A Christmas Carol

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Overview

One of the best-loved and most quoted stories of "the man who invented Christmas"-English writer Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and has touched millions of hearts since. Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like. . .and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and ...
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A Christmas Carol

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Overview

One of the best-loved and most quoted stories of "the man who invented Christmas"-English writer Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and has touched millions of hearts since. Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like. . .and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. Experience a true Victorian Christmas!

A miser learns the true meaning of Christmas when three ghostly visitors review his past and foretell his future.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

A Christmas Carol has been made into so many films, plays, television shows, and even operas and graphic novels that it is sometimes difficult to remember that its purest form is the novel that Charles Dickens wrote in the early 1840s and published with the title "A Christmas Carol in Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas." The original is no mere literary antique; it displays its author's talent for rendering vivid character portraits even as he dispenses his modern sense of social justice. This Penguin Christmas Classic hardcover presents this classic in full trimmings as a low price.

Publishers Weekly
This reissued recording of Stewart's touted Broadway performance might prove to be the enduring interpretation of Dickens's beloved tale of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of past, present, and future who catalyze his transformation. In a production stripped of sound effects, Stewart's theatrical talents take center stage. Reading with a voice that it is at once commanding and fragile, he creates a Scrooge of unexpected complexity and pathos. A spare and dazzling listen that might be the best rendition of the classic since the 1951 Alistair Sim production. (Nov.)
School Library Journal
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
Sunday Express
A sure-fire tear-jerker. At one public reading by Dickens in Boston, there were 'so many pocket handkerchiefs it looked as if a snowstorm had gotten into the hall.
Times
It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending.
From the Publisher
 • "It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending." --The Times
The Horn Book
“A smooth abridgment. The illustrations are rich and lush.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812504347
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 12/15/1990
  • Series: Tor Classics Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Complete and Unabridged
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 401,179
  • Product dimensions: 4.22 (w) x 6.66 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Dickens

Considered by many to be the greatest novelist of the English language, Charles John Hummham Dickens was born Februrary 7, 1812, in Portsmouth, England. Some of his most populars works include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Nicholas Nickleby, A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

Biography

Born on February 7, 1812, Charles Dickens was the second of eight children in a family burdened with financial troubles. Despite difficult early years, he became the most successful British writer of the Victorian age.

In 1824, young Charles was withdrawn from school and forced to work at a boot-blacking factory when his improvident father, accompanied by his mother and siblings, was sentenced to three months in a debtor's prison. Once they were released, Charles attended a private school for three years. The young man then became a solicitor's clerk, mastered shorthand, and before long was employed as a Parliamentary reporter. When he was in his early twenties, Dickens began to publish stories and sketches of London life in a variety of periodicals.

It was the publication of Pickwick Papers (1836-1837) that catapulted the twenty-five-year-old author to national renown. Dickens wrote with unequaled speed and often worked on several novels at a time, publishing them first in monthly installments and then as books. His early novels Oliver Twist (1837-1838), Nicholas Nickleby (1838-1839), The Old Curiosity Shop (1840-1841), and A Christmas Carol (1843) solidified his enormous, ongoing popularity. As Dickens matured, his social criticism became increasingly biting, his humor dark, and his view of poverty darker still. David Copperfield (1849-1850), Bleak House (1852-1853), Hard Times (1854), A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Great Expectations (1860-1861), and Our Mutual Friend (1864-1865) are the great works of his masterful and prolific period.

In 1858 Dickens's twenty-three-year marriage to Catherine Hogarth dissolved when he fell in love with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. The last years of his life were filled with intense activity: writing, managing amateur theatricals, and undertaking several reading tours that reinforced the public's favorable view of his work but took an enormous toll on his health. Working feverishly to the last, Dickens collapsed and died on June 8, 1870, leaving The Mystery of Edwin Drood uncompleted.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of David Copperfield.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Charles John Huffam Dickens (full name) "Boz" (pen name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1812
    2. Place of Birth:
      Portsmouth, England
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1870
    2. Place of Death:
      Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Read an Excerpt

A Christmas Carol

STAVE ONEMARLEY'S GHOSTMARLEY WAS DEAD, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to.Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of iron-mongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically,that Marley was as dead as a door-nail.Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnized it with an undoubted bargain.The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. If we were not perfectly convinced that Hamlet's father died before the play began, there would be nothing more remarkable in his taking a stroll at night, in an easterly wind, upon his own ramparts, than there would be in any other middle-aged gentleman rashly turning out after dark in a breezy spot—say Saint Paul's Churchyard for instance—literally to astonish his son's weak mind.Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterward, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.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. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?" No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind men's dogs appeared to know him; and, when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tailsas though they said, "No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!"But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call "nuts" to Scrooge.Once upon a time—of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve—old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather, foggy withal, and he could hear the people in the court outside go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavement stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already—it had not been light all day—and candles were flaring in the windows of the neighboring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air. The fog came pouring in at every chink and keyhole, and was so dense without, that, although the court was of the narrowest, the houses opposite were mere phantoms. To see the dingy cloud come drooping down, obscuring everything, one might have thought that Nature lived hard by, and was brewing on a large scale.The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open, that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who, in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room;and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, the master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the clerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in which effort, not being a man of a strong imagination, he failed."A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!" cried a cheerful voice. It was the voice of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first intimation he had of his approach."Bah!" said Scrooge. "Humbug!"He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again."Christmas a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge's nephew. "You don't mean that, I am sure?" "I do," said Scrooge. "Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough." "Come, then," returned the nephew gaily. "What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough."Scrooge, having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said "Bah!" again; and followed it up with "Humbug!" "Don't be cross, uncle!" said the nephew."What else can I be," returned the uncle, "when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas-time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a yearolder, and not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books, and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!" "Uncle!" pleaded the nephew."Nephew!" returned the uncle sternly, "keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it in mine." "Keep it!" repeated Scrooge's nephew. "But you don't keep it." "Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge. "Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!" "There are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew, "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas-time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, Ibelieve that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark forever."Let me hear another sound from you," said Scrooge, "and you'll keep your Christmas by losing your situation! You're quite a powerful speaker, sir," he added, turning to his nephew. "I wonder you don't go into Parliament." "Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us to-morrow."Scrooge said that he would see him——Yes, indeed, he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first."But why?" cried Scrooge's nephew. "Why?" "Why did you get married?" said Scrooge."Because I fell in love." "Because you fell in love!" growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. "Good afternoon!" "Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?""Good afternoon," said Scrooge."I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?" "Good afternoon!" said Scrooge."I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to whichI have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humor to the last. So a merry Christmas, uncle!" "Good afternoon," said Scrooge."And a happy New Year!" "Good afternoon!" said Scrooge.His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding. He stopped at the outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who, cold as he was, was warmer than Scrooge, for he returned them cordially."There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge, who overheard him; "my clerk, with fifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas. I'll retire to Bedlam."This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood with their hats off, in Scrooge's office. They had books and papers in their hands, and bowed to him."Scrooge and Marley's I beieve," said one of the gentlemen, referring to his list. "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Scrooge, or Mr. Marley?" "Mr. Marley has been dead these seven years," Scrooge replied. "He died seven years ago, this very night." "We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner," said the gentleman, presenting his credentials.It certainly was; for they had been two kindred spirits. At the ominous word "liberality," Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back."At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir." "Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge."Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again."And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?" "They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not." "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigor, then?" said Scrooge."Both very busy, sir." "Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it." "Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?" "Nothing!" Scrooge replied."You wish to be anonymous?" "I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is myanswer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas, and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there." "Many can't go there; and many would rather die.""If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides—excuse me—I don't know that." "But you might know it," observed the gentleman."It's not my business," Scrooge returned. "It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!"Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point, the gentlemen withdrew. Scrooge resumed his labors with an improved opinion of himself, and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him.Meanwhile the fog and darkness thickened so that people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way. The ancient tower of a church, whose gruff old bell was always peeping slyly down at Scrooge out of a Gothic window in the wall, became invisible, and struck the hours and quarters in the clouds, with tremulous vibrations afterward, as if its teeth were chattering in its frozen head up there. The cold became intense. In the main street, at the corner of thecourt, some laborers were repairing the gas-pipes, and had lighted a great fire in a brazier, round which a party of ragged men and boys were gathered, warming their hands and winking their eyes before the blaze, in rapture. The water-plug being left in solitude, its overflowings suddenly congealed, and turned to misanthropic ice. The brightness of the shops, where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp heat of the windows, made pale faces ruddy as they passed. Poulterers' and grocers' trades became a splendid joke; a glorious pageant, with which it was next to impossible to believe that such dull principles as bargain and sale had anything to do. The Lord Mayor, in the stronghold of the mighty Mansion House, gave orders to his fifty cooks and butlers to keep Christmas as a Lord Mayor's household should; and even the little tailor, whom he had fined five shillings on the previous Monday for being drunk and bloodthirsty in the streets, stirred up tomorrow's pudding in his garret, while his lean wife and baby sallied out to buy the beef.Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold. If the good Saint Dunstan had but nipped the Evil Spirit's nose with a touch of such weather as that, instead of using his familiar weapons, then, indeed, he would have roared to lusty purpose. The owner of one scant young nose, gnawed and mumbled by the hungry cold as bones are gnawed by dogs, stooped down at Scrooge's keyhole to regale him with a Christmas carol; but at the first sound of Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action, that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost."God rest you, merry gentleman, May nothing you dismay"At length the hour of shutting up the counting-house arrived. With an ill will Scrooge dismounted from his stool, and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the tank, who instantly snuffed his candle out, and put on his hat."You'll want all day to-morrow, I suppose?" said Scrooge."If quite convenient, sir." "It's not convenient," said Scrooge, "and it's not fair. If I was to stop half a crown for it, you'd think yourself ill used, I'll be bound?"The clerk smiled faintly."And yet," said Scrooge, "you don't think me ill used when I pay a day's wages for no work."The clerk observed that it was only once a year."A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" said Scrooge, buttoning his greatcoat to the chin. "But I suppose you must have the whole day. Be here all the earlier next morning."The clerk promised that he would; and Scrooge walked out with a growl. The office was closed in a twinkling, and the clerk, with the long ends of his white comforter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no greatcoat), went down a slide on Cornhill, at the end of a lane of boys, twenty times, in honor of its being Christmas Eve, andthen ran home to Camden Town, as hard as he could pelt, to play at blindman's buff.Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern; and having read all the newspapers, and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's book, went home to bed. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceased partner. They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and have forgotten the way out again. It was old enough now, and dreary enough, for nobody lived in it but Scrooge, the other rooms being all let out as offices. The yard was so dark that even Scrooge, who knew its every stone, was fain to grope with his hands. The fog and frost so hung about the black old gateway of the house, that it seemed as if the Genius of the Weather sat in mournful meditation on the threshold.Now it is a fact that there was nothing at all particular about the knocker on the door, except that it was very large. It is also a fact that Scrooge had seen it, night and morning, during his whole residence in that place; also that Scrooge had as little of what is called fancy about him as any man in the City of London, even including—which is a bold word—the corporation, aldermen, and livery. Let it also be borne in mind that Scrooge had not bestowed one thought on Marley, since his last mention of his seven-years-dead partner that afternoon. And then let any man explain to me, if hecan, how it happened that Scrooge, having his key in the lock of the door, saw in the knocker, without its undergoing any intermediate process of change—not a knocker, but Marley's face.Marley's face. It was not in impenetrable shadow, as the other objects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar. It was not angry or ferocious, but looked at Scrooge as Marley used to look: with ghostly spectacles turned up on its ghostly forehead. The hair was curiously stirred, as if by breath or hot air; and though the eyes were wide open, they were perfectly motionless. That, and its livid color, made it horrible; but its horror seemed to be in spite of the face, and beyond its control, rather than a part of its own expression.As Scrooge looked fixedly at this phenomenon it was a knocker again.To say that he was not startled, or that his blood was not conscious of a terrible sensation to which it had been a stranger from infancy, would be untrue. But he put his hand upon the key he had relinquished, turned it sturdily, walked in, and lighted his candle.He did pause, with a moment's irresolution, before he shut the door; and he did look cautiously behind it first, as if he half expected to be terrified with the sight of Marley's pigtail sticking out into the hall. But there was nothing on the back of the door, except the screws and nuts that held the knocker on, so he said, "Pooh, pooh!" and closed it with a bang.The sound resounded through the house likethunder. Every room above, and every cask in the wine-merchant's cellars below, appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own. Scrooge was not a man to be frightened by echoes. He fastened the door, and walked across the hall, and up the stairs, slowly, too, trimming his candle as he went.You may talk vaguely about driving a coach and six up a good old flight of stairs, or through a bad young Act of Parliament; but I mean to say you might have got a hearse up that staircase, and taken it broadwise, with the splinter-bar toward the wall, and the door toward the balustrades, and done it easy. There was plenty of width for that, and room to spare; which is perhaps the reason why Scrooge thought he saw a locomotive hearse going on before him in the gloom. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of the street wouldn't have lighted the entry too well, so you may suppose that it was pretty dark with Scrooge's dip.Up Scrooge went, not caring a button for that. Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it. But before he shut his heavy door, he walked through his rooms to see that all was right. He had just enough recollection of the face to desire to do that.Sitting-room, bedroom, lumber-room. All as they should be. Nobody under the table, nobody under the sofa; a small fire in the grate; spoon and basin ready; and the little saucepan of gruel (Scrooge had a cold in his head) upon the hob. Nobody under the bed; nobody in the closet; nobody in his dressing-gown, which was hanging up in a suspicious attitude against the wall. Lumber-roomas usual. Old fire-guard, old shoes, two fish-baskets, washing-stand on three legs, and a poker.Quite satisfied, he closed his door, and locked himself in; double-locked himself in, which was not his custom. Thus secured against surprise, he took off his cravat, put on his dressing-gown and slippers, and his night-cap, and sat down before the fire to take his gruel.It was a very low fire indeed; nothing on such a bitter night. He was obliged to sit close to it, and brood over it, before he could extract the least sensation of warmth from such a handful of fuel. The fireplace was an old one, built by some Dutch merchant long ago, and paved all round with quaint Dutch tiles, designed to illustrate the Scriptures. There were Cains and Abels, Pharaoh's daughters, Queens of Sheba, angelic messengers descending through the air on clouds like feather-beds, Abrahams, Belshazzars, Apostles putting off to sea in butter-boats, hundreds of figures to attract his thoughts; and yet that face of Marley, seven years dead, came like the ancient Prophet's rod, and swallowed up the whole. If each smooth tile had been a blank at first, with power to shape some picture on its surface from the disjointed fragments of his thoughts, there would have been a copy of old Marley's head on every one."Humbug!" said Scrooge; and walked across the room.After several turns, he sat down again. As he threw his head back in the chair, his glance happened to rest upon a bell, a disused bell, that hung in the room, and communicated, for somepurpose now forgotten, with a chamber in the highest story of the building. It was with great astonishment, and with a strange, inexplicable dread, that, as he looked, he saw this bell begin to swing. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound; but soon it rang out loudly, and so did every bell in the house.This might have lasted half a minute, or a minute, but it seemed an hour. The bells ceased, as they had begun, together. They were succeeded by a clanking noise, deep down below; as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant's cellar. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts in haunted houses were described as dragging chains.The cellar door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise, much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight toward his door."It's humbug still!" said Scrooge. "I won't believe it!"His color changed, though, when, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes. Upon its coming in, the dying flame leaped up, as though it cried, "I know him! Marley's Ghost!" and fell again.The same face, the very same. Marley, in his pigtail, usual waistcoat, tights and boots; the tassels on the latter bristling like his pigtail, and his coat-skirts, and the hair upon his head. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. It was long, and wound about him like a tail; and it wasmade (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel. His body was transparent; so that Scrooge, observing him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see the two buttons on his coat behind.Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now.No, nor did he believe it even now. Though he looked the phantom through and through, and saw it standing before him; though he felt the chilling influence of its death-cold eyes, and marked the very texture of the folded kerchief bound about its head and chin, which wrapper he had not observed before, he was still incredulous, and fought against his senses."How now!" said Scrooge, caustic and cold as ever. "What do you want with me?" "Much!"—Marley's voice, no doubt about it."Who are you?" "Ask me who I was.""Who were you, then?" said Scrooge, raising his voice. "You're particular, for a shade." He was going to say, "to a shade," but substituted this, as more appropriate."In life I was your partner, Jacob Marley." "Can you—can you sit down?" asked Scrooge, looking doubtfully at him."I can." "Do it, then."Scrooge asked the question, because he didn't know whether a ghost so transparent might find himself in a condition to take a chair; and feltin the event of its being impossible, it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing explanation. But the Ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace, as if he were quite used to it."You don't believe in me," observed the Ghost."I don't," said Scrooge."What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your own senses?" "I don't know," said Scrooge."Why do you doubt your senses?" "Because," said Scrooge, "a little thing affects them. A slight disorder of the stomach makes them cheats. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!"Scrooge was not much in the habit of cracking jokes, nor did he feel, in his heart, by any means waggish then. The truth is, that he tried to be smart, as a means of distracting his own attention, and keeping down his terror, for the specter's voice disturbed the very marrow in his bones.To sit staring at those fixed glazed eyes in silence, for a moment, would play, Scrooge felt, the very deuce with him. There was something very awful, too, in the specter's being provided with an infernal atmosphere of his own. Scrooge could not feel it himself, but this was clearly the case; for though the Ghost sat perfectly motionless, his hair, and skirts, and tassels were still agitated as by the hot vapor from an oven."You see this toothpick?" said Scrooge, returning quickly to the charge, for the reason just assigned;and wishing, though it were only for a second, to divert the vision's stony gaze from himself."I do," replied the Ghost."You are not looking at it," said Scrooge."But I see it," said the Ghost, "not-withstanding." "Well!" returned Scrooge, "I have but to swallow this, and be for the rest of my days persecuted by a legion of goblins all my own creation. Humbug, I tell you; humbug!"At this the spirit raised a frightful cry, and shook his chain with such a dismal and appalling noise, that Scrooge held on tight to his chair, to save himself from falling in a swoon. But how much greater was his horror when, the phantom taking off the bandage round his head, as if it were too warm to wear indoors, his lower jaw dropped down upon his breast!Scrooge fell upon his knees, and clasped his hands before his face."Mercy!" he said. "Dreadful apparition, why do you trouble me?" "Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost, "do you believe in me or not?" "I do," said Scrooge. "I must. But why do spirits walk the earth, and why do they come to me?" "It is required of every man," the Ghost returned, "that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—andwitness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!"Again the specter raised a cry, and shook his chain and wrung his shadowy hands."You are fettered," said Scrooge trembling. "Tell me why?" "I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"Scrooge trembled more and more."Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have labored on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable; but he could see nothing."Jacob!" he said imploringly. "Old Jacob Marley, tell me more! Speak comfort to me, Jacob!" "I have none to give," the Ghost replied. "It comes from other regions, Ebenezer Scrooge, and is conveyed by other ministers, to other kinds of men. Nor can I tell you what I would. A very little more is all permitted to me. I cannot rest, I cannot stay, I cannot linger anywhere. My spirit never walked beyond our counting-house—mark me!—in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me!"It was a habit with Scrooge, whenever he becamethoughtful, to put his hands in his breeches pockets. Pondering on what the Ghost had said, he did so now, but without lifting up his eyes, or getting off his knees."You must have been very slow about it, Jacob," Scrooge observed in a business-like manner, though with humility and deference."Slow!" the Ghost repeated."Seven years dead," mused Scrooge. "And traveling all the time?" "The whole time," said the Ghost. "No rest, no peace. Incessant torture of remorse." "You travel fast?" said Scrooge."On the wings of the wind," replied the Ghost."You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years," said Scrooge.The Ghost, on hearing this, set up another cry, and clanked his chain so hideously in the dead silence of the night, that the Ward would have been justified in indicting it for a nuisance."Oh! captive, bound and double-ironed," cried the phantom, "not to know that ages of incessant labor, by immortal creatures, for this earth, must pass into eternity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed! Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness! Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunities misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!" "But you were always a good man of business,Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself."Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing his hands again. "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"He held up his chain at arm's-length, as if that were the cause of all his unavailing grief, and flung it heavily upon the ground again."At this time of the rolling year," the specter said, "I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no poor homes to which its light would have conducted me?"Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the specter going on at this rate, and began to quake exceedingly."Hear me!" cried the Ghost. "My time is nearly gone." "I will" said Scrooge. "But don't be hard upon me! Don't be flowery, Jacob! Pray!" "How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see, I may not tell. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day."It was not an agreeable idea. Scrooge shivered, and wiped the perspiration from his brow."That is no light part of my penance," pursued the Ghost. "I am here to-night to warn you, that you have yet a chance and hope of escapingmy fate. A chance and hope of my procuring, Ebenezer." "You were always a good friend to me," said Scrooge. "Thankee!" "You will be haunted," resumed the Ghost, "by Three Spirits."Scrooge's countenance fell almost as low as the Ghost's had done."Is that the chance and hope you mentioned, Jacob?" he demanded in a faltering voice."It is." "I—I think I'd rather not," said Scrooge."Without their visits," said the Ghost, "you cannot hope to shun the path I tread. Expect the first to-morrow, when the bell tolls One." "Couldn't I take 'em all at once, and have it over, Jacob?" hinted Scrooge."Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. The third, upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. Look to see me no more; and look that, for your own sake, you remember what has passed between us!"When he had said these words, the specter took his wrapper from the table, and bound it round his head, as before. Scrooge knew this, by the smart sound his teeth made when the jaws were brought together by the bandage. He ventured to raise his eyes again, and found his supernatural visitor confronting him in an erect attitude, with his chain wound over and about his arm.The apparition walked backward from him; and at every step he took, the window raised itself alittle, so that when the specter reached it, it was wide open. He beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did. When they were within two paces of each other, Marley's Ghost held up his hand, warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stopped.Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear; for on the raising of the hand he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The specter, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.Scrooge followed to the window, desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to his ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom he saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever.Whether these creatures faded into mist, or mist enshrouded them, he could not tell. But they and their spirit voices faded together; and the night became as it had been when he walked home.Scrooge closed the window, and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. It was double-locked, as he had locked it with his own hands, and the bolts were undisturbed. He tried to say "Humbug!" but stopped at the first syllable. And being, from the emotion he had undergone, or the fatigues of the day, or his glimpse of the Invisible World, or the dull conversation of the Ghost, or the lateness of the hour, much in need of repose, went straight to bed, without undressing, and fell asleep on the instant.All new material in this book copyright © 1988 by Jane Yolen.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Charles Dickens: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text
A Christmas Carol
Appendix A: Reflections on Christmas
1. Washington Irving, from The Sketch Book (1822)
2. Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Dinner" (1836)
3. Charles Dickens, from The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1836-37)
4. Thomas K. Hervey, from The Book of Christmas (1837)
5. John Calcott Horsley / Sir Henry Cole, The First Christmas Card (1843)
6. Charles Dickens, "A Christmas Tree" (1850)
7. Charles Dickens, "What Christmas Is, As We Grow Older" (1851)
Appendix B: Child Labor, Education, and the Workhouse
1. From Report of the Children's Employment Commission (1842)
2. From Charles Dickens's Speech at the First Annual Soiree of the Athenaeum: Manchester (Oct. 5, 1843)
3. Charles Dickens, "A Walk in a Workhouse" (1850)
Appendix C: From Letters of Charles Dickens
Appendix D: Contemporary Reviews of A Christmas Carol
1. Charles Mackay, Morning Chronicle (December 19, 1843)
2. Anon., Athenaeum (December 23, 1843)
3. Thomas Hood, Hood's Magazine, (January 4, 1844)
4. Laman Blanchard, Ainsworth's Magazine (January 1844)
5. Anon., The Times (January 7, 1844)
6. William Makepeace Thackeray, Fraser's Magazine, (February 1844)
Appendix E: Notable Film, Television, and Radio Adaptations of A Christmas Carol
Select Bibliography

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

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(28)

4 Star

(12)

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(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 51 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2003

    A Christmas Carol Audiobook read by Jim Dale

    I once heard it said that to appreciate Dickens best, one should read his stories aloud. I have never had the time to try to do this, but having just listened to a new unabridged reading of A Christmas Carol from Random House, I can see the validity of the statement. Playing the CD's I felt as if the narrator was, in the words of Dickens himself, 'standing in the spirit at your elbow.' And what a narrator! The multi-talented Jim Dale reads the story...no, that is not correct...Jim Dale PERFORMS the story. I counted 42 voices in the three-hour recording. Jim Dale is well known for his over 200 voices (and counting) bringing to life all of the characters in the Harry Potter books, which he also records for Random House's Listening Library. I first saw Jim Dale in the 1977 Disney movie Pete's Dragon where he played the bumbling villain. The next year he played three hilarious characters in another Disney film, Hot Lead and Cold Feet. I was lucky to see him in two musicals on Broadway, in Barnum, and Me and My Girl. Both very memorable performances. I plan to see him next month as he sings and dances Scrooge in Madison Square Garden's Christmas Carol - The Musical. I figure if he is great in the audiobook, he will be even better on stage. An actor has only two tools...his voice and his body. In the audiobooks, of course, only the voice can be used. And Dale's voice talents are well showcased here. I often found myself laughing out loud, thanks to the combined genius of Dickens and Dale. In a couple of cases, the genius is pure Dale. At one point he adds a bit of a dog's panting that really cracked me up. I have seen and/or heard other wonderful actors do one-man renditions of A Christmas Carol. A number of years ago a friend played a tape for me of John Gielgud doing an abridged version. I saw Patrick Stewart do his acclaimed one man show on Broadway; from the first row! And I have seen the author's great-great grandson, Gerald Dickens do his skilled and energetic version several times. They are all memorable and it would be impossible to say which was the best. But I can heartily recommend that Jim Dale's version be added to the family library. It is complete, it is accurate and it is a virtuoso performance. Although I certainly know the story well, I found by listening to the audiobook I was paying closer attention to the lesser known parts...the parts that, to be honest, I usually would skim over when rereading the book. In fact, there were several sections where I felt as if I were hearing them for the first time. Marvelous sections. I couldn't believe I had missed them in the past. Maybe Jim Dale's voice just made them more vibrant than my own inner voice. I suppose that asking me to review Jim Dale reading A Christmas Carol really isn't fair. One of my favorite performers reading my favorite story by my favorite author! But surely I am not alone. Dickens is universally known as England's greatest novelist. I wouldn't be surprised if Jim Dale was gaining a reputation as one of the world's greatest readers of audiobooks. They are both master storytellers. And to quote the Dickens himself, 'If that's not high praise, tell me higher, and I'll use it.'

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2003

    SPLENDID READING OF A CLASSIC TALE

    Since 1843 the timeless story A Christmas Carol has been as much a part of our holiday season as Santa and wreaths on the door. Many of us have heard it dozens of times; others may be hearing it for the first time. For those who have heard it - what's old is new again with this incredible performance by acclaimed actor Jim Dale. For those who have not heard it as yet - let this recording be your introduction. Mr. Dale is the quintessential Ebenezer Scrooge, the most miserly of misers. Without missing a beat this talented performer becomes the ebullient, hopeful Bob Cratchit, as well as the chillingingly mysterious Christmas Eve visitors - the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. Well remembered for the characters he enlivened with the Harry Potter audio books, Mr. Dale has garnered a bevy of awards including a Tony Award, four Drama Desk Awards, a Grammy Award, and an Academy Award nomination. This year there's more frosting on the cake - in the 2003 Royal Birthday Honours List, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed Jim Dale with an MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire. Hearing this reading of 'A Christmas Carol' is not only a superb listening experience but a heartwarming reminder of the meaning of Christmas.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Owlcry

    Watched him go, desperation and admiration sparkling in her violet gaze. She looked exactly like Aspen. Except for the blue shadowung her purplr eyes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Moon

    She wanted to leap but fear of hurting darkfur stopped her. "Stop it Scourge." She snarled. "Darkfur has done nothing."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    F!re

    She padded in and made a nest away from everyone else and slept.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    good book for an independent reader!

    I bought it for my younger brother who became an independent reader! and even though he struggled with some vocabs he learned a lot! I think it is well written for adolescents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Good adaptation

    This is a good adaptation of the book. This is an easy read for young adolescents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    If you like the movies, you must read the book.

    I have at least 8 movie DVDs of "A Christmas Story", and they all emphasize, de-emphasize, or delete certain scenes. They are all quite faithful to the book however.
    The book is much smaller than I expected, and easily read in a evening or two.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

    Why you should read this book.

    The Book a Christmas Carol was a good book, but yes it is very confusing.
    Description and summary of main points
    The book was about a man named Scrooge who seems to not like anything and Christmas is one of them. When he was a boy he was engaged to a beautiful woman and she left him because he was to selfish. As he got older he began his own business and stuff.
    Evaluation
    I like it a lot and I suggest you to read it.
    Conclusion
    It teaches people a very good lesson
    Your final review
    I like the book and the movie is good too hopefully one day you'll read it and get a good lesson out of it like did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2009

    Good Story

    The Christmas Carol is a very entertaining story. The characters are well written. And the setting adds to the story.
    A favorite point of the story to me is when the ghost of Christmas past comes to show Scrooge all that he's lost. Some other points are; first Marley comes to warn Scrooge of the three impending ghosts, then when the ghost of the past comes to show Scrooge the people in life that he loved and lost, thirdly the ghost of Christmas present arrives and shows Scrooge his nephew, and last but not least when the ghost of Christmas to come, arrives to show Scrooge what will happen to Scrooge if he does not change his ways.

    "The Christmas Carol" is about a very selfish man named Scrooge. Scrooge treats every one other than himself terribly. He often snaps at his apprentice, Bob Cratchit, his nephew, Fred, and even the two portly men who come to ask him to donate money for the homeless shelter. However, the story makes a pleasant change whenever the ghost of Marley, his old business partner, arrives to warn him of three ghosts. But Scrooge passes this off as nothing and soon forgets. Although to his shock he is visited later that night by the ghost of the past, present, and future. After all of the ghosts come and go Scrooge wakes up as a new man, he is kind to every one now.
    After all of the ghosts come and go, Scrooge awakens as a new man, and a kind one at that.

    I found the "Christmas Carol" to be a very enjoyable book that many people will adore reading.

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  • Posted May 15, 2009

    A Christmas Carol.

    Introduction
    One of the themes of this novel is that people can change by learning from their mistakes. I have learned not to be greedy when someone is giving me something because Scrooge, the main character in this story, went into the future and saw the devastating results of his greed. The reason I am reviewing this book is because it was my favorite book, which my class read this year.
    Description and summary of main points
    This story is very interesting and fun to read during the Christmas time. I enjoyed reading Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. I think if you sit down and take the time to read this story, you will like it. My opinion on the book is that it is a really good Christmas story. This Story is where Scoorge goes to Christmas past, present, and future and is forced to change how he is acting toward his renters.
    Evaluation
    The main characters were: Scoorge and Old Marley. When you are receiving money or a present, you don't have to have a return of what you gave. If Scrooge gave you money he was sure he had to have the same amount of money that he gave them back in a certain amount of time. If he didn't he would keep on until he got it, no matter how it made others feel.
    Conclusion
    Scoorge was a very mean and stingy old man. He always needed paid back for what he gave or let people borrow. He didn't like it when people didn't pay him rent. He would keep reminding them if he didn't get it on time or he would raise the rent rate to a higher amount of money.
    Your final review
    My review for this book was really good. The characters in the story found out what was going to happen in his past, present, and future. The story was great and you never knew what was going to happen. I would highly recommend this story for 6th through 9th graders. This book is a really good book to read. When I was reading it I didn't want to put it down.

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  • Posted January 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderful holiday classic

    This was my first Dickens novel. I know it is kind of cheesy to make my foray into Dickens¿s work by reading A Christmas Carol during the holidays but hey¿whatever helps break the ice right? <BR/><BR/>This book, as most people already know, is about a tight-fisted, bitter old man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is visited one night by the ghost of his partner who has come to warn Scrooge of his fate in the afterworld and that Scrooge will face similar persecution in the afterlife if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is warned that more ghosts will appear to help him redeem himself in life and prevent the perils his partner has faced in death. Scrooge is then visited by the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas future. Scrooge is shown the actions of different people during each Christmas and he is given a choice at the end. Can he ever change? <BR/><BR/>The story was an inspiring Christmas story and helps remind people how their behavior affects others. This novel reminds us that we need to give to others who need more than we ourselves are and that the payoff for this assistance is much more fulfilling than any amount of money in the pocket or the bank could ever be. <BR/><BR/>I found this book surprisingly fun and easy to read. The novel was shorter than I expected and was not inundated with old world terms that I could not understand. I had been somewhat intimidated by Dickens prior to reading this book. However, now that I know the humorous and witty writing style of Charles Dickens I will definitely be reading more of his work in the future.

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  • Posted November 17, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It's the Most Wonderful Version I've Ever Seen

    My child and I have had hours of fun with this story, reenacting scenes and pretending that real life people take the roles of people like Ebenezer Scrooge.<BR/><BR/>Somehow when I came across this years I ago, I felt I should buy about half a dozen as they may come in handy one day. Before my Hispanic preschool Sunday School Class, often my room is full of children, and when it gets cold, I think this will be the perfect thing to share with them. They're learn both about Christianity and the ethical roots of my culture. Unfortunately, when some bump into folks that remind them of Ebenezer Scrooge or other antagonists, then, they can see the rest of the culture that way. Nevertheless, no culture is defined by our antagonists, but by the good wholesome culture that unites us.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    The ultimate Christmas story

    I have loved this book since I could read and now I'm turning my children on to this same great book. We read a lot as a family but this book stands out among most.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2008

    Great text, okay presentation

    Nothing less than unabridged can ever do for this fantastic piece of literature. This is probably Dickens best literary creation ever. The reading is, however, mediocre at best. Too bad for such a great book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2008

    A christmas carol

    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickons was a book about a greedy man named Ebenezer Scrooge who has an encounter with the ghost of Christmas past, present and future. At the end of this book he is a changed man. I rated this book okay, but not great because it tended to drone and on about something insignificant. Also, there were a lot of parts that were hard to understand and even reading them again a few times didn¿t really help to clear it up. Some examples of this are when Scrooge sees ignorance and want and when Scrooge says he sees his friend Ali Baba. This book was good because of the interesting plot. I had seen the play so I knew what was coming but it was still interesting. That is, when Dickons wasn¿t droning on about something. My favorite part is when he sends the boy on the street to go buy him a giant turkey.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    a profound tale of the human heart

    Charles Dickens was, and remains, one of the foremost writers of the English language. Intense depth and feeling can be found in his exquisitely formed sentences, which are made rich by the understanding, acceptance and even joy of life which was apparently Dickens' response to a difficult childhood, frequently filled with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. 'A Christmas Carol' may be one of his finest tales. It is beautiful in its simplicity, striking in its imagery, and deeply moving in its message of hope, love, kindness and humility. It would seem impossible for anyone to read this book and get nothing from it. To young children, it may be hard to truly feel the beating heart beneath the inanimate type but years and heartache, and the hope that something good and beautiful will yet come of such things lend an appreciation for this marvelous work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    An Interesting Classic

    Ebenezer Scrooge had always hated Christmas¿until it determined his future. Now he had a choice¿be haunted by three spirits or spend his time wandering the planet as a ghost. The three spirits reviewed Scrooge¿s past, present, and future. The Ghost of Christmas Past showed Scrooge many things about his childhood. The Ghost of Christmas Present showed him a party his nephew had and a dinner at the poor Cratchit¿s house. The final spirit revealed to Scrooge his fate that could only be changed if Scrooge himself changed. This book was very interesting, and I recommend it. I enjoyed that this book was written in three different tenses: past, present, and future. The Ghost of Christmas Past took Scrooge back in time so he could review things such as his old school. The Ghost of Christmas Present simply showed Scrooge what his nephew was doing at that time (having a party). The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come revealed to Scrooge his grave, and showed him that if he gave away money and was happy, he could prevent his and Tiny Tim¿s death. This book had descriptive settings. The beginning of the story took place in a room where ¿Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk¿s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal.¿ The Ghost of Christmas Past and Scrooge ¿passed through the wall, and stood upon an open country road with fields on either hand.¿ He also took Scrooge to ¿the busy thoroughfares of a city, where shadowy carts and coaches battled for the way, and all the strife and tumult of a real city were.¿ The characters in this book were very different from each other. Scrooge was an incredibly unkind and negative person, especially towards Christmas (until the spirits came). His nephew was quite the opposite, being kind towards others and loving Christmas. The Ghost of Christmas Present was obviously a ghost, but also a very large, kind man. A ghost, a person who hates Christmas, and a person who loves Christmas are three completely different beings. This book I recommend for all readers, especially those who like to read in great detail. I enjoy reading books like this, and I think you will like this timeless classic as well. T. Baker

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2006

    Review 4 Mrs. J

    A Christmas Carol This is the true version of a christmas carol. It was about Scrooge, a greedy, old man who hates christmas. But that night on christmas he is visited by 3 ghost. The ghost of christmas past, present and future. They show him about what has, is, and will happen to him and the people around him and he realizes what he has been missing in life and tries to make it all better. This book was written by Charles Dickens. The words were written in an Old English style and it was a little hard to fallow along with but i got the point. It wasn¿t really an exciting book but it was very meaningful and it was written well. I really liked the end because it made me feel happy to know that he wasnt that terrible of a person. If I had to rate this book I wouldn¿t because i didnt really like it, but alot of other people will and it is a fast read but not an easy one. I didnt realy feel like I was in the book but I really felt all the emotions Dickens wanted his readers to capture. If I could change one thing in the book is that i would make it in current day words so that people can read it easier and understand it better. This reminded me of all the other versions and i realized this was the best one because it is the original and the best put.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2005

    wonderful!!!

    I was in the play 'A Christmas Carol',and it is a great storie.Very touching and a great story for all ages!

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