The Gift of the Magi

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It's Christmas Eve and Della has only $1.85 to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure, her long, glorious hair. This warm story of love, sacrifice, and generosity is a perfect addition to any Christmas collection--for adults or children. 32 pp.

Here is O'Henry's classic tale of love and devotion in a beautiful new gift edition, superbly illustrated and packaged in an elegant ...

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Overview

It's Christmas Eve and Della has only $1.85 to buy her beloved husband a Christmas present. She has nothing to sell except her only treasure, her long, glorious hair. This warm story of love, sacrifice, and generosity is a perfect addition to any Christmas collection--for adults or children. 32 pp.

Here is O'Henry's classic tale of love and devotion in a beautiful new gift edition, superbly illustrated and packaged in an elegant slipcase. Full-color illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - JoAn Watson Martin
Della is desperate. Christmas is nearly here, and she has only been able to save one dollar and eighty-seven cents. No matter how many times she counts it, she cannot imagine finding a present good enough for Jim without more money. The only solution she finds is to flop down on their shabby couch and howl. To make matters worse, Jim's income has been cut back. After she finishes her cry, she watches a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard, which reflects her gray mood. Suddenly as she looks in the mirror she is inspired to grab her hat and coat and go out in the snow to Sofronie's Hair Goods shop. With the twenty dollars she gets from selling her hair, she finds a platinum fob chain for Jim's prize possession. She remembers his embarrassment when he has to check the time on the sly so no one will notice the worn leather strap that he is using in place of a chain. When Della returns home, she sets her short hair in tiny curls and hopes Jim will still think she is pretty. Della cannot read the expression on his face when he walks in the door. Is he angry, or surprised, disappointed or horrified? Jim looks around the room as if her hair must be there somewhere. His gift to her is dependent on her cascade of hair like her gift to him is dependent on his gold watch. The Magi invented the art of giving gifts by bringing presents to the Christ child. O. Henry was a master of the short story. P.J. Lynch depicts an apartment in the city of a hundred years ago, including the dress and crowds in the street. He loved illustrating this story because of the relationship between Della and Jim, "which is at its heart." Reviewer: JoAn Watson Martin
School Library Journal

Gr 5 Up

An illustrated, unabridged version of the classic short story in which a young husband and wife each, unbeknownst to the other, gives up a most treasured possession to buy the other a wonderful gift. The gifts, of course, are useless as a result, but the couple's love is presumably all the stronger. The sepia-toned watercolors have an authentic period look; the details present in the New York City street scenes and the couple's rather shabby apartment add a strong feeling of time and place to the story. Very different in style from Lisbeth Zwerger's lovely and delicate version (S & S, 2006), this is a fine choice for libraries needing another illustrated edition of this Christmas tale.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
The beloved short story first published in 1906 is presented in an attractive edition with full-color illustrations that bring the sentimental story of the young couple to life. Jim and Della live in a furnished flat in New York City, scraping by on a minimal income early in their marriage. At Christmastime, Della sells her beautiful, long hair for money to buy Jim a platinum pocket-watch chain. On the same day, Jim sells his heirloom pocket watch to buy a set of hair combs that Della has admired. Their Christmas gifts are compromised, but they realize they have the best gift of all-each other. The story is a period piece, with lengthy sentences, some old-fashioned vocabulary and asides to the reader from the omniscient narrator. Lynch's gentle illustrations help make the story accessible to today's readers, providing historical context in settings, costumes and the accoutrements of the era, as well as believable characterizations of the young couple. The text is printed on sepia-toned backgrounds that extend the antique flavor of the narrative. (Picture book. 10 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564765437
  • Publisher: Cook, David C
  • Publication date: 9/28/1996
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 8.89 (w) x 10.55 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

O. Henry, aka William Sydney Porter, was born in North Carolina in 1862. A master of the short story, he wrote hundreds of tales whose wry humor and plot twists, often amusing or ironic, have earned him a place as one of the best-loved American writers. He died in 1910 at the age of forty-seven.

P.J. Lynch is the celebrated illustrator of many beloved and acclaimed books, including A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE BEE-MAN OF ORN, and IGNIS. He has won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice, for THE CHRISTMAS MIRACLE OF JONATHAN TOOMEY and WHEN JESSIE CAME ACROSS THE SEA. He lives in Ireland.
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