Reviews for Christmas Carol


Booklist Reviews 2009 October #2
Pairing a text shortened enough to be read in a single session with gasp-inducing illustrations, this rendition of the classic tale is well suited for reading aloud to younger audiences. Opening with an attention-getting "MARLEY WAS DEAD" in block letters, the narrative moves forward without long-winded descriptive passages and inessential details but with the original's sonorous tone intact: "The Spirit answered not, but pointed onward with its hand." The illustrations follow suit with full-page or full-spread scenes of a pared-down human cast in carefully drawn Victorian settings, led by a silver-haired Scrooge whose scowl and sharply chiseled nose perfectly capture his ill humor. The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and To Come are particularly notable presences (the last could double as a Dementor), appearing suddenly and towering over the terrified miser as they guide him through what was, is, and very well could be unless he mends his ways. Which he does, of course, and is last seen happily squiring the newly nimble Tiny Tim and an unnamed Cratchit daughter home. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #2
The beloved Christmas classic is skillfully adapted for this simplified introduction to the tale, amplified by large-format art from the illustrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Helquist's artistic style is an excellent match for the Dickensian world of mysterious spirits and spooky graveyards, and the illustrations are full of authentic Victorian details in costumes and settings. The extra-large trim size gives him plenty of room to depict the complex scenes of Scrooge's travels through time and space, and the artist succeeds in making him a believable character who transitions from a grouchy, gray grump to a jovial fellow ready to enjoy life. This abridgement makes the original story accessible to a wide age range and would be a fine preparation for families preparing to attend a theatrical production of A Christmas Carol. (Picture book. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 October #4

Helquist's vision of the classic story depicts a hawkish Scrooge (who's a cadaverous shade of green) against a backdrop of bustling Victorian streets, with pleasing touches of detail, humor and a few frightful strokes. When the clock strikes one, announcing the arrival of the first ghost, the moon hangs in an unholy green sky, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come stands in a tattered cloak, surrounded by eddying mists (but also draped with strings of Christmas lights). The eye-catching art makes a strong pairing to the accessible abridgment of Dickens's text. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)

[Page 57]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 October

Gr 3 Up-Dickens's cautionary tale of an embittered, stingy old man learning to be a happier, more giving person thanks to the intervention of four ghosts has long been fodder for holiday collections. From its stark opening spread ("MARLEY WAS DEAD") to the final one with its much more cheerful winter scene, this year's version, illustrated in Helquist's darkly comic style, is one of the best. Some of that credit must go to Greenhut, who provided the abridgment. Sacrificing none of Dickens's rich language, this retelling reads beautifully. The artist uses watercolor, pencil, and pastel to create cinematic artwork that contains amusing details; additionally, there are a number of pen-and-ink vignettes that help set the scenes. A winning combination of sparkling prose and exciting art.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library

[Page 79]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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