Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Christmas Carol

Yesterday, my mom, sister, daughter, niece & I went to see Disney's new version of A Christmas Carol. (At the link, you can learn more about the film, see clips, images, and even play a few games!) It was a great movie, though pretty scary.

As I sat watching it (my mom & I went to the 2D version while the others saw it in 3D), I remembered the play my sister and I had been in when I was about Alex's age. I played one of Tiny Tim's sisters. (If my mom can find a photo, I'll post it!) Anyway, I was amazed at how I was remembering so many of the lines from the opening scene!

Last night, my niece (11) found a copy of A Christmas Carol at my mom's house. My sister offered to read it for awhile as a bedtime story. We all sat around the living room listening to her... she's a wonderful reader! Anyway, I was really surprised at how closely the movie followed the book - most of the time it was word for word!!!

We only read about 4 (of 47) pages in 20 minutes. They are long, hard pages... but very enjoyable! We had a few questions, like why did it say "Stave 1" instead of "Chapter 1?" And, when Scrooge was talking with the two men collecting for the poor, what was the Treadmill?

I got online today and found The Annotated Christmas Carol  which answered both of my questions. It is called a "stave" (an archaic term for staff, a stanza of a poem or a song) instead of a "chapter" because Charles Dickens wanted to continue the "pretense of his story being a 'Christmas carol in prose.' And, the Treadmill was "a mill operated by persons walking on steps fastened to the circumference of a great and wide horizontal wheel." It was a form of criminal punishment. You can see a photo of one here.

Then, today, I was at a homeschool store and came across a barely used copy of A Christmas Carol: The Whole Story. It is an unabridge version with wonderful illustrations and lots of background information, though much less than the annotated version. Many of the illustrations look surprisingly like those found in the Disney movie!

Another great website is found here with more information about Dickens here. This page on the same site is about Dickens & Christmas.  Fascinating reading!!!

I'm excited to be learning about Dickens & A Christmas Carol with my sister & our girls. I bought the girls each their own Dover verion today, too. And, you can find online versions at sites like this one which unfortunately uses the word "chapter" instead of "staves."

So, I hope you find a way to enjoy the classic "A Christmas Carol" this holiday season!


Jill O. Miles said...

One day a healthy, thirty-something man approached me while I was leaving a grocery store and said, "Excuse me, I can't read. Can you tell me where Captain Jack's Restaurant is?" I pointed to it, right across the street. My guess is he was going in for a dish washing job. It broke my heart. I vowed right then that I would get involved with a "Learn-to-Read" program — when my nest is empty.

Robin said...

We went to see this movie the other day. And I was SO looking forward to it. I thought it was visually amazing. The animation was stunning, especially in the 3-D version that we watched. The story was very good at following the original work. BUT I did think it was a little too scary; especially when you are appealing to an audience of children. All the other versions were clearly meant for adults, and I'm afraid that this one was too. I was most appalled by the decomposing of the ghost of Christmas present. It was too realistic and gory. The bit in the beginning with Marley and his mouth falling apart was gross, too.
I enjoyed it, as an adult, and GB liked it. But I did hear a lot of kids in our theater crying out in fear. The horse chasing scene was particularly scary in 3-D.
I guess I just wasn't expecting it to be so dark. I kept thinking that if Jim Carrey was going to be in it then it would be hilarious. But they really stuck to the script and there was hardly any humor in it at all.
I love all your links, especially the annotated version of the story. I've been perusing the annotations all morning. Hopefully, those who go watch the movie will have lots of stimulating conversation afterward. GB was particularly wondering about the phrase, 'decreasing the surplus population', and we had a very long conversation on that subject.
Boy am I long-winded today!

Melissa Telling said...

Hands of a Child has a new lapbook on A Christmas Carol that I'm planning to do with the kids. It's really nice. I wrote a review of it on Currclick.

Dana Maize said...

Thanks for the links! We downloaded the Christmas Carol study from Currclick when they had their black Friday specials, so we're going through the book right now. I'm so thankful your friend Robin gave a movie review, because I'm planning on taking Spencer as an end-of-study reward.

lahbluebonnet said...

I like those annotate books a lot. I've found a few at Half Price books in San Antonio, but I bought A Christmas Carol off the shelf. The great, great, great, great, or so grandson of Charles Dickens comes to Colonial Williamsburg every December to A Christmas Carol. I'd love to go for that but it's an evening program during the week next week and I won't make it.

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