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The Gift of the Magi
     

The Gift of the Magi

3.9 61
by O. Henry, P.J. Lynch (Illustrator)
 

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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

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.

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763635305
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
09/09/2008
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
543,401
Product dimensions:
7.78(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.39(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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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The Gift of the Magi 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in my literature class and loved it!!!! If anyone thinks its stupid they obviously dont know good literatire!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story well written
mysterybuff47 More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed this story since I first read it in high school English class. Ms. Zwerger's rich illustrations make this a book to be cherished and passed along through the family over time.
RGJrgj More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book; what a wonderful message. The selfless acts of two people warms the heart and sends a powerful message about giving. To the reviewer of March 10, 2013, you are showing your own lack of understanding and ignorance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite Christmas reads
Businessbookjunkie More than 1 year ago
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.
LilVin More than 1 year ago
Thanks a lot for this Masterpiece in many ways.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is such a great example of what it means to give from your whole heart and not expect to recieve anything in return. We have this book at our house and, when I was little, my mother would read it to us at christmas time, and ever since then, it has held a special place in my heart. the message of giving is one that we will never tire of learning from.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the 6 great Christmas stories. Original language of the period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Learn the true mesning of giving through this 11 page short story. A sweet Christmas story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They should really tell you this is only an 11 page preview.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You are timless
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this book. I was heavily interested in moral based stories and many stories are now laced with some form of morals but this one is still my top favorite, has been since I was in in fifth grade. Now I am 25 and have a daughter of my own and hope she comes to love this touching tales as I have. It may be an old fashioned book in some readers eyes but its always fresh in my mind with its enriching tale of thinking of loved ones. I recommend this to everyone, every single person. This isn't just something for moral teachings nor is it just for a holiday read, this is perfect for any mood. I love, love, love this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this beautifully written book. Great for young readers. Could give over 10 stars.
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