A Christmas Carolclassics-bookclub

By Charles Dickens

Illustrated by P.J. Lynch

Candlewick Press, (1843)


This classic Christmas tale is the book club selection this month from 5 Minutes For Books.

This is a story we all know. Some of the phrases – “Bah Humbug!” and “Merry Christmas, Everyone!” – are part of our Christmas vacabulary. But, I don’t recall reading this book before, or having it read to me. It is a story that has always been there at Christmas time. I know I’ve seen many movie versions as well as a number of stage versions. I’m truly sorry I haven’t taken the time to actually read the story. 

Knowing the story so well after all these years, to read Mr. Dickens (after 165 years I can’t call him by his first name) telling of the tale is, for me, the icing on the cake. The language is stilted, probably because it is from the seventeenth century. But, how can you not love a description like this:

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone. Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.” 

This story begs to be read aloud, by someone gifted in dramatic reading. But I can also imagine this read by ordinary parents and grandparents to the whole family, allowing the listeners to use his or her imagination to fill in the details. So, I’d like to recommend that you set aside a night, or maybe several nights, to read this to your family. Depending on the age of the children, this could be a shared reading, letting everyone in on the reading act. Whichever way you do it, don’t wait until you are in your sixties, like I did, to actually read the real words of this classic tale. Add this to your list of annual traditions.

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