I’ve always adored the timeless, enduring message of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. Perhaps it stems from my youth, when my parents would take us to the theater to see the annual stage production. Or perhaps it was my academic focus on 19th century history and literature as a college student that bred my fondness for Scrooge’s reformation. Maybe it’s that I cherish the sound of laughter and togetherness watching the The Muppet Christmas Carol with my girls. Whatever the motivation, A Christmas Carol has cemented itself as a necessary staple of our holiday season. Through Scrooge we are reminded that Christmas isn’t about things, that sharing is more wonderful than getting, family matters most, it is never too late to turn over a new leaf, and that forgiveness is easily given. I adore many of the film versions, from the aforementioned Muppets (Gonzo is spectacular as narrator, and Miss Piggy does a perfect Mrs. Cratchit), to Scrooged, a commentary on ’80’s indulgence (with a fantastic Bill Murray), to the terrifying iterations of Scrooge as done by Patrick Stewart or George C. Scott. However, I recommend giving the written story a try – from the original work, to adaptations for younger readers, to inventive interpretations – curl up by the fire and experience the true magic of Dicken’s classic tale.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Illustrated by Brett Helquist – This picture book version of the beloved tale of Scrooge and his midnight apparitions is a wonderful addition to every holiday library and a perfect introduction to the story for younger readers. It would make a wonderful holiday tradition to gather round the fire to read this aloud together as a family. (PB/RA)
Magic Tree House #44: A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time by Mary Pope Osborne – Jack and Annie are transported to Victorian England where they meet up with writer Charles Dickens. Although he appears to have everything he needs, Dickens has secrets about his past that haunt him. Can Jack and Annie save the beloved writer of a Christmas Carol? For more information on Dickens London check out Rags and Riches: Kids in the Time of Charles Dickens the non-fiction companion book by Mary Pope Osborne and Natalie Pope Boyce. (ER-1/3)
Cracked Classics: Humbug Holiday by Tony Abbott – When Frankie & Devin need a little boost with their English homework they usually get banished to the library where, to their surprise, they are frequently zapped into the books they are supposed to be reading. This time they are in Victorian England where they come face to face with the grumpiest grouch they’ve ever encountered. Can they help soften Scrooge’s cold heart and make sure he listens to the visiting spirits? (MR-4)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova – A beautifully illustrated edition of the classic story of Ebeneezer Scrooge, a miser who, through the midnight visitations of three spirits, learns the true meaning of Christmas and discovers it isn’t too late to embrace the joy of the season and change his fate. (MR 6+/YA/RA)