Tuesday, November 4, 2014

GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!: The Story Behind A Christmas Carol


In creating stories for others, we sometimes end up revealing truths to ourselves. Such was the experience of the beloved Charles Dickens, master storyteller and honorary champion of Christmas. But Dickens was not always the purveyor of yuletide wisdom we know today—he too had to discover for himself the true spirit of Christmas and how best to keep it all the year through.

It was 1843, and winter was fast approaching. Times were tough for Charles Dickens and his family. He needed to publish something that would earn enough money to meet his many obligations. Pondering his predicament, Dickens set out to write a quick Christmas story that would be sure to sell. Little did he know that his writing—and the genial ghost he would bring to life—would take him on an incredible journey of the heart.

This beautifully illustrated volume tells the story behind the writing of Dickens's most famous work and reveals how he discovered the spirit of Christmas for himself—with a little help from his own literary characters. Originally presented by acclaimed British actor John Rhys-Davies at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's 2013 Christmas concert, the book also includes a DVD with footage from the event.


JOHN RHYS-DAVIES is a celebrated Welsh actor and voice actor. Film audiences best know him for his roles as the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the charismatic Arab excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films. His television credits include Shogun and War and Remembrance. Raised in England, Africa, and Wales, he credits his early exposure to classical literature for his decision to pursue acting and writing.

BRANDON DORMAN is the illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Wizard. He graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho, where he studied fine art and illustration. He and his wife, Emily, have three children and live in Washington, where he enjoys working as a freelance illustrator. His work has appeared in children’s books and on numerous covers, including Pingo, The Candy Shop War, and the Fablehaven series.


This beautiful book shares what the impetus was that lead Charles Dickens to write A Christmas Carol.  While part of the book is imaginary (Dickens goes on a trip with the Ghost of Christmas Present), the ideas behind it are not.  The book explores how Dickens ideas and beliefs about Christmas changed as he wrote his famous story.  Being in financial difficulty he had money very much on the brain that year, but writing about Scrooge's obsession with money helped transform his own beliefs about what is most important just as it did Scrooge's.  Dorman's illustrations are beautiful and showcase the story perfectly.  The part of the story I found most interesting is the part where the author imagined Dickens going on a trip with his ghost character and having his eyes opened to the fact that people can enjoy Christmas without all the trappings and trimmings.  This story was told as a part of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's annual Christmas concert and so a DVD of the performance of the story with John Rhys-Davies and the Choir and Orchestra is included.

EXCERPTS from Deseret Book




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