A Child's Christmas in Wales
"And we ran down the garden,
with the snowballs in our arms,
toward the house; and smoke, indeed,
was pouring out of the dining-room,
and the gong was bombilating,
and Mrs. Prothero was announcing ruin
like a town crier in Pompeii."
There are few books as rich in language as this one. The poet Dylan Thomas was a master and he used his genius to recreate a Christmas for the reader that, at least in our house, became a Christmas Eve staple. For an older audience than Clement Moore's more famous T'was the Night Before Christmas, I never get tired of this story.
Thomas captures all the anticipation, boredom, and joy of a child's Christmas. This is a long text, but the language is so wonderful that it is a delight to listen to. Hyman's illustrations are a wonderful complement to the text, but this it the words that I came to love.
READ ALOUD TIP: This is a book that should be read aloud to everyone.
Heat up the hot chocolate, grab a blanket, and gather the family around the Christmas tree and you can all listen to Dylan Thomas read the story himself (24 minutes). Trivia: this was the first ever recording of a writer reading his work.
Another alternative is the quite lovely film. (54 minutes)
Reviewed by B. G. Hennessy