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A Child's Christmas in Wales
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A Child's Christmas in Wales

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,424 ratings  ·  231 reviews
Dylan Thomas, a pudgy gnomelike figure with the voice of a god, was a very powerful writer, & an even more powerful speaker, as the extant recordings of his works attest. What follows is his delightful short story overflowing with wonderful wordplay called A Child's Christmas in Wales:
"One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner n
Paperback, 26 pages
Published 1959 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1952)
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Tadiana ♕Part-Time Dictator♕
My artistic, flighty mother, who's in her 70's, flits in and out of my life, leaving quirky gifts behind. Sometimes they go straight to Goodwill (used clothing, cheap knickknacks); sometimes they're useful (a type of mop she particularly loves?); sometimes they're delightful (my grandmother's sterling silver set, books that have moved her, beautiful impressionistic landscapes that she paints in oils or watercolor).


This book was one of my mother's more recent gifts; she dropped it on me a month
Riku Sayuj
I picked this as an accessible introduction to Dylan's work. A delicate prose poem that proceeds liltingly until the child and the adult versions collides head on, subtly, magnificently bringing about the conclusion.
All the Christmases roll toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find.

How did I, a huge fan of Christmas and celebrations in general, manage to ignore this book for so long?

Not a clue - but it was THIS version with illustrations by the marvelous Chris Raschka


that finally convinced me to dig in.

This is a happy t
Although I know almost every thing about Christmas, I have never felt it first-hand. And I must say I'm really unschooled about Wales. But This little book, with its cadenced prose enchanted me with its music of words and powerful visualization so that I could hear "distant speaking of the voices," "the carol-singing sea," "the muffling silence of the eternal snows," and the rumbling and mumbling of aunts and uncles and their music; could smell the two-tongued sea and the scent of a warm crowded ...more
The tiny, blue paperback version of Thomas' prose poem is adorned with minimalist, pattern-based woodcuts and published by New Directions. It is less than eight pages of solid text and is dense and desultory enough to warrant multiple back to back readings. The rapidly changing focus of the narrator is caused by his efforts to reach into a grab bag of distant childhood memories and his willingness to mix events together that may have been separated by several years. The boyhood is ultimately wel ...more
Delightful. Dylan Thomas is amazing to listen to. A feast for the senses.
Dec 02, 2012 Rowena rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rowena by: Shirley
Shelves: childrens
This was a lovely book and a perfect book to read on the first day of Advent. Very nostalgic, it definitely made me think of my childhood Christmases and how magical they seemed to me.
Lovely story. Thanks to Petra and Bettie for sharing this marvelous Christmas book.
James Klagge
This is not a poem, but it is written so well that the language approaches poetry. I first learned of this in the early 1990's in the form of a video on PBS. My uncle recorded it, and it became a Christmas tradition to watch this with my kids. We practically have it memorized and all have our favorite lines. We now watch it on DVD. The video version incorporates all of the text from the book, but adds some material to give it a bit more context. Being familiar with the video version first, the b ...more
This was a Christmas tradition- to read aloud- at the Gonzaga Honors Program christmas party. I keep this tradition, reading it every Christmas to my own children. Thomas has captured the concept of what memory is, how it unrolls, and how emotional memory can be so poignant that the same temperature (such as the cold snow in his work), the smells, the feelings, the taste of that memory can be pulled out and unrolled. The predominant image in this work is of a snowball, and Thomas gives us that i ...more
Ken Moten
One of the surprises that I received this year was the poetry (and voice) of Dylan Thomas. As good as Thomas' poetry is, it was his voice that has captivated me. I think this voice is what most young American kids thought the British nobility sounded like.

This prose is a simple recollection of various memories of Thomas' Christmas as a child. He is able to paint a picture of the scene in your head and I found myself almost seeing my own image in the vignettes being described. In all, this piece
Lisa Vegan
My mother introduced to me to this book. I think she got it for herself first. Her (Jewish) mother was born in Wales, and, even though my mother was born in Canada, I think she always felt part Welsh. I liked this book when I first read it/had it read to me, although not as much as my mother did. I think I have liked it more as an adult, after learning more about Dylan Thomas’s life & work.
David Schaafsma
This is a lovely book illustrated by children's book artist Chris Raschka of the familiar (but now forgotten by many?) tale written by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas ("Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night") that is always good to read around the holidays. Not really lmited to a kid story, either. Wonderful, wonderful language and joyful telling. The watercolor art is not as soft and inviting as one might expect of such a nostalgic project; it's more an abstract expressionistic depiction of the world o ...more
A lovely little book. Trina Schart Hyman's illustration captured the essence of the story. I especially loved the cats peeking out in most of the pictures and the illustration of the postman "With sprinkling eyes and wind-cherried nose." This book has convinced me that I would like to read more Dylan Thomas, perhaps some of his poetry.
"Las Navidades fluyen como una luna fría e inquietante que avanzara por el cielo que aboveda nuestra calle de camino al traicionero mar; y se detienen en el borde de las olas de aristas glaciales - verdaderos congeladores de peces -, y yo hundo las manos en la nieve y desentierro cualquier cosa que posa encontrar."
Nov 07, 2008 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: christmas, children
Who does not love boozy, bleary-eyed Dylan Thomas' childhood Christmas remembrance? Anyone who has heard Thomas read this or any other poem aloud will hear his voice reverberating in their mind. This book is a tiny treasure, and a special seasonal treat.
Pavel Beneš
Jestli se bude edice NOS dál vyvíjet takhle skvěle, mají se všichni nač těšit!
Erik Graff
Apr 03, 2012 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Xmas celebrators of childhood
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff Jr.
Shelves: poetry
Long, long before I read Dylan Thomas, he read to me. It started at Christmas. Which I cannot recall, nor can I recall a childhood Christmas without him, sonorously, excitedly, rhapsodically evoking his own experience of the holy day and thereby formulating a bit of my own.

The recordings of Thomas, this and his Under Milkwood, came to my family, care of WFMT, Chicago's fine arts station, my father's companion from Sousa marches in the morning to a concluding nocturne sixteen hours later. Usually
Tricia Douglas
Thanks to my GR's buddy, Cheryl, for posting this book. I've always loved Trina Schart Hyman's illustration and this book showed some of her best work. Dylan Thomas' story was beautifully written and left me with nostalgic memories of my own Swedish traditions. I will have to pull out this book every Christmas season now in addition to that old stand-by The Night Before Christmas. Thomas' book is definitely a classic.
It's the last night of my post-Christmas vacation before heading home tomorrow and back into the reality of daily work and life. So as a treat, I pulled out this beloved book and reread it. Dylan Thomas, this poem/book is a treasure that I'm looking forward to reading to my grandson.
Anita Smith
My grandfather used to read this story every Christmas at a community event in his town. We'd go see him read it every year, and there was one line in the story- "Mr. Daniel looks like a spaniel", and every time he read it, I would burst into giggles (no matter how old I was, I thought that was damn funny), and he knew that was my favorite line in the book, so he'd look directly at me every time he read it. He passed away thirteen years ago, and I bought a copy of this book a few years after he ...more
Because Circus Flora is performing with the St. Louis Symphony again this year, and the theme is based on A Child's Christmas in Wales, I just had to read this classic. The poetic language is richly descriptive--"All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves . . . " I felt sorry for the cats who were pelted with snowballs by the author and his buddie ...more
Dr. Tim
I was born in Wales so have something of an emotional attachment to this tale. As ever, Dylan Thomas brings events, people, places and emotions to life with a visceral, imaginative style that has never quite been matched by others. Tales of humble backgrounds, poor families, simple times and conflicted families can sometimes drift into being over-emotional and pithy. No such charge can be levelled at Thomas.

If you have a chance, listen to the Richard Burton reading of this. His melifluous, emot
I was hoping that this would be my new favorite story for Christmas, adding to my love for Wales.

What is wrong with me?! I need someone to explain why this book is so highly rated. After two readings I have yet to make sense of it. The illustrations are sweet, but the story is rambling and difficult.

I also bought the audio, which I thought might help, but as yet has only made me fall asleep. (It might have something to do with my exhaustion in preparing for Christmas).

I will try again. In the me
Sian Lile-Pastore
Such a cosy little book about Christmas, all nostalgic and snowy with wonderful illustrations by Edward Ardizzone. I adore the opening paragraph:

'One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I wa
With all the hustle and bustle of the season, the shopping and shoving and sometimes shovelling, A Child's Christmas in Wales is like a little oasis of calm and quiet. 'Quiet' being a relative term: I read it annually, and every time I can hear Dylan Thomas' voice speaking the words to me from the page, his sonorous, lilting, rolling Welsh voice.

The illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman in this edition are delightful.
This extended prose poem is a work of art to be enjoyed any time of year. The humor, the sweet memory, the scenery are palpable. I have always loved then ending, the going to bed on Christmas night, when the hubbub is over but the dreaming goes on. Trina Shart Hyman's illustrations in this edition are wonderfully true to the text and full of fun.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Here's a little sample: "...and some few small aunts,
not wanted in the kitchen, nor anywhere else for that
matter, sat on the very edges of their chairs, poised
and brittle, afraid to break, like faded cups and
saucers." Delightful. Recommended.

Another annual Christmas-time read. This book is lyrical. I enjoy it more each time I read it and keep thinking I want to see if I can find an ancient recording of it being read by the author, if such a thing exists. (Note:I may be a little partial to this poet since he is my hubby's namesake).
Jan 01, 2012 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rebecca by: Evan
I finally read this in its entirety, and immediately wanted to read it over again and hear it read aloud. My usual reading diet is not this poetic, and this style is so suited for childhood memories and their dreamlike, fragmented quality that is more about a feeling than anything.
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Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet. He is regarded by many as one of the 20th century's most influential poets.

In addition to poetry, Thomas also wrote short stories and scripts for film and radio, with the latter frequently performed by Thomas himself. His public readings, particularly in America, won him great acclaim; his booming, at times ostentatious, voice with a subtle Welsh lilt, became
More about Dylan Thomas...
Collected Poems Under Milk Wood Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog The Poems of Dylan Thomas Adventures in the Skin Trade

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“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.” 49 likes
“And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss. Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?” 36 likes
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