Book Reviews, Bookishness, Mamaishness, Teacherishness

The Birds’ Christmas Carol

Here’s another children’s vintage treasure from, you guessed it, Bound to Be Read Books. If you’re local to Atlanta, and you have been there yet, maybe this will finally tempt you! It’s [amazon text=The Birds’ Christmas Carol&asin=1491053976], by Kate Douglas Wiggin.

vintage children's christmas book

This is my copy. Not so remarkable on the outside, though the font is pretty. Inside, there’s the original 1946 inscription of the girl who received it for Christmas – and the 59¢ price sticker from Montgomery Ward. What you want to see are the color plates. Here’s the frontispiece and title page:

vintage children's christmas classic bookGorgeous, right?

When I was little, and read books that had color plates interspersed, I usually looked at all of them first, and then repeatedly as I read. Now we know that that sort of previewing is actually a pretty good comprehension strategy, and it’s worth encouraging your kiddos to do it before they read.

This story is the epitome of Victorian morality. Carol is a little girl who has fallen ill, and due to her ceaselessly giving nature, her last act is to make sure that the children of a less well-to-do family have a perfect Christmas. It’s all wrapped up with the meaning of her name, some cute stories about the other family’s children, and the appropriate amount of keening and wailing. You either do or do not like stories like this, but if you do, this one is a masterpiece.

The dialect and flowery language might make this a bit challenging for children not used to older books, but it’s a beautiful read aloud if you have the patience to explain things and use an accent or two. Do be aware that it might elicit some unfortunate memories in children who have experienced extended or terminal illness in a loved one, and tread lightly with very sensitive children.

Have you read this? What did you think? Too treacly or so unimaginably perfect that you loved it anyway?

{The book is affiliate-linked to Amazon above, but I can’t actually recommend any version other than a gorgeously illustrated vintage one. Keep your eyes peeled!}