Lynn Gardner: Seasonal Reads: A Child's Christmas in Wales


Seasonal Reads: A Child's Christmas in Wales

Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "It snowed last year, too. I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."

I'm on a Trina Schart Hyman kick -- blame it on the Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins I saw at Barnes & Noble. There are so many books I picked up as a child because of Hyman's tempting and richly-detailed illustrations and she remains one of my favorite illustrators. So, when I saw my library owned this edition of A Child's Christmas in Wales, I snapped it up. I'd never read A Child's Christmas in Wales -- didn't hear about it until I was a college student with limited patience for poetry. Needless to say, I did not read it then.

More fool me.

A Child's Christmas in Wales is a beautiful prose poem of childhood and Christmas in a small Welsh town and Hyman's illustrations pair so well with the story. I know there are many editions of A Child’s Christmas in Wales, but this one is so lovely and perfect that there really need be no other editions!

I would really like prints of some of the illustrations to hang on my walls. The one of Aunt Hannah, who liked port, "singing like a big-bosomed thrush" in the middle of the snowy yard is my favorite -- mostly, because I expect to age into Aunt Hannah.

And, as with Trina Schart Hyman's Little Red Riding Hood, there are cats everywhere!

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas with illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman

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