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A Child's Christmas in Wales (New Edition) Paperback – October 25, 2016
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“A merrier and more pungent celebration of the season for family reading aloud has not been written in our time.”
- The Nation
- Chicago Tribune
“Surely this Christmas story ranks among the great experiences of the language.”
- Harper’s Magazine
“The language is enchanting and the poetry shines with an unearthly radiance.”
- The New York Times
About the Author
The reputation of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) as one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century has not waned in the fifty years since his death. His work, noted for its lush metaphors, musicality, and playfulness within traditional forms, was largely responsible for modernizing poetic verse. Thomas also wrote captivating short stories, a novella, several screenplays and radio plays, as well as his delightful stage play, Under Milk Wood―all infused with his passion for the English language and his enduring love of Wales.
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I am giving five stars to the hardcover 48-page Candlewick Press edition of 2013, illustrated by Chris Raschka. This is one of my all-time favorite stories to read at Christmas. In fact, I believe that no Christmas should go by without a read-aloud of this book, even if it is to one's self. Anyone who loves the music of spoken words and poetic imagery will love doing this.
As for the Raschka illustrations, they are growing on me. I'm not fond of some of the colors he used, but there is a liveliness and motion to the drawings that complement Thomas' s story and style.
I also like the compact size and shape of this book - a 6" X 8.5" oblong.
So do ignore the misplaced reviews- this is a charming edition.
This is a small, nicely printed soft-bound volume, which stores with the now CD version of the original reading in the Christmas box until next year.
This book is charming, witty, and has withstood the test of time. The telling is as loving and comfortable today as it was in the bygone days when Dylan Thomas laid pen to paper and created this wonderful Christmas Tale.
A treat, when Thomas describes a Useless Present: "a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow..." I've known cats like this, black & white cow-cats, who poke around, eating grass, and moo-mewing.
The poetry of the narrative will pull you in: "All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hand in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting on the rim of the carol-singing sea . . ."
One things leads to another, you also may enjoy the lyrical film: The Secret of Roan Inish.
The three copies of this version of "A Child's Christmas ... " I ordered earlier this year, arrived in my mailbox, this week, and I was really pleased to lay eyes them. I was a little disappoionted that the booklet no longer comes with the coordinating envelope that has made it so perfect for "gifting" for so many years, but the texture of the paper that covers the book, and Ellen Raskin's woodcut illustrations still set this publication in a class by itself.
I highly recommend this version of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" as a wonderful read and a choice gift.
It isn't for everyone. Some will find that even listening to the tale is "too much like work." Dylan Thomas does roll on.
There's little punctuation, so, I suggest practicing before reading aloud, but do read it aloud. The youngest of children love it! And, why not ... there are firemen and candy cigarettes, useful presents and useless ones ... lots of merriement for young and old.
My only complaint is that Amazon sent me a crunched copy. I could have returned it but decided not to bother. I will return damaged books in the future. After putting it under a pile of heavy books for several weeks, the book is flatter but will never look like a new book and it *was* purchased new.