Some Seasonal Chestnuts

Name the book, made up of only 30,000 words, that catapulted Christmas from a second tier holiday to a first class-all-out national extravaganza season, that has never been out of print in over 150 years yet was written in a mere 6 weeks, and inspired more than 250 film, television and stage productions, not to mentioned endless book adaptations and illustrators. “Bah, Humbug”, you must have guessed it: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Even now, as you read this, this 2009 holiday season awaits the opening of a 3-D movie starring Jim Carrey as Scrooge.

For your holiday pleasure, travel a bit around Victorian London with the library’s collection of Victorian chestnuts:

Read how Dickens came to write his masterpiece in The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford. The infant Christ is replaced by Tiny Tim, the Holy Ghosts become the three ghosts of Christmas, and salvation depends on a single man’s generosity and spiritual renewal.

If you have some extra time (and who does during the holiday season), delve into The Annotated Christmas Carol – edited by Michael Patrick Hearn. Learn the ‘story behind the story’ in this portrait of the tale, with the original illustrations of John Leech, voluminous notes on the text, and in-depth literary, autobiographical and historical background.

Among the numerous adaptations for young children, one of the newest is the handsomely illustrated A Christmas Carol with art by Brett Helquist, the artist for the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. The pictures are full of authentic Victorian details and the text abridgement makes the story accessible to a wide age range.

Moving up the age scale, we have several interesting variations. A Christmas Carol: the Graphic Novel, a full color spirited rendition of the classic tale really looks scary! Includes 134 pages of color story artwork, details on the life and work of Charles Dickens as well as information on Victorian England

Among the many film adaptations, there is the joyous 1992 version: The Muppet Christmas Carol. Can you resist Kermit as a very green and froggy Bob Cratchit while Michael Caine plays the old miser Scrooge (in human form). Piggy, Fozzie and the entire Muppet cast appear in the first Muppet film to be made after Jim Henson's death in 1990. A family drama that will bring tears and laughter to all.

And I share with all these sentiments for the holiday season: "A merry Christmas, Bob!" said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. "A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year! I'll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob! Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit."

- Karen S.


  1. The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite! It also ties in nicely with the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street.


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