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The Birds' Christmas Carol
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The Birds' Christmas Carol

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  602 ratings  ·  119 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 933)
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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.


Surprisin
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Sarah
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
Tarissa
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
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Amy
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 Gutenburg.com.

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
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Juergen John Roscher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
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
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Linda Prieskorn
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.
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Rebecca
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
Cindy
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.
Heidi
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
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Lauren Stoolfire
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
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Lisa
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!"
Cheryl
I think this story became a classic among children, not because of the sappy heroine Carol and her story, but because of the humor of getting Ruggles children ready for the party, and the description of said party and the feast. Interesting how my library has held on to it.
Connie Harkness
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.
John
A wonderful Christmas story. Yes, it's that time of the year again....:-)
Catherine
One of my favorite favorites. I got it from Aunt Susan many years ago, and I probably still read it every other Christmas.
Angela
Good for a REALLY quick book club read. But not a whole lot to talk about, just a feel good Christmas story.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Typical Victorian "girl dies young and virtuous" story. Get out the box of Kleenex. I loved it!
Jgrace
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
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Gale
A TRUE CHRISTMAS ANGEL!

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.

Quaintly
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Bev
The Birds' Christmas Carol (1886) is a very sweet short novel written by Kate Douglas Wiggin and illustrated by Katharine R. Wireman. It centers around Carol Bird--originally destined to be named Lucy until she arrived unexpectedly on Christmas. She grows to be an exceptionally happy, loving, and generous girl--despite the fact that she is diagnosed with an unspecified illness at age five and is bedridden by the time she is ten. As the story says, "perhaps because she was born in holiday time, c ...more
Phillip
Tiny Tim has a dear an noble counterpart in the character of Carol Bird, the well-to-do, but sickly American girl whose good heart lies as the centerpiece of Kate Douglas Wiggins Christmas classic. Not so much of a novel as it is a literary bonbon reminiscent of the Lord's parable of the banquet prepared for the poor rather than the gentry.

The only weakness I find in this pleasant tale is the sentimentality surrounding nearly everything to do about Carol. Once the reader accepts this as the lite
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Diane
Okay, call me cold-hearted but this book felt flat to me. It's very Victorian and very stereotyped. Sweet, saintly little blonde girl who is pale and weak from some childhood illness, decides to bestow Christmas cheer on those less fortunate. It's not a BAD story it's just not a great story. I prefer Dicken's A Christmas Carol or O Henry's Gift of The Magi over this one.
June
I'd read this to the world every blasted Christmas if I could; ogling every last bit of the vintage art, not optional. There simply aren't enough stars for "Dear, funny, jolly, loving, wise Uncle Jack, who came every two or three years, and brought so much joy with him that the world looked as black as a thunder-cloud for a week after he went away again."
Jennifer
I almost cried! I found this little Christmas book as a freebie on Amazon and I'm so glad I did. It warmed my heart and made me want to smile and cry at the same time. Set in a time long ago, it presents the joy and meaning of Christmas through one little girl's generosity and love.
Diana
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debra Torgerson
Christ's Birthday - and mine!

A lovely Christmas story of how it is more blessed to give then receive. I would have liked a different ending a Christmas miracle let's say, but still a sweet story. Take an hour or so and enjoy this book.
Leah Good
3.5 stars.

Carol Bird, born on Christmas day, suffers from a terminal illness. On the Christmas that is also to be her 10th birthday, she asks to honor Christ's birthday by giving her Christmas to the poor children next door.

This book reminded me of Little Lord Fauntleroy in many ways. Of course, Cedric wasn't an invalid, but he and Carol share similar personalities. I found parts of this book slightly boring, but it's short enough that it didn't matter too much. And the ending is sweet and sad a
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CatholicBibliophagist
I didn't like this any better than I did when I first read it as a youngster.
(view spoiler)
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Christie
This is such an amazing story that embodies what the spirit of Christmas is and always should be about. I read this every year with my mother before Christmas while growing up. It's been over 30 years since I read it last. The heartwarming story brought tears to my eyes. The Bird family and their remarkable youngest daughter Carol, born on Christmas day, have everything that they could ask for except the health of young Carol. In spite of Carol's illness, or perhaps because of it, the family's l ...more
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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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More about Kate Douglas Wiggin...
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