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The Gift of the Magi Hardcover – September 9, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
O. Henry's classic tale of Della and Jim, the struggling newlyweds so anxious to give each other a Christmas gift that each sells the one thing the other holds most dear, receives an oddly lifeless treatment here. Heyer's meticulously detailed illustrations are pretty but stilted; the characters look like mannequins. The rueful Jim fares better than poor prematurely middle-aged Della, who at times looks more like his mother than his wife. Still, the story is as touching as ever, and neither time nor mediocre artwork can dim its glory. All ages.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up–An illustrated, unabridged version of the classic short story in which a young husband and wife each, unbeknownst to the other, gives up a most treasured possession to buy the other a wonderful gift. The gifts, of course, are useless as a result, but the couple's love is presumably all the stronger. The sepia-toned watercolors have an authentic period look; the details present in the New York City street scenes and the couple's rather shabby apartment add a strong feeling of time and place to the story. Very different in style from Lisbeth Zwerger's lovely and delicate version (S & S, 2006), this is a fine choice for libraries needing another illustrated edition of this Christmas tale.–Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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O. Henry was an American short story writer who lived from 1862 to 1910, and alas drank himself to death. This is his most popular story, and it has endlessly been produced, modified and even parodied. Mrs. James Dillingham Young, more commonly called Della, has scrimped and saved, and bargained hard with merchants, but only has a $1.87 to show for it, and she needs $21 to buy the watch chain for her husband’s most prized position: an inherited gold watch.. She decides to sell her most prized position, her luxuriant long hair, and secures 20 bucks. Meanwhile, her husband is on the same wavelength… and it does not require much imagination to guess the actions he undertakes to obtain a valued gift for his wife. Each sacrifices what is most precious to them for the other, negating the utility, but not the meaning of their sacrifice.
In the written version of the story, O. Henry provided the following anti-brand statement, long before brands became a dominant consideration: “properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation – as all good things should do.” A straightforward Christmas tale on that ever so elusive true meaning thereof: 4-stars.
One of the greatest short story writers ever, O. Henry knew how to write about ordinary people to make them seem extraordinary. In GIFT, we are not told this young, happy couple lives in a tenement building, we are shown it in details. I loved how Della has to hang out her long hair to get it dry.
A lesson about what true gift giving is all about. I've read this to my daughter and granddaughters, and we all believe this is one of the greatest tales ever written. Many struggle to exist in today's iffy economy, yet you can only hope a sense of humor remains and love deepens due to not spending a fortune on gifts, yet giving from the heart and being able to laugh no matter the outcome.
Although I believe everyone knows the end of this story, I won't insert a spoiler, but I will ask that you re-read this short, especially the ending line. A tragic mix up, so filled with beautiful sentiment, it will bring a tear to the eye while bringing a smile to your heart. Be as wise as a Magi