Title: Father Christmas’s Fake Beard
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre: Short Stories, Christmas, Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Penguin/Double Day
Published: 16th October 2017
Synopsis: Have you ever wanted Christmas to be different?
Turkey and carols, presents and crackers – they all start to feel a bit . . . samey.
How about a huge exploding mince pie, a pet abominable snowman, or a very helpful partridge in a pear tree? What if Father Christmas went to work at a zoo, or caused chaos in a toy store or, was even, arrested for burglary!?
Dive into the fantastically funny world of Terry Pratchett, for a festive treat like no other. These ten stories will have you laughing, gasping and crying (with laughter) – you’ll never see Christmas in the same way again.
As the first Terry Pratchett I’ve read, Father Christmas’s Fake Beard was a delightful one to start with. In a series of stories appearing together for the first time in the same collection, Father Christmas’s Fake Beard gives the Christmas holiday a sense of whimsy and humour that differs from so many other Christmas stories we know and love. Within these stories, the treasured and much-loved Christmas icons have been used by Pratchett in new and inventive ways to create entertaining Christmas stories, from a story about Father Christmas’s Fake Beard, told in a series of memos between the store he works at, him and those in charge, to a story about the Twelve Gifts of Christmas, based around the song, where a Prince finds a way to give a Princess twelve different gifts, and finally, a story about Father Christmas trying to find a job to do during the other months of the year he’s not delivering gifts over Christmas. Aimed at children, these stories can be enjoyed by all ages, as each reader and age group will connect with these and the meanings will be different to everyone. Being able to see the hints and nods to traditional Christmas and other aspects within the stories was enjoyable.
From this first encounter of Terry Pratchett’s work, I look forward to reading some more of his work. A posthumous publication, this evokes the magic of Christmas and the unique humour of Pratchett – and as a first time reader, I think makes an intriguing and wonderful introduction to his world of writing.