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THE CHILD’S STORY by Charles Dickens


by Charles Dickens & illustrated by Harvey Chan

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-83482-9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Chan (Music for the Tsar of the Sea, 1998, etc.) illustrates one of Dickens’s lesser-known Christmas stories (in this case there’s only a passing reference to the holiday) with lustrous, full-page scenes of figures in antique dress, slightly hazy as if viewed through a scrim, and moving through shadowy woods. It’s an allegorical journey, in which a never-seen traveler is accompanied for a time, in turn, by a child, a student, a young swain, and a hardworking family man, then sits down at the end with an elder to bring them all back in memory. Except for one brief omission, the author’s stately, eloquent, sentiment-rich narrative is left untouched: “They had plenty of the finest toys in the world and the most astonishing picture books: all about scimitars and slippers and turbans, and dwarfs and giants and genii and fairies, and blue-beards and bean-stalks and riches and caverns and forests and Valentines and Orsons: and all new and all true.” Still among the greatest of “crossover” writers, Dickens broadens the appeal of this most ancient of metaphors by casting it as a tale told by a child—and it positively begs to be read aloud. (Picture book. 9-11, adult)