A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

A Christmas Carol is one of Charles Dickens' most loved books - a true classic and a Christmas time must-read. Ebenezer Scrooge is a mean, miserable, bitter old man with no friends. One cold Christmas Eve, three ghosts take him on a scary journey to show him the error of his nasty ways. By visiting his past, present and future, Scrooge learns to love Christmas and the people all around him. With a light-hearted introduction by bestselling author Anthony Horowitz, creator of the highly successful Alex Rider novels, most recently Snakehead. Charles Dickens (1812-70) is one of the most recognized celebrities of English literature. His imagination, wit, mastery of the language and huge creative output single him out as one of the few people who genuinely deserve to be called genius. He had a poverty-stricken childhood and was determined to improve himself. By his early twenties he found a job as a parliamentary reporter and in his spare time wrote sketches of London life for newspapers and magazines. The publication of Pickwick Papers (1836) brought him the fame and fortune he craved. He wrote many other famous books including Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780141324524
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 09/11/2008
Series: Puffin Classics Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 29,966
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

Charles Dickens was born on February 7, 1812, in Landport, Portsea, England. He died in Kent on June 9, 1870. The second of eight children of a family continually plagued by debt, the young Dickens came to know not only hunger and privation,but also the horror of the infamous debtors’ prison and the evils of child labor. A turn of fortune in the shape of a legacy brought release from the nightmare of prison and “slave” factories and afforded Dickens the opportunity of two years’ formal schooling at Wellington House Academy. He worked as an attorney’s clerk and newspaper reporter until his Sketches by Boz (1836) and The Pickwick Papers (1837) brought him the amazing and instant success that was to be his for the remainder of his life. In later years, the pressure of serial writing, editorial duties, lectures, and social commitments led to his separation from Catherine Hogarth after twenty-three years of marriage. It also hastened his death at the age of fifty-eight, when he was characteristically engaged in a multitude of work.

Date of Birth:

February 7, 1812

Date of Death:

June 18, 1870

Place of Birth:

Portsmouth, England

Place of Death:

Gad's Hill, Kent, England

Education:

Home-schooling; attended Dame School at Chatham briefly and Wellington

Read an Excerpt

MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "A Christmas Carol"
by .
Copyright © 2008 Charles Dickens.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Christmas Eve — The first of the three spirits — The second of the three spirits — The last of the spirits — The end of it.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"A sure-fire tear-jerker. At one public reading by Dickens in Boston, there were 'so many pocket handkerchiefs it looked as if a snowstorm had gotten into the hall.'"  —Sunday Express

"It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending."  —Times

EBOOK COMMENTARY

"A sure-fire tear-jerker. At one public reading by Dickens in Boston, there were 'so many pocket handkerchiefs it looked as if a snowstorm had gotten into the hall.'"  —Sunday Express

"It has it all: a spooky ghost story, a heartwarming redemption, and a great plot with a satisfyingly ending."  —Times

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for An Atlas of Impossible Longing includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

In this reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic, Great Expectations, Pip is an orphaned young werewolf living with his ill-tempered sister and her gentle husband, the blacksmith Joe Gargery. One fateful night, visiting his parents’ grave under the full moon, Pip encounters a frightening stranger—another werewolf and a convict no less. Too afraid to do anything other than obey the stranger’s instruction, Pip helps this convict and sets in motion of chain of events that will forever change the course of his life. Pip is sent to reside with Miss Havisham, a vampire who was sired and left on her wedding day by the one she loved. She has adopted Estella and raised her as a vampire slayer, to seek revenge on the supernatural creatures that she blames for her ruin. Pip, in awe of Estella’s beauty, falls instantly in love with her despite the fact that she has been trained to hate all “Scapegraces.” When an anonymous benefactor sends Pip to London to become a gentleman, he believes it is his chance to win Estella’s hand. The question that lies ahead is whether Pip will be able to overcome his wolfish ways and turn his once grave expectations for himself into great ones.

TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. In Pip’s world, the term “Scapegraces” is used to define “those of a supernatural sort” (p. 11). What do you think this term implies about the way that creatures like werewolves and vampires were viewed in this society?

2. On page 12, Pip wonders, “Was it a crime to merely be different?” While being a werewolf is simply a condition inherited at birth, vampires prey on the living to increase their population, and yet are “considered civilized and welcome to mix in society.” Is one creature more monstrous than the other? Do both werewolves and vampires have the capacity for good and evil?

3. After being invited to Miss Havisham’s and then later learning of his anonymous benefactor, Pip often feels ashamed of his roots, and of Joe’s commonness even more so than his own Scapegrace status. Yet Joe never seems to exhibit any embarrassment over Pip’s wolfishness. What does this say about each of their characters? What influences the focus of Pip’s shame?

4. When Mrs. Joe dies (the first time), Pip finds what he knows to be evidence of Magwitch’s crime, but he still does not accuse him. Why do you think Pip believes that Magwitch is innocent of this crime when the main piece of evidence points directly to him?

5. Throughout most of the story, Estella is cold-hearted and shows no affection for Pip despite his unwavering love for her. Why should he love someone who could possibly end up killing him in her crusade against Scapegraces? What makes him fall in love with her in the first place? Why do you think Pip continues to pursue someone who will never return his feelings?

6. Pip and Herbert have a very special friendship. Do you think this brotherly love grew out of the wolfish need to be part of a pack? Or something more human?

7. While Miss Havisham is herself a vampire, she has trained Estella in the ways of vampire slaying. Pip wonders “if Miss Havisham weren’t really wishing to be staked by Estella one day in raising her to such an art” (p. 235). Do you agree? Do you think Miss Havisham’s eventual outcome either supports or refutes this opinion? Why does Estella never stake her, if indeed her mission is to kill vampires?

8. Pip is horrified when he finds out the Magwitch has been his anonymous benefactor all along. Why do you think this revelation is so abhorrent to Pip, when he seems so willing to not only protect Magwitch and keep him safe, but to also protect his feelings by not revealing his disappointment?

9. On page 284, Pip explains to Miss Havisham that there are certain Scapegraces who “showed more humanity than the humans.” Discuss which of the Scapegraces behave with the utmost humanity, and which of the human characters exhibit what could be categorized as monstrous behavior?

10. How does the discovery of Estella’s parentage change things for Pip? Does it change your opinion of her?

11. Why is it so easy for Joe and Biddy to forgive Pip after he had neglected them for so many years? Should Joe have been angry that Pip spent so much time visiting Magwitch after he was captured, when he never kept up his visits to Joe like he had promised?

12. Though Estella is able to eventually see the goodness in werewolves, she never changes her opinion of vampires. Why do you think she can pardon and accept most Scapegraces and still seek vengeance against vampires?

ENHANCE YOUR BOOK CLUB

1. Grave Expectations is a reimagining of Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations. Have you read Great Expectations before? If so, how did the supernatural version compare to the classic? What remained the same in this new version of the story? What changed? If not, choose Great Expectations for your next book club pick.

2. Grave Expectations is a literary mash-up—where a fictional classic is retold in present day or with mythical substitutions. Examples include Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or the movie Clueless, which was essentially Jane Austen’s Emma set in Beverly Hills during the 1990s. Try creating a literary mash-up of your own with your book club. Pick a favorite classic and retell the story as though it took place in the present day or with some supernatural characters. The more imaginative, the better!

3. Legends of werewolves and vampires have been carried down through the centuries. How does their depiction in this work compare with your preconceived notions of such supernatural creatures?

Customer Reviews

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A Christmas Carol (Classics for Young Readers Series) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I once heard it said that to appreciate Dickens best, one should read his stories aloud. I have never had the time to try to do this, but having just listened to a new unabridged reading of A Christmas Carol from Random House, I can see the validity of the statement. Playing the CD's I felt as if the narrator was, in the words of Dickens himself, 'standing in the spirit at your elbow.' And what a narrator! The multi-talented Jim Dale reads the story...no, that is not correct...Jim Dale PERFORMS the story. I counted 42 voices in the three-hour recording. Jim Dale is well known for his over 200 voices (and counting) bringing to life all of the characters in the Harry Potter books, which he also records for Random House's Listening Library. I first saw Jim Dale in the 1977 Disney movie Pete's Dragon where he played the bumbling villain. The next year he played three hilarious characters in another Disney film, Hot Lead and Cold Feet. I was lucky to see him in two musicals on Broadway, in Barnum, and Me and My Girl. Both very memorable performances. I plan to see him next month as he sings and dances Scrooge in Madison Square Garden's Christmas Carol - The Musical. I figure if he is great in the audiobook, he will be even better on stage. An actor has only two tools...his voice and his body. In the audiobooks, of course, only the voice can be used. And Dale's voice talents are well showcased here. I often found myself laughing out loud, thanks to the combined genius of Dickens and Dale. In a couple of cases, the genius is pure Dale. At one point he adds a bit of a dog's panting that really cracked me up. I have seen and/or heard other wonderful actors do one-man renditions of A Christmas Carol. A number of years ago a friend played a tape for me of John Gielgud doing an abridged version. I saw Patrick Stewart do his acclaimed one man show on Broadway; from the first row! And I have seen the author's great-great grandson, Gerald Dickens do his skilled and energetic version several times. They are all memorable and it would be impossible to say which was the best. But I can heartily recommend that Jim Dale's version be added to the family library. It is complete, it is accurate and it is a virtuoso performance. Although I certainly know the story well, I found by listening to the audiobook I was paying closer attention to the lesser known parts...the parts that, to be honest, I usually would skim over when rereading the book. In fact, there were several sections where I felt as if I were hearing them for the first time. Marvelous sections. I couldn't believe I had missed them in the past. Maybe Jim Dale's voice just made them more vibrant than my own inner voice. I suppose that asking me to review Jim Dale reading A Christmas Carol really isn't fair. One of my favorite performers reading my favorite story by my favorite author! But surely I am not alone. Dickens is universally known as England's greatest novelist. I wouldn't be surprised if Jim Dale was gaining a reputation as one of the world's greatest readers of audiobooks. They are both master storytellers. And to quote the Dickens himself, 'If that's not high praise, tell me higher, and I'll use it.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since 1843 the timeless story A Christmas Carol has been as much a part of our holiday season as Santa and wreaths on the door. Many of us have heard it dozens of times; others may be hearing it for the first time. For those who have heard it - what's old is new again with this incredible performance by acclaimed actor Jim Dale. For those who have not heard it as yet - let this recording be your introduction. Mr. Dale is the quintessential Ebenezer Scrooge, the most miserly of misers. Without missing a beat this talented performer becomes the ebullient, hopeful Bob Cratchit, as well as the chillingingly mysterious Christmas Eve visitors - the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. Well remembered for the characters he enlivened with the Harry Potter audio books, Mr. Dale has garnered a bevy of awards including a Tony Award, four Drama Desk Awards, a Grammy Award, and an Academy Award nomination. This year there's more frosting on the cake - in the 2003 Royal Birthday Honours List, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed Jim Dale with an MBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire. Hearing this reading of 'A Christmas Carol' is not only a superb listening experience but a heartwarming reminder of the meaning of Christmas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never tire of reading this story at Christmastime! It is one of my favorite traditions.
AnnadelCDye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have seen the movies lots of times, but reading the book for the first time was awesome. The way the old english is written gives it a special flavor. The story of a miser that hates Christmas and cares for nothing but money and how three ghosts help him change his ways, before is too late. A very good story and a great reading.
dawnlovesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
read it every christmas
SheReadsNovels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Christmas Carol is the one classic that almost everyone knows, even if they've never read the book. It's shorter and easier to read than most of Dickens' other books and really is suitable for people of all ages. I loved it as a child and after re-reading it this week for the first time in years, I loved it as an adult too. No matter how many movies, cartoons or TV adaptions you may have seen, it's still worth reading the book for the richness and humour of Dickens' writing and for his wonderful descriptions and imagery. Although some readers might find it too sentimental at times, it's easy to see why this book has become a timeless classic, as it is everything a good Christmas story should be - heartwarming, inspirational and with an important message for us all.
theboylatham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

4/10.

A victorian morality tale about the old and bitter Ebenezer Scrooge and the profound experience he has one christmas eve. He is visited by three ghosts who tell him that unless he changes his ways he will be doomed.

auntieknickers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lovely pictures grace this large-format edition of the classic.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had never read A Christmas Carol and listened to the fabulous recording of it by Jim Dale (he also reads Harry Potter). High recommend.
Cynfrank on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fabulous unabridged reading. I'll listen to it every Christmas. Makes a great gift.
Girl_Detective on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I appreciated this year in A Christmas Carol was how secular, not religious, its story was. I liked Dickens¿ dry, ironic humor, used to politely skewer certain people or their habits. This contrasted with his rich descriptions. I love this edition with Schart's lovely illustrations.
krissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked it. I like the language. It made me slow down and appreciate it. I knew the story, but I was surprised at how much I didn¿t know (mostly little things). It was what I would class as a comfort read. I don¿t think I would read it every year (but I don¿t tend to read books twice) but I will definitely be reading more Dickens.
tealover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What could one possibly say, that hasn't already been told about this book? It's my 'all time favourite' christmas read! Countless times reread and never a second bored with it! It's an absolute 'must' for every fan of xmas!
drewandlori on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This has to be the single most beaten-to-death story of all time, but even after a million TV remakes, the book still holds up surprisingly well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She wanted to leap but fear of hurting darkfur stopped her. "Stop it Scourge." She snarled. "Darkfur has done nothing."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She padded in and made a nest away from everyone else and slept.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bark
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good adaptation of the book. This is an easy read for young adolescents.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought it for my younger brother who became an independent reader! and even though he struggled with some vocabs he learned a lot! I think it is well written for adolescents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have at least 8 movie DVDs of "A Christmas Story", and they all emphasize, de-emphasize, or delete certain scenes. They are all quite faithful to the book however. The book is much smaller than I expected, and easily read in a evening or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Book a Christmas Carol was a good book, but yes it is very confusing. Description and summary of main points The book was about a man named Scrooge who seems to not like anything and Christmas is one of them. When he was a boy he was engaged to a beautiful woman and she left him because he was to selfish. As he got older he began his own business and stuff. Evaluation I like it a lot and I suggest you to read it. Conclusion It teaches people a very good lesson Your final review I like the book and the movie is good too hopefully one day you'll read it and get a good lesson out of it like did.