved this story, and the plot, even though it has been told many times before, is original and creative. This book reminded me a lot of Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series, which has much of the same storyline. This book however, is a richer, but also more demanding read. It took me a long time to get into the story, and much of the plot is revealed through dialogue (there is a lot of eavesdropping) and reading of passages in books. The action part comes at the end of the book, something that can require too much patience for a young child. I found that the language didn’t flow as easily as I would have liked in a children’s book, but having said that, the book is very popular, so it might just be a personal preference thing.

I would definitely recommend this book, but for children who are a little impatient and like more action-driven books I would rather suggest checking out Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories” series.