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Wenceslas: A Christmas Poem
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Wenceslas: A Christmas Poem

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Carol Ann Duffy's wonderful new Christmas poem retelling the carol of King Wenceslas, beautifully illustrated by Stuart Kolakovic.

Beginning with the King’s Cook, who is preparing a sumptuous Christmas Pie, Wenceslas takes us to a medieval feast. The lords and ladies are at their places, the wine is in full flow, the musicians are playing in the gallery and the entertainme
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 25th 2012 by Picador
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Dec 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow! pocket sized, beautifully illustrated by Stuart Kolakovie and Carol Ann Duffy shows her skill at weaving a beautiful poem from the traditional carol 'Good King Weceslas'. Just the right size for a Christmas stocking!

I love her choice of: 'wherein','trill' ' hither' and 'colly-flowre' which give the poem a distinctly old fashioned feel. I am in awe of her descriptive verse: 'Now the Heron's breast was martyred with Cloves' (with accompanying picture).
Even if certain grammar and vocabulary a
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
In this small book, a modern Christmas poem about the old English king is completed with delicate illustrations in the style of a medieval manuscript, which enrich the poem and delight the eye with their details. This is not exactly the familiar Christmas carol; the poem begins with the baking of an enormous Christmas pie, noting all the birds sacrificed for the king’s feast, and the wonders of that feast are enticingly described. But the heart of the story is the same: “Also there,/ out where t ...more
A beautifully illustrated and rather sumptuous poem; perfect for making one think of Christmas past, and the true message of the season - good will to all men.
Fiction Addition Angela
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beginning with the Kings cook, who is preparing a sumptuous Christmas pie. Wenceslas takes us to a medieval feast. The lords and ladies are at their places, the wine is in full flow , the musicians are playing in the gallery and the entertainment has begun.
All should be perfect. But when the good king looks up from his table he sees something more than snow, falling deep and crisp and even. The carol of King Wencelas, Carol Ann Duffy's wonderful new poem offers meriment and christmas cheer.
Kirsty Stanley
Received this little book via a Twitter promotion from Blackwells (thanks Catherine). It is a re-telling, via poetry, of the tale of Good King Wenceslas by Carol Ann Duffy. Now, as a vegetarian there was too much time spent on birds stuffing other birds for my liking and the end of the tale was sped through. Now I'm guessing that's the point, spending ages talking about the feast but then really quickly to show what is more meaningful.
The illustrations by Stuart Kolakovic were perfect (I partic
Stacey Woods
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was ok
The illustrations are beautiful, but the poem seems to focus on the pie, then end rather abruptly with the old man invited inside. I thought this part of the story should have been the focus.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
A pretty little book, but not much substance here -- a little playing with the sounds of words, and a moral to the story, to go with the beautifully coloured illustrations, but nothing mindblowing.
Callum McLaughlin
Dec 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, festive
This is one of Duffy’s annual festive poems, presented as a lovely little hardback. This particular offering is inspired by the carol of King Wenceslas, encouraging us to enjoy the indulgence of the season, whilst remembering to extend the hand of human kindness to those less fortunate than ourselves. I love this sentiment, and think Stuart Kolakovic’s accompanying artwork is beautiful, but the poem itself (in terms of language, structure, flow, etc.) didn’t do a huge amount for me.
Amy Welham
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas
This is a retelling of the carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and is heartwarmingly festive.
An elaborate feast has been prepared by the kings cook and the descriptive language Duffy uses is just excellent, you can picture it all. The hall is filled with the smell of food and the sounds of merriment. When the king looks outside he spots a peasant shivering in the snow and invites him to join the feast.

“and carved him a sumptuous slice of Christmas pie... as prayers hope you would, and I.”
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
The description of the pie makes me feel a bit sad and a bit queasy - so many birds! The poem paints a lovely picture of the feast, though, and it's beautifully illustrated. And of course the poor man gets his feast, too. ...more
Reflections and lessons learned:
Opulence and sharing... how I aim to spend every Christmas!
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Beautiful illustrations and wonderful poem. Makes a lovely Xmas gift.
Zulekha Saqib
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
a heart-warming poem about the simple acts of kindness, enhanced with whimsical illustrations.. it was the perfect introduction to Carol Ann Duffy's poetry! ...more
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
Delightful, makes you think, Christmas poem from one of my favourite contemporary poets.
Lisa Farrell
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
My Snow Pie present this year. A beautiful book- a wonderful poem by Duffy which weaves in some of the lines from the carol and astonishingly gorgeous illustrations.
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Overall, this is beautifully re-imagined and superbly illustrated version of the classic Christmas carol. Duffy's occasional use of old English in her verse and Kolakovic's medieval-style illustrations combine to create a unique and delightful festive package. It is quite a tiny little book: perfect stocking-filler size for the season ahead! This is something I could definitely imagine being read to children on Christmas Eve along with other classics such as "The Night Before Christmas". Not to ...more
Dec 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: keepers, arts
A small book containing the story of Good King Wenceslas, in which his actual good deed of taking in a poor peasant is confined to the last few pages, after most of it being taken up with the detailed contents of a pie being baked by the cook. Lovely illustrations though, giving it the appearance of a manuscript.
Beautifully illustrated, but for me personally the poem dwells a little too much on the contents of the Kings pie, and not enough on what is supposed to be the main crux of the story - the Kings kindness in inviting a poor man in out of the snow. Not one for vegetarians, certainly.
Spends a lot of time on birds stuffed with other birds. Great allusion to Herbert's "Prayer (1)" ("something understood"). Nice conclusion. ...more
Jay Kenobi
Dec 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I can't claim to have been blown away by the poetry itself, although I liked the moral finale. The illustrations though were absolutely stunning and upped the numbers of stars I gave. ...more
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A tale of Christmas giving and generosity.
The most beautiful thing about this book though is the gorgeous illustrations.
Jan 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Christmas poem based on Good King Wenceslas, bound in a lovely, beautifully illustrated little pocket book.
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Nov 24, 2019
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Dec 18, 2015
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Aug 11, 2020
Alex Hutchinson
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Aug 23, 2013
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May 10, 2016
Amaia Álvarez
rated it it was ok
Dec 21, 2015
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Dame Carol Ann Duffy, DBE, FRSL is a Scottish poet and playwright. She is Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University, and was appointed Britain's Poet Laureate in May 2009.

She is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first openly LGBT person to hold this position.

Her collections include Standing Female Nude (1985), winner of a Scottish Arts Council Award; Selling Man

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