Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Booky Advent Calendar Day 8 - "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens and Quentin Blake (Pavilion Children's Books)

Is there a more Christmassy book than this? For Day 10 on our Booky Advent Calendar here's a festive classic reprinted lovingly in a new hardback edition...
Along with Shakespeare, Dickens is an author who it's taken me a very long time to gain any sort of an appreciation for. Sadly, school is largely responsible for me spurning both Shakespeare and Dickens in my misspent youth, taught without passion and introduced at an age when I had practically convinced myself that I actually *was* Han Solo.

So one thing I've always taken care to do through this blog is to introduce the classics to Charlotte only if she shows a keen interest in them. Up till now we've delved into "Oliver Twist" and along with this fabulous story, "A Christmas Carol" they still remain the only two Dickens works that I adore wholeheartedly.

Revisiting "A Christmas Carol" in this reprinted edition from Pavilion, with illustrations by one of my favourite artists - Sir Quentin Blake - Obviously helps a lot as there's no better person to visually bring to life Dickens' fruitcake-rich prose than Sir Quent.

The story opens on a bleak morning as the winter cold starts to bite, and the miserly old Scrooge and his put-upon apprentice Bob Cratchitt eke out a living in a counting house. Scrooge receives a visit from his ebullient nephew, overcome with the joys of the season, but Scrooge is having none of it.

"HUMBUG!" he cries - but Scrooge is about to experience a Christmas he'll never forget...

There have been so many adaptations, so many books, television shows, movies that have tapped into Dickens' perfect Christmas tale (even Doctor Who has had more than one stab at nabbing the story or kidnapping Dickens himself for an adventure or two). This version feels like a hearty christmas feast as Scrooge is haunted by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future and changes his curmudgeonly ways.

Charlotte found this version dazzling and engrossing as I'd hoped she would, and I secretly hope that it'll make her curious enough about Dickens' other works that she'll independently go off and explore A Tale Of Two Cities or Nicholas Nickelby herself.

A timeless story gorgeously presented and illustrated. If you're going to serve up classics to your kids and are looking for a first Dickens story to introduce them to, there's no better place to start than here.

Charlotte's favourite bit: The Ghost of Christmas Past showing Scrooge that he wasn't always an old misery guts

Daddy's favourite bit: One of my favourite Dickens stories dished up in new festive finery with glorious Quentin Blake illustrations (and, I might add, at a bit of a bargain price). Perfect!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Pavilion Children's Books)

"A Christmas Carol"

Written by Charles Dickens

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Published by Pavilion Children's Books

Publication Date: 12th November 2015