“Christmas Eve at the Mellops” by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving

What starts out as a dilemma of an overabundance of Christmas trees for the Mellop family of pigs, turns into a heartwarming lesson on the power of giving to those in need.

In this quirky Christmas story, first published in 1978, four young piglets from the Mellop family (Casimir, Isidor, Felix and Ferdinand) independently from each other decide to surprise their father by fetching the nicest tree from the forest to decorate for Christmas. “But what a to-do when they got them home! The Mellops’ hall was filled with trees and tears.” 

The family decides that the four trees should be gifted to people who don’t have one. The piglets visit the orphanage, the hospital, the prison and the soldiers’ barracks, offering their charity, but they already have a tree. 

When the boys were about to give up they have come across a house with less-than-fortunate residents lodging in its four rooms – a sick grandmother, a shivering old solider, two frightened children and a lonely old lodger. Not only do the Mellop boys give a Christmas tree to each of those poor souls, but they also supply blankets, firewood, medicines, groceries and food – everything for celebrating Christmas in comfort!

This charming picture book with a typically French flavour is the fruit of Jean-Thomas “Tomi” Ungerer (born 1931), a celebrated French author and illustrator who has been labelled a polymath and a provocateur, and whose motto is “Expect the Unexpected!

It is said that Tomi landed in New York in 1956 with only $60 to his name and a suitcase full of drawings. From there he quickly established himself as a caricaturist, illustrator and children’s book author and went on to publish over 140 books which have been translated into 28 different languages.

In 1998 for his lasting contribution as the creator of illustrated children’s books he received the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is sometimes referred to as the little Nobel Prize for achievements in children’s literature. 

Of his own books Tomi Ungerer says: “If all these books still thrive, now translated into over 40 languages, it is most likely because at the time they broke all the rules applied to children’s books peopled with cushy teddy bears in an illusory world where everyone is nice, happy and stupid”. 

The subtle theme, sparse text and two-toned minimalist illustrations of this inspiring tale of benevolence is bound to put a smile on the face of all those who believe in the power of gift-giving which is conveyed in the true spirit of Christmas.

For more reviews of fabulous Christmas books click here.

"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 12
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 11
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 10
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 09
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 08
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 07
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 06
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 05
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 04
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 03
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 02
"Christmas Eve at the Mellops" by Tomi Ungerer is a lesson on the power of gift-giving Christmas, Hans Christian Andersen Award Kids Book Reviews christmas eve at the mellops Tomi ungerer 01

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Мarmalat
Мarmalat
2 years ago

Хахаха !!!! Какие же смешные поросятки!!!!
Мне так нравится цветовая гамма !!!

Petal & Madam Ziva
Petal & Madam Ziva
2 years ago

Heartwarming story of kindness & charity at Christmas… A fabulous book for the whole family

Neverenoughalicebooks
Neverenoughalicebooks
2 years ago

A very interesting story told in an amazing way. The style in which these illustrations are made – perfection!

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