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

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  2,024 ratings  ·  188 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...more
Hardcover, 63 pages
Published 1954 by New Directions (Norfolk, CT) (first published 1952)
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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.
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
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
Lovely story. Thanks to Petra and Bettie for sharing this marvelous Christmas book.
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...more
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.
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
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...more
"Looking Back to Simpler Times"

Dylan Thomas’ portrait of a 1950’s Christmas in Wales is genuine and sweetly simple. Presented from a boy’s viewpoint these 40 pages prove a nostalgic glimpse into bygone memories. Depicting adults—especially his relatives—Thomas has preserved his characters for all in the modern world to observe and possibly recognize (with a secret smile) in our own extended family. In an unplotted series of events over 24 hours he offers his juvenile stream of consciousness—wit...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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.
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).
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.
ღ Carol jinx~☆~
A book for everyone. It has become a familiar part of the holiday-season. A child's eye-view and an adult's warm remembrance of the time of presents, good things to eat, and, in the best of circumstances, newly-fallen snow.
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.
The very beginning of the book lets us know that "A Child's Christmas in Wales" was first performed as a BBC radio broadcast in 1945. In 1947, Thomas wrote "Conversations about Christmas". Finally, in 1950, he joined them together into one essay titled "A Child's Memories of Christmas in Wales". After Thomas died in 1953, the version used in this book was published as "A Child's Christmas in Wales". Though truly it is a collection of his memories of how Christmas was celebrated when he was a you...more
Dylan Thomas said he didn't care about meaning in his poetry, that meaning took a very low second place to resonance and feeling. My problem is most of what I read in this story has no meaning and in my mind's voice the words did not resonate. I feel like someone is telling a joke and I'm the only one that doesn't get it. There were some phrases or combination of words in this book that were humorous or evoked a certain image in my mind's eye, but for the most part there were stark word combinat...more
Wonderful! It is especially a treat when read outloud!
This may have been my introduction to Dylan Thomas. I may have first experienced it in the iconic Caedmon recording with Thomas, in his wonderful and too-often imitated BBC "Welsh-singing voice", reading the tale of this one Christmas that was so much like the others so many years before. Of course I first experienced it on the record. But I read it soon after. Very soon after. Soon after that I began reading it aloud to my friends at Christmas or any other time they'd listen to me. Soon after t...more
The 1985 Holiday House of A Child's Christmas in Wales is the version that remains on my shelf of Christmas books. My favorite was a tiny blue book filled with woodcuts - it must have been given away as a gift - no matter.

From the beginning to the end one is captivated by Dylan Thomas' childhood Christmas which brings to mind one's own memories of Christmas past. Reading is pleasurable, but this is one story that is greatly enhanced by listening to Dylan Thomas himself as he tells about one Chri...more
Rachel Gatti
I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I first encountered this story. From as far back as I can remember, it was a tradition in my family to watch the 90’s film version of this story every year during Christmastime. Let me first say that if you enjoy the written story, you are bound to enjoy the film as well, as there are no major differences between them. If you enjoy the film, consider adding the book to your Christmas reading list.

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is one of those stories...more
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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
More about Dylan Thomas...
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“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?” 35 likes
“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.” 34 likes
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