Cet extraordinaire récit fait litière de tous les contes de Noël passés et à venir: évocation lyrique, un pas dans la nostalgie, un autre dans le fantastique, d'un Pays de Galles enneigé, peuplé de loups et de chats, imprégné d'un climat de folie douce... sous la platitude affectée du récit on entend, comme une basse continue, les inflexions rauques et sauvages de Dylan. C'est beau, c'est simple, c'est en-deçà de ce qu'on appelle l'histoire, dans une temporalité tragique inoubliable. Un landmark, quoi.
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
41 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Eloquent, poetic words; gorgeous pictures, but...7 décembre 2004
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This is as nice an edition of Dylan Thomas' "A Child's Christmas in Wales" as it is possible to imagine. It is beautifully laid out, in a wide children's picture-book format, with colorful and evocative paintings by illustrator Christopher Raschka.
If you've never encountered Dylan Thomas' vision of his childhood Christmas in Wales before, you're in for a real treat. Boys chase each other through the snow; uncles repair to the drawing room lighting pipes; aunts offer Useless Presents such as mufflers long enough to swing from, and my favorite - the Prothero family's house starts to go on fire, which the gaggle of boys attempts to extinguish with snowballs.
It's clear that a poet wrote this; every word counts not just in the mental images it provokes but also in its glorious SOUND - please try reading it out loud; it is positively musical.
But - I confess the current edition seems mismarketed to me. It's not really a children's book, although older children, at least, may enjoy having it read to them. The picture-book format (and the above product info's insistence that the reading level is "4 to 8 years") might make you, the reader, think of it as a good Christmas present for the pre-school set. But the language is dense and unfamiliar to little ones (the uncles smokes 'briars' not pipes), and the text is longer than a little kid will sit still for (my 5-year-old for example).
I read it to my very attentive 10-year-old as well, and even he had trouble grasping all Thomas' delicious and metaphorical language.
So buy it; read it out loud to yourself in front of an evening fireplace, and Merry Christmas to you all.
30 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A Simple Treasure; A Singular Triumph7 janvier 2003
M. Allen Greenbaum
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Dylan Thomas' imagery and prose invoke the secular feelings of Christmas like no other book. His floating word-pictures are both vague and precise, inviting the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks. Thomas creates the sensations of memory--blurred, idiosyncratic, and suffused with impression: "There were church bells, too" "Inside them?" "No, no, no, in the bat-black, snow-white belfries, tugged by bishops and storks. And they rang their tidings over the bandaged town, over the frozen foam of the powder and ice-cream hills, over the crackling sea." Fortunately, the dreamlike imagery never weighs down the book. Instead, Thomas wishes only to convey the warmth, humor, and imagination of his childhood Christmases in Wales. Although this is great modernist literature, it is completely unpretentious and can be enjoyed by all ages. The book seems longer than it is, perhaps because Thomas' depictions linger warmly after one reads about the Christmas fire, the smoking Uncles and drinking aunts, the presents ("...and a celluloid duck that made, when you pressed it, a most unducklike sound, a mewing moo that an ambitious cat might make who wished to be a cow"), the dinner, the caroling at the large strange house where "the wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men in caves," the music, and the soft bedtime. These episodes are generally no longer than a page each, but they graft onto our own memories--or would-be memories--of what Christmas could or should be like. In sum, it's a pleasure for the both the intellect and the senses, an unsentimental yet warm treat for both young and older audiences. It's one of the truest--and therefore most satisfying--Christmas books you'll ever read.
25 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
More than a Christmas story.22 octobre 1997
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Scaring sleeping uncles by popping balloons. Getting a hatchet by mistake. Snowballing cats. Dylan Thomas has captured the perfect Christmas. Without any moral, very little plot, and a concern only for the child's perspective, this little piece sticks in my mind better than any other Christmas story I've ever read. Between drunk Auntie Hannah singing in the backyard and the haunted house down the streets where a group of mischievous carollers get the living hell scared out of them, "A Child's Christmas in Wales" is everything Christmas should be: funny, happy, poignant, a little sad, and fattening. Keep a bowl of candy nearby when you read it.
17 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
short but terrific memoir18 décembre 2000
Orrin C. Judd
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The poetry background of Dylan Thomas gives these reminiscences a certain lyrical quality: 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 farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed. But here a small boy says: "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." "But that was not the same snow," I say. "Our snow was not only shaken from white wash buckets down the sky, it came shawling out of the ground and swam and drifted out of the arms and hands and bodies of the trees; snow grew overnight on the roofs of the houses like a pure and grandfather moss, minutely -ivied the walls and settled on the postman, opening the gate, like a dumb, numb thunder-storm of white, torn Christmas cards." And they are wonderfully evocative of his Welsh youth. But for me they also evoked another memory, of a trip that Bud Rouse and I made up to Saratoga. We visited friends of his who worked at the track and had a horse of their own (Double Russian was the name, if memory serves). We had fun at the races, hanging on the far side with all the Hispanic groomsmen and walkers and cussing out prima donna jockeys. And after dinner and a few frosties that night, our host took down a collection of Dylan Thomas poems and we took turns reading them aloud. It was precisely the kind of affected scene that you'd expect in a Manhattan novel or like something out of a gutter version of Jane Austen, but I'll be damned if we didn't have fun. The best, most treasured, books and writers of our lives become entwined in our existence in just such odd and unique ways. Then any time we encounter them again, they trigger a cascade of memories. For no reason that will ever matter to anyone else, Dylan Thomas is such a writer for me. But I think everyone will enjoy this short but terrific memoir. GRADE: A
21 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
It does not go gentle into that good night.25 septembre 2005
E. R. Bird
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Like so many other children's books, Amazon.com takes a perverse pleasure in lumping together all version's of Dylan Thomas's, "A Child's Christmas In Wales". So if a reviewer, like myself, wants to review the book that was illustrated in 2004 by Chris Raschka, I'd better make it as clear as possible right from the start. So here it goes. Ahem. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it gives me the greatest of pleasure to announce that I will now be reviewing "A Child's Christmas In Wales", penned by the great Dylan Thomas and illustrated with grace, aplomb, and a hint of frenzy by accomplished children's book illustrator Chris Raschka. Thank you.
If you, like myself, have gone most of your natural life in ignorance of this story, I'll try to summarize it here. Problem is, summarizing "A Child's Christmas In Wales" is akin to herding cats. This isn't one of those books with a neat little beginning, middle, and end. There's not what you might call "a plot". If the book is ever summarized anywhere it's simply stated that this is Thomas's reminisces of Christmas when he was a child. In doing so, the poet fills this relatively short work with patches of memory, amazing descriptions, and evocative sentences like, "The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves". If you're looking for a straightforward Christmas tale with characters, a plot, and a point, go get yourself a copy of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and enjoy it. If, on the other hand, you would like to begin a tradition in your family of reading aloud this magnificent and truly beautiful collection of evocative images, this the only place to go.
There is no tradition in my family of listening or reading this story during the holiday time of year. In fact, prior to reading this book with Raschka's illustrations, I had never even heard so much as a phrase from it. Basically I came to this book as a clean slate. I was just a former college English major with some mild associations with Dylan but certainly no baggage of any kind. Not knowing the history behind the book, I was under the vague and misguided belief that Dylan had written this tale with the full intent that it be a children's book. Not so much. According to the helpful Foreward at the beginning of this tale, I learned that this book was actually a combination of two separate pieces produced during Thomas's lifetime and put together after. So this isn't like when Michael Chabon or Joyce Carol Oates writes a children's book. More like when Woody Guthrie songs are turned into picture books. A posthumous and lucrative printing.
For the child that has never heard this story read before, I found that Raschka was a perfect fit. Certainly I understand that the book has, in the past, been illustrated by the great Trina Schart Hyman. Hyman, however, is a very literal illustrator. She's excellent at realism and intricate characters, but how well does that work when she's paired with Mr. Thomas? This is a book that contains lines like, "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 the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find". Hyman doesn't even bother to deal with sentences like that one. Raschka is another matter entirely. Using a gouache, ink, and torn paper technique, the man who brought the world the manic, "John Coltrane's Giant Steps" has finally met his authorial match. The sentence I just wrote above is accompanied by a snowblown seaside town, so filled with cresting waves and freezing snow that you shiver just looking at it. These are pictures that work on the reader's emotions. I have all the respect in the world for Hyman or even Edward Ardizzone, but as accomplished as they are, they're not the right fit. Raschka is.
I was a little baffled by the blurb on the cover of this version of the tale that read, "This beautifully illustrated edition should bring Dylan Thomas's work to a new generation of children" - President Jimmy Carter. I'm a Carter fan myself, but even I can't see what this perfectly nice former president has to do with poetry, children's literature, or even Christmas itself. It might have been better to put a blurb by the Number 1 poet in America. Problem is, who is that person? And would anyone buy a book if they recommended it? These problems aside, it's wonderful for me to hold this book in my hands and know that at long last a great problem has been corrected. Thomas's book has existed for years without proper packaging. Raschka single-handedly has corrected this problem and the world is a better place for it. So thank you, Mr. Raschka. Thank you.