A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

by Charles Dickens

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Overview

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781935785767
Publisher: Bottom of the Hill Publishing
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Pages: 100
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.21(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Charles Dickens is much loved for his great contribution to classical English literature, which includes 15 major novels and countless short stories and articles. Robert Ingpen has designed, illustrated, and written more than 100 published works of fiction and nonfiction. In 1986 he was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for his contribution to children's literature.

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1812

Date of Death:

June 18, 1870

Place of Birth:

Portsmouth, England

Place of Death:

Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Education:

Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

Read an Excerpt

Stave One

Marley's Ghost

Marley 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.

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, his sole mourner.

Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name however. There it yet stood, years afterwards, 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 He answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, was Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!

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 fife inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen'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 tails as though they said, "no eye at all is better than an evil eye, darkmaster!"

But what did Scrooge care!

Once upon a time — of all the good days in the year, upon a Christmas Eve-old Scrooge sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, bitMg foggy weather and the city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quite dark already.

The door of Scrooge's countinghouse was open that he might keel) his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal litde 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 Scrooge had of his approach.

"Bah!" said Scrooge, "Humbug!"'

"Christmas a humbug, uncle! You don't mean that, I am sure."

"I do. Out upon merry Christmas. What's Christmas time to you buta time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a yearolder, and not an hour ri cher; a time for balanci ing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented deadagainst you? If I had my will, every idiot who goes about with 'MerryChristmas,' on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, andburied with a stake of holly through his heart. He should!"

"Uncle!"

"Nephew! Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep it mine."

"Keep it! But you don't keep it."

"Let me leave it alone, then. Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!"

"There are many things from which I might have derived good, bywhich I have not profited, I dare say, Christmas among the rest. But I amsure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred origin, if anything belong' ingto it can be apart from that — as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitab1e, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of theyear, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-uphearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really werefellow-travellcrs to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound onother Journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"

The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded.

"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 tomorrow."

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?"

"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."

"I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?"

"Good afternoon."

"I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any quarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Christmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humour to the last. So A Merry Christmas, uncle!"

Table of Contents

Contents

Stave One: Marley’s Ghost ......................................................... 3

Stave Two: The First of the Three Sprits .................................. 14

Stave Three: The Second of the Three Sprits ............................ 24

Stave Four: The Last of the Sprits ............................................. 36

Stave Five: The End of It ........................................................... 45

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This Penguin Christmas Classics edition is so pretty it could double as a holiday centerpiece!” —People

“For lit nerds and loved ones who are notoriously hard to shop for, you can’t go wrong with these festively bound classics. . . . Their size makes them perfectly stocking-stuffable.” —Entertainment Weekly, “The Must List”
 
“Leave it to the folks at Penguin—who gave us Gothed-out editions of horror classics for Halloween—to package these . . . slim Yuletide-themed volumes.” —Newsday, “Best Books to Give as Holiday Gifts”
 
“Remember how Christmas was celebrated before Black Friday with these 19th-century authors, in small uniform volumes wrapped in pretty jackets.” —USA Today, “Holiday Gift Books So Pretty, No Need to Wrap”
 
“Beautifully designed.” —The Washington Post

EBOOK COMMENTARY

"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.'"  —Sunday Express

"It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending."  —Times

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for An Atlas of Impossible Longing includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

In this reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic, Great Expectations, Pip is an orphaned young werewolf living with his ill-tempered sister and her gentle husband, the blacksmith Joe Gargery. One fateful night, visiting his parents’ grave under the full moon, Pip encounters a frightening stranger—another werewolf and a convict no less. Too afraid to do anything other than obey the stranger’s instruction, Pip helps this convict and sets in motion of chain of events that will forever change the course of his life. Pip is sent to reside with Miss Havisham, a vampire who was sired and left on her wedding day by the one she loved. She has adopted Estella and raised her as a vampire slayer, to seek revenge on the supernatural creatures that she blames for her ruin. Pip, in awe of Estella’s beauty, falls instantly in love with her despite the fact that she has been trained to hate all “Scapegraces.” When an anonymous benefactor sends Pip to London to become a gentleman, he believes it is his chance to win Estella’s hand. The question that lies ahead is whether Pip will be able to overcome his wolfish ways and turn his once grave expectations for himself into great ones.

TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. In Pip’s world, the term “Scapegraces” is used to define “those of a supernatural sort” (p. 11). What do you think this term implies about the way that creatures like werewolves and vampires were viewed in this society?

2. On page 12, Pip wonders, “Was it a crime to merely be different?” While being a werewolf is simply a condition inherited at birth, vampires prey on the living to increase their population, and yet are “considered civilized and welcome to mix in society.” Is one creature more monstrous than the other? Do both werewolves and vampires have the capacity for good and evil?

3. After being invited to Miss Havisham’s and then later learning of his anonymous benefactor, Pip often feels ashamed of his roots, and of Joe’s commonness even more so than his own Scapegrace status. Yet Joe never seems to exhibit any embarrassment over Pip’s wolfishness. What does this say about each of their characters? What influences the focus of Pip’s shame?

4. When Mrs. Joe dies (the first time), Pip finds what he knows to be evidence of Magwitch’s crime, but he still does not accuse him. Why do you think Pip believes that Magwitch is innocent of this crime when the main piece of evidence points directly to him?

5. Throughout most of the story, Estella is cold-hearted and shows no affection for Pip despite his unwavering love for her. Why should he love someone who could possibly end up killing him in her crusade against Scapegraces? What makes him fall in love with her in the first place? Why do you think Pip continues to pursue someone who will never return his feelings?

6. Pip and Herbert have a very special friendship. Do you think this brotherly love grew out of the wolfish need to be part of a pack? Or something more human?

7. While Miss Havisham is herself a vampire, she has trained Estella in the ways of vampire slaying. Pip wonders “if Miss Havisham weren’t really wishing to be staked by Estella one day in raising her to such an art” (p. 235). Do you agree? Do you think Miss Havisham’s eventual outcome either supports or refutes this opinion? Why does Estella never stake her, if indeed her mission is to kill vampires?

8. Pip is horrified when he finds out the Magwitch has been his anonymous benefactor all along. Why do you think this revelation is so abhorrent to Pip, when he seems so willing to not only protect Magwitch and keep him safe, but to also protect his feelings by not revealing his disappointment?

9. On page 284, Pip explains to Miss Havisham that there are certain Scapegraces who “showed more humanity than the humans.” Discuss which of the Scapegraces behave with the utmost humanity, and which of the human characters exhibit what could be categorized as monstrous behavior?

10. How does the discovery of Estella’s parentage change things for Pip? Does it change your opinion of her?

11. Why is it so easy for Joe and Biddy to forgive Pip after he had neglected them for so many years? Should Joe have been angry that Pip spent so much time visiting Magwitch after he was captured, when he never kept up his visits to Joe like he had promised?

12. Though Estella is able to eventually see the goodness in werewolves, she never changes her opinion of vampires. Why do you think she can pardon and accept most Scapegraces and still seek vengeance against vampires?

ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB

1. Grave Expectations is a reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. Have you read Great Expectations before? If so, how did the supernatural version compare to the classic? What remained the same in this new version of the story? What changed? If not, choose Great Expectations for your next book club pick.

2. Grave Expectations is a literary mash-up—where a fictional classic is retold in present day or with mythical substitutions. Examples include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or the movie Clueless, which was essentially Jane Austen’s Emma set in Beverly Hills during the 1990s. Try creating a literary mash-up of your own with your book club. Pick a favorite classic and retell the story as though it took place in the present day or with some supernatural characters. The more imaginative, the better!

3. Legends of werewolves and vampires have been carried down through the centuries. How does their depiction in this work compare with your preconceived notions of such supernatural creatures?

Customer Reviews

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A Christmas Carol (Classics for Young Readers Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
drewandlori on LibraryThing 8 days ago
This has to be the single most beaten-to-death story of all time, but even after a million TV remakes, the book still holds up surprisingly well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She wanted to leap but fear of hurting darkfur stopped her. "Stop it Scourge." She snarled. "Darkfur has done nothing."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She padded in and made a nest away from everyone else and slept.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bark
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good adaptation of the book. This is an easy read for young adolescents.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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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.
Breanna_Utt More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago