3 Dec 2011

Many Christmas Carols

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant, C.D.

December, 1843.
School Library Journal posted yesterday about some of the new versions of the classic Dickens tale, A Christmas Carol. Zip off and have a read, and then come back, okay?

Remarkable Reads: 'A Christmas Carol'

Right then. Comfy?

They are remarkable reads indeed, are they not? Most of them (four of the five) leave me with a dreadfully sour Scrooge-like disapproving look on my Charlotte Mason face. We have an abridgement - "less threatening to those who tend to avoid the classics". There's a graphic novel collection of classics by well known authors including Mark Twain, O. Henry and Willa Cather as well as Dickens - "Teens won't be able to walk by the spooky cover without picking it up!" There's a version with a twist - Scrooge is a broken hearted teen, and it's set on Valentine's Day. (Wonder what they've done with Tiny Tim's "God bless us, everyone"?) The final offering is a doozy. It's called It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies: A Book of Zombies Christmas Carols. Need I say more? I won't. SLJ say that it's "A great jump-starter for a teen program during the winter break!" Apparently it's hysterical. Bah Humbug!

There is so many versions of this classic Christmas tale that it's impossible to make a list of them all. There are a dozen different movies - including this one, which I do like:

I love this 1910 silent version by Thomas Edison as well:

There are also some wonderful books. I'd like to, if I may, show you three of the versions contained (still) in our Basket of Delights. They are, all three wonderful.

I'll begin with this one:

This unabridged version is one of my favourite Carols because of the divine illustrations by P J Lynch:

The pages open well, the paper is rich and creamy, and it's well bound. The perfect read-aloud version, this one. It's out this year in an affordable paperback version as well.

The next Carol is this one that I posted about last year.

It's Chuck Fischer and Bruce Foster's magnificent pop-up version. It's also unabridged - the whole story is included in five richly illustrated booklets (A sixth provides a bio of Dickens and an interesting essay entitled "The Enduring Appeal of A Christmas Carol"). Jemimah and I poured over this one last year - and no doubt will again this season, but this is probably not the version I'd chose as a read-aloud, at least, not more than once. As an adjunct, though, Foster's paper engineering makes it incredible!

This final Carol is my favourite. You can't imagine how happy I was to discover that it had survived the flood.

It's a tiny - 7x10cm leatherette version with gold edged pages. It's old, I don't know how old, but I doubt that it was ever read.

Here are the illustrated endpapers:

Contented sigh, I just love this dear little book.

Anyhow, those are my three favourite print versions of A Christmas Carol. If I had to add a fourth it would be this one illustrated by Robert Ingpen, but I don't have a copy, and so I haven't talked about it. I like it though.

To me, all of them are better than the SLJ offerings. Ugh.

Which is your favourite version of A Christmas Carol? Do share.


  1. Oh my--I have a tiny leatherette copy of Dickens' The Chimes, and the title page and its facing page are illustrated in a somewhat similar style. The cover doesn't have those little scrolly things in the corners, though--just a line around the edges.

    It was printed by Collins Clear Type Press, London and Glasgow, and it's been in my father's family probably since the 1920's or '30's. There's a gift inscription, but no date.

    Do you think our books are siblings?

  2. Very nice indeed! I have two versions and I did say how I felt about the lovely pop up version on my blog which I now own. I'm tempted to buy the first book that you showed now.

  3. Chuckle, Sarah, you are turning into a bibliomaniac before my very eyes.

  4. now I'm quite sure the little leatherette versions should sometime meet for further scrutiny... they would be my favorites. :)

    I'm so glad it survived the flood.


  5. Now I am just wondering if it is totally totally horrific to tell you, I haven't ever read a Christmas Carol. I rubles it needs to go on our Christmas list of books to buy and sneak it out each night once the little children are in bed.

  6. Totally horrific? To me? Nah. You'll like it when you do, though, I think.

  7. oh I just read my comment. I don't know how I got rubles instead of think.

  8. My favorite is YOUR favorite! The photos are enough to sway me. I am also strongly drawn to the one gorgeously illustrated by Lynch.

    And GAG is my response to the SJL "offerings." Most ridiculous.

  9. Popping in from over at Erins' I loved this book too. No favourite to list just popping in to say hi and I noticed you are in my state :)

  10. here's an free audio version I just came across online, i know... not the same, but still, just in case you collect audiobooks as well ;)



  11. I love the story of A Christmas Carol! Although I haven't read the original in some time. Our children have really enjoyed the Micky version and the Muppet's as well.

  12. I just got the movie from the library! It is from 1938 .

    I know in the past, I have tried reading the story to ds, but it was too scary for him.

  13. I'm guessing the Flintstones Christmas Carol isn't a favorite down under?

    I love the little leather book--what a treasure to have!

  14. I like Henry Winkler's An American Christmas Carol, set in the 1930's. The setting is supposed to be New England, but it was actually filmed near where we live in Ontario. You can watch it on YouTube.


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