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The Birds' Christmas Carol

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  779 Ratings  ·  142 Reviews
Few characters embody the spirit of Christmas more fully than Kate Douglas Wiggin's Carol Bird. This classic Christmas story by the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm features a child as memorable and charitable as Dickens's Tiny Tim. Born on Christmas Day, Carol is the Bird family's special Christmas baby. As her tenth birthday approaches, declining health threatens you ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published September 27th 1999 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1886)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,397)
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Deborah Markus
They had intended to name the baby Lucy, if it were a girl; but they hadn't expected her on Christmas morning, and a real Christmas baby was not to be lightly named -- the whole family agreed in that.

They were consulting about it in the nursery. Mr. Bird said that he had assisted in naming the three boys, and that he should leave this matter entirely to Mrs. Bird. ...Uncle Jack said that the first girl should always be named for her mother, no matter how hideous the name happened to be.

May 21, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seasonal-holiday
This brings back a treasured memory for me. One Christmas Eve when I could not get to sleep I wandered into another room to find my older sister and mom wrapping Christmas presents. My mom pulled out this book, The Bird's Christmas Carol and we spent the next two hours listening to her read this bittersweet tale. By four a.m. all three of us had dissolved into tears. This book does remind me of a Dickens novel although it does not have any evil characters as is typical of his books. It is utterl ...more
I really did try to make an effort to appreciate (and even enjoy) this book (and was well aware of what kind of fiction it is considered to represent), but the concept of the "ministering angel" (the girl who although an invalid makes life beautiful for friends and neighbours before dying in a state of grace) is just a bit too overt and massively heavy-handed for me. While with other message-heavy 19th century children's authors (such as Louisa May Alcott, for example), the plot, the characters, ...more
Dec 22, 2015 Tarissa rated it it was amazing
My new favorite Christmas story!! Truly, I'd recommend it to all ages. The story is simple, created for children, but it's one of those tales that any age could be warmed by the morals upheld.

"It was very early Christmas morning, and in the stillness of the dawn, with the soft snow falling on the house-tops, a little child was born in the Bird household...."

Carol Bird is a Christmas child. She grows up, even sickly and bedridden, always honoring Christ on His birthday first, even though it is he
Dec 14, 2008 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-reads
To my surprise and elation, I found this book while rummaging through still-packed boxes in my office! What luck! I've read it twice this month; it's a breeze to get through. You could probably find the text online. My favorite site for such a thing is Project

It's full of heart-warming Victorian charm, old-fashioned dialect, and it has a wonderfully bittersweet ending. You'll cry when you read it, but you'll be better for the effort.

And besides, what else would you expect from the
Juergen John Roscher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 02, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-ya
I'm embarrassed to admit that I keep reading this silly, sweet, sentimental book. Also that I cry over it every damn time. It is a very nice book.

Like many authors of her time, Wiggin makes good use of that familiar trope, Victorian Too Good To Live Syndrome, so useful for reforming the wicked and reuniting the lost. In this case, of course, there are no really wicked people, only some ordinarily naughty little boys and some grownups who need to pay more attention to the poor; no lost people, on
Linda Prieskorn
Nov 20, 2014 Linda Prieskorn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books. I can still remember Mrs Lane standing in front of the class at Slauson and reading it so us as eighth graders. She started to cry and handed the book to Sally Gingles to finish the oral reading. As I remember it the girls cried and the boys rolled their eyes. I was amazed that the toughest teacher at Slauson was so sentimental.

By choosing this book, like Mrs Lane, I have ripped off my cynical veil and revealed myself as a schmalzy sentimental weeping old lady.
I didn't like this any better than I did when I first read it as a youngster.
(view spoiler)
Way too sweet and heavy-handed with the lesson-teaching. Although, perhaps if I'd read it to myself instead of audiobooking it through a free app on my phone, I would have enjoyed it better.

2015 Reading Challenge Category: Read a book set during Christmas
Dec 04, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book and I read it every Christmas. My aunt read it to me as a child. I bet I have given out 50 or more copies of this book. Read it this Christmas
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Typical Victorian "girl dies young and virtuous" story. Get out the box of Kleenex. I loved it!
Oct 08, 2014 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a sweet Christmas story, written in 1887, that I got for free on Amazon. It can be read in a couple of hours. It would also be a good Christmas story to read to children.
Dec 22, 2009 Heidi-Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Heidi-Marie by: LaDawn
I have planned for years to read this, ever since my mother lovingly told me its story when I was younger. (Perhaps young teen, or pre-teen.) Somehow I thought it was a recent publication when she told it to me. But it's over 100 years old. As sweet a story as my mom summarized it to be. A good one to remind us of service, selflessness, and loving others. It can be read all the year long, but it was special for me to read it during this holiday season.

P.S. We can look at me reading this in honor
Lauren Stoolfire
Apr 10, 2014 Lauren Stoolfire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This excellent yet heartbreakingly bittersweet Christmas tale is available to listen to through USF Lit2Go. By the end, I was blinking the mist out of my eyes. Carol is a saint-like as she can be, but unfortunately she has been bedridden and weak for most of her young life. She holds true to the real spirit of the Christmas holiday. Although she brings much joy to her family and friends, they know it won't last forever as her health worsens.

The only thing that bothered me is that her parents do
Nov 29, 2010 Ellee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nora
This was a very "nice" book. A little too moralistic for me as an adult, but I bet I would have liked it as a kid. Nice sentiment, but the heroine is just to saccharine for me. I think I liked to think (as a little girl) that I would be this kind, generous creature, but I also really looked up to Pippi Longstocking and other trouble-making heroines, so who knows.. :)
Sappy? Yes! Melodramatic? Absolutely! Predicatable? Sure, but the better for it. Sometimes it takes a sweet, little book to remind us what is special and dear about the Holiday season. I enjoyed this book, it made me cry and made me appreciate what I have to be thankful for. I'd like to be remembered as a "Christmas Carol!"
I was inspired by a wish to visit some classics, particularly ones available as free ebooks. I loved this one. Sweet, pretty and apt. Despite the book being christian, I did not find it alienating. Highly descriptive whilst being lovely generally. I recommend this happily.
The story of a little girl born on Christmas. She's an angel and confine to her bed. There's not a lot here, it's well written, but you can see the ending coming a mile before it is there and it's over sentimental (which normally I like for Christmas stories).
Connie Harkness
Feb 20, 2009 Connie Harkness rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book means Christmas to me. It will always be linked with my favorite memories of my mother.
One thing not mentioned in the other reviews is the beautiful pictures.
I think this book may be what made such a reader out of me.
Nov 27, 2015 Frances rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A 19th century Christmas tale complete with a terminally ill child with a heart of gold, and a good helping of mockery of the poor. Read itfor the holiday atmosphere and the eye-rolls.
Nov 04, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful Christmas story. Yes, it's that time of the year again....:-)
As a child I would have loved this sweet little Christmas story.

As an adult I found the whole thing too sugary and goody-goody.
Jan 18, 2009 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, classics
One of my favorite favorites. I got it from Aunt Susan many years ago, and I probably still read it every other Christmas.
Amy Best
Apr 21, 2016 Amy Best rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-as-a-family
This is the second time we've read this aloud as a family at Christmas, what a little treasure of a book!
Dec 04, 2008 Angela rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good for a REALLY quick book club read. But not a whole lot to talk about, just a feel good Christmas story.
Julie Barrett
Jan 22, 2016 Julie Barrett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Birds' Christmas Carol by Wiggin_ Kate Douglas Smith
Baby bird is born on Christmas day and the male birds want a change at naming the bird. The mother decides Carol is most fitting for the first girl of their family.
Story follows her life as the others get older and move on with their lives. She makes it a special Christmas for one family every year.
Love charity work of exchanging books for 14 days with other children at the hospital.
I received this book from National Library Service for my
Dec 23, 2015 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think that I heard about this book in Morley's "The Haunted Bookshop" and thought it would be about a bunch of anthropomorphic birds at Christmas time and wouldn't you know that Amazon would have it for Kindle-for nothing!
Well, the Birds are a family of humans and this short story revolves around their dear Carol born on Christmas Day who exhibits a demeanor not unlike that other kid born on December 25 before the lunatic Christians of the latter 20th /early 21st century got ahold of him. A v
The Birds’ Christmas Carol – Kate Douglas Wiggins
3 stars

I satisfied my curiosity about this book with a free kindle download. It is a 19th century Hallmark Christmas special, and has nothing whatever to do with actual birds. Carol Bird (so called because she was born on Christmas Day) is a bed-ridden dying child with a saintly, generous nature. As her life is clearly ending, her one wish is to provide a lavish Christmas celebration for the poor Irish immigrant family that she is able to observe

This sentimental gem by the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm glows with familial warmth and the true spirit of Christmas. A frail ten-year-old girl named Carol (because she was born on Christmas Day and her mother heard the carols from the church next door) plans a memorable Christmas for a poor family of 9 children who live in the back alley. Carol wants nothing for herself this year, since she feels already blessed by the riches of love from her own family.

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Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin

Kate Douglas Wiggin, nee Smith (1856-1923) was an American children's author and educator. She was born in Philadelphia, and was of Welsh descent. She started the first free kindergarten in San Francisco in 1878 (the "Silver Street Free Kindergarten"). With her sister in the 1880s she also established a training school for kindergarten teachers. Her best known books are Th
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