The Gift of the Magi

( 15 )

Overview

O. Henry's classic tale of the wisest gifts of Christmas, brought to life by P.J. Lynch's extraordinary art, is itself a gift to share and treasure.

In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim. A gift worthy of her devotion will require a great sacrifice: selling her long, beautiful hair. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas...

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Overview

O. Henry's classic tale of the wisest gifts of Christmas, brought to life by P.J. Lynch's extraordinary art, is itself a gift to share and treasure.

In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim. A gift worthy of her devotion will require a great sacrifice: selling her long, beautiful hair. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, the discovery of what each has done fills them with despair, until they realize that the true gifts of Christmas can be found more readily in their humble apartment than in any fine store. O. Henry paints a masterly portrait of unfaltering love, a haven from the harsh world outside. The poignancy of his story is captured in P.J. Lynch's eloquent art, wherein every glance, every gesture, tells a subtle truth.

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: 9780763635305
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 194,108
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.78 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.39 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 6, 2010

    A Personal Christmas Tradition

    I have made it a personal tradition at Christmas time to take time out, no matter how busy I am, to read "Gift of the Magi." After giving the old book (from which I always read this beautiful O.Henry story) to my daughter, I was a bit sad and missed the familiarity and history that particular book had for me. Then I found this new edition of the book at my favorite B&N store.

    P.J. Lynch's illustrations are exactly how my mind's eye has pictured this story for many years. It is beautiful. The story of love & selfless giving illustrated with lush style and imagination makes this book a pleasure each time I hold it in my hands. I'm also an e-book fan, but nothing can ever replace owning and reading this very lovely book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    This short story is about a couple that want to do the best to g

    This short story is about a couple that want to do the best to give a gift each other and they did.
    my favorite part of this short story is when they did everything for buy the gift.
    I recommend this story for all the girlfriend and boyfriend that have a true love.

    BY Luis Taveras

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Wonderful Holiday Book

    This is the most beautifully illustrated version of the Gift of the Magi I have seen. I purchased at least a dozen copies to give as small gifts during the holidays. The hardbound version is the best. The story reminds us all that Christmas is about placing others above self.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    Thanks

    Thanks a lot for this Masterpiece in many ways.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Beautiful drawings in this timeless classic

    I read this story many times in school however it wasn't until I picked up this copy to read that I realized I had only read adapted versions. The original story is so well told and full of beautiful language, I don't know why I only got the watered-down version. My children were able to understand the original and we all loved the gorgeous artwork in the story. I highly recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    O'Henry's Classic Comes to Life

    Beautiful illustrations for a timeless story.

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  • Posted February 14, 2009

    Wonderfully illustrated version of classic "Gift of the Magi"

    This classic is a favorite to read at Christmas. This book is<BR/>beautifully illustrated.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted December 8, 2009

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    Posted December 6, 2010

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    Posted December 15, 2009

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    Posted December 20, 2010

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