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A Child's Christmas in...
Dylan Thomas
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A Child's Christmas in Wales

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,738 Ratings  ·  358 Reviews
with woodcuts by Ellen Raskin
designed and illustrated by Ellen Raskin

Library of Congress Catalog No. 59-13174

Paperback, 32 pages
Published 1959 by New Directions - James Laughlin (first published 1952)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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
Oct 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 was six. 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 t ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, ho-ho-ho
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
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A humorous, nostalgic tale of Christmas Eve afternoon through Christmas night, full of unique imagery and lovely phrasing.

Perhaps it's because I watched parts of the movie 'A Christmas Story' on Christmas Eve that I was reminded of Ralphie as I read this tonight-- even if there is no BB gun.
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 from such a nostalgic project; it's more an abstract expressionistic depiction of the world ...more
Shayan Foroozesh
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
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, christmas
My understanding is this is a British Christmas classic. I've been reading it to my children for several years now at Christmas time. It's such a delightful story and so beautifully told. If you want to re-live the nostalgic Christmas past I highly recommend you read this short story.
I understand A Child's Christmas in Wales was first published in 1954 and a year after the author's death. It was based on his childhood exploits while growing up. Mr Thomas's words easily lulled the reader into an innocent past.

On its own, I would have given the story 3 1/2 stars but my copy was the slim hardback with pictures drawn by Trina Schart Hyman. I loved her illustrations. Some were in black and white, others were in color. As I watched, the story took on a life of its own.

Cigars and
Oziel Bispo
Dec 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nostalgia e lembranças da infância concernentes ao natal do pequeno Dylan no começo do século XX , com todas suas aventuras , como cantar em frente a uma casa mal assombrada, jogar
bolas de neve nos gatos, observar o carteiro desajeitado escorregando pela neve, encher a caixa de correio do sr Daniel de neve, passear pela praia...tudo e isso e muito mais,contado de uma forma doce e poética. Um lindo conto de natal em forma de poesia,este pequeno tesouro deveria ao nossos filhos e amados todo an
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Extra star added due to John Cale. Google it.

Knowing what I do of his adult life, I really hope Thomas experienced this close holiness.

All I ever got was the Licking of the Lard Spoon and Hell Awaits on repeat. Oh, and fucking Aerosmith tickets one year. I fucking HATE Aerosmith! Thanks for nothing, Ma!!!
Billy O'Callaghan
Less a story than a series of snapshots that accumulate to present a funny, poignant and always nostalgic view of childhood Christmases, the joy is in the beautiful language, the magnificent imagery and the way that every sense is awakened.
“Years and years ago, when I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farm
Dec 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Dylan Thomas is a Welsh poet known for his poem, "Do not go gently into that good night." I am thrilled to learn he has written a prose poem about Christmas. This tiny book described his experience of Christmas "years and years ago, when (he) was a boy" in Wales. It contained some truly lush and beautiful lines about snow and captured the nostalgia associated with Christmas at a time when life was relatively simpler.

If you love poetry, you will most certainly find this an enchanting treat. In Th
Mar 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ken Moten
From December 2013:
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.
Lovely story. Thanks to Petra and Bettie for sharing this marvelous Christmas book.
Delightful. Dylan Thomas is amazing to listen to. A feast for the senses.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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.
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Půvabné. A graficky krásné!
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Beth Bonini
I'm not entirely sure that I've read this before, but it's the kind of nostalgic Christmas story that seems familiar all the same. It's a great choice for a family read-aloud; like his contemporary Laurie Lee, Thomas writers with great playfulness and he relishes words like a true poet. Like the Welshman that he also is, his words have a real musicality to them.

In Thomas's version of childhood Christmases past, there is always snow: "In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holi
James Klagge
Dec 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, children, stories
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
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, british, holiday
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
"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."
Jun 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: children, christmas
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.
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful! It is especially a treat when read outloud!
Pavel Beneš
Jestli se bude edice NOS dál vyvíjet takhle skvěle, mají se všichni nač těšit!
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Dylan Marlais Thomas was a Welsh poet who wrote in English. 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 subt
More about Dylan Thomas...

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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.” 77 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?” 43 likes
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