|A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman|
Written by Charles Dickens
Cover art by Trina Schart Hyman
Holiday House , 1986
118 pages, 29000 words
Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's signature was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was dead as a doornail.
If you haven't read the original, isn't it high time you experienced the richness of Dickens's text or shared it with the young people in your life? It isn't just Charles Dickens's plotting ability which makes his work endure. His character description, humor, and vivid comparisons make him a master story-teller.
As a life-long fan of artist Trina Schart Hyman, it's no wonder this is my favorite copy of A Christmas Carol. In keeping with the holiday spirit, her colors are rich and her details lavish. Hyman's ability to draw people, old, young, crooked, sly, merry, or other-worldly, makes her an ideal artist to re-envision this classic.
1. I love this edition of A Christmas Carol, but any unabridged copy will do. Reading aloud is a great option for introducing kids to difficult vocabulary and old-fashioned style. If you haven't the time or skill to gather around this book as a family, grab the CD of Patrick Stewart's abridged audio version. He has kept much of the rich language and descriptions, giving life to the dynamic characters in the story, and including bits you might not be familiar with. His performance is truly astonishing. Play the audiobook while trimming the tree or with a bowl of popcorn by the fireside. Once you've heard it a few times, reading the original manuscript will be much more natural.
|Audio version of A Christmas Carol one-man-show |
performed by Patrick Stewart
2. Brett Helquist has created a picture book version, if you must. Helquist's style is eerie, matching the ghostly tone. The text is a pretty good interpretation of the original. However, I am not a believer in shielding kids from complex language. I read my first Dickens at 11 years old. Naturally I struggled a bit, but I remember clearly the satisfaction as I conquered each chapter. There's so much more to the story than what will fit in forty pages. If your reader is almost ready for the original, try the version from Eyewitness Classics. I love how DK uses photos and drawings alongside the text to help readers understand the historical references. I would've pored over these books as a kid.
|Brett Helquist's picture book A Christmas Carol|
|A spread from the Eyewitness Classic edition by DK|
3. If you are looking for a different style of illustration, Quentin Blake's timeless art graces a new edition this year and Arthur Rackham's traditional paintings are just about perfect.
|Quentin Blake, 2016|
|Arthur Rackham, 2016|
God bless us, every one!
Have you reviewed a Marvelous Middle Grade Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!
Check out all the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday recommendations for December 12, 2016.
MMGM started way back in 2010 by Shannon Messenger, author of Keeper of Lost Cities. Each week, participating bloggers review our favorite books for ages 8-12. Why not join us?