There are few people that have not heard of Charles Dickens‘ A Christmas Carol, whether through word of mouth – as the story is shared through the generations, or through television/film. The story of Scrooge (and the three ghosts that visit him) is as much a traditional aspect of the festive season as decorating a Christmas tree, but there are confident chapter readers that have yet to enjoy this timeless classic, and this edition from Pavilion Books is perfect for them, especially as it features stunning colour illustrations by the legendary Quentin Blake throughout.
The powerful combination of Dickens and Blake will engage readers from the very moment they see the cover of this hardback, undoubtedly recognising the illustrative style from the likes of Roald Dahl books that they have enjoyed throughout their reading journey, and what better way to further a child’s knowledge of texts, and the various genres, then a Christmas title, that is a timeless classic, written by one of the most infamous writers of all times, and featuring illustrations by the most iconic illustrator ever.
For those unfamiliar with the story, the concept is one of an old man that has no compassion for others, especially the poor and sick, until he is visited by three ghosts, from Christmas past, present, and future, and shown the consequences for his decisions and attitude, not just impacting him but also, and more importantly, others around him. This story teaches readers empathy, understanding, to be non-judgemental to others, and to value those around you. It is as relevant now as it was in 1843, when Charles Dickens first breathed life into Scrooge, and the rest of the characters that feature in this story, and has stood the test of time, as generation after generation have come to enjoy A Christmas Carol in the many formats available in the modern world.
The book begins with a two page foreword, written by Quentin Blake himself, who summarises the brilliance of Dickens’ text, and his enjoyment of being able to illustrate it, and does justice to both. The admiration Blake has for this story is apparent in his own words, and I highly recommend reading his insight before enjoying the rest of the book, even if you have read this story before, as it adds to the magic that is holding in your hands the combination of two incredible names within the world of literature.
The text remains unchanged to that of the original, and I am glad of that, because it doesn’t need editing or modernising, and deserves to remain untouched, just like other treasures such as National Trust buildings, that we appreciate for the glimpse into times past we come to love and admire over the years. The same can be said for every chapter of this book. The illustrations are the new addition in regards to this book, and they add a magical feel to the reading experience, breathing life into each scene as they come to life on the page, and inspire readers imaginations along the way.
It would be a mammoth task to illustrate this entire story, but should Quentin Blake do so, and it consequently be released as a Children’s Christmas film, I know it would be as loved and cherished as Raymond Briggs‘ The Snowman animated classic, and become a must watch every Christmas as families include it in their festive routines, and I know this book will become another one of these, as children enjoy this classic time and time again, and pass it on to their younger siblings, and generations to come – and this stunning hardback with foil detailing to the cover is the perfect edition to achieve just that.
Quentin Blake’s A Christmas Carol is published by Pavilion, and is available to purchase from all good booksellers priced at £12.99 (rrp). – ISBN 978-1-84365-507-7