A Child's Christmas in Wales

by Dylan Thomas

Other authorsEdward Ardizzone (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1980




Boston : D.R. Godine, 1980.


A Welsh poet recalls the celebration of Christmas in Wales and the feelings it evoked in him as a child.

User reviews

LibraryThing member cbl_tn
Even if you've never been to Wales, this book will evoke feelings of nostalgia for the happy, carefree Christmases of childhood. The illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman draw you into Dylan Thomas's childhood world. They're worth lingering over. My favorite picture is the Useful Presents. It's priceless. The story leaves me feeling a little melancholy, straining to catch “the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep.” Highly recommended.… (more)
LibraryThing member Girl_Detective
This year I managed, much to my amazement, to read the entirety of Dylan Thomas’ Child’s Christmas in Wales aloud to my 5yo and nearly 3yo sons. They didn’t sit still for all of it, but I repeatedly enticed them back with Hyman’s illustrations. Also, I could tell the 5yo was drawn to the rolling cadences of Thomas’ prose poem, which was a joy to read aloud.… (more)
LibraryThing member debnance
Here's a little sample: "...and some few small aunts, not wanted in the kitchen, nor anywhere else for that matter, sat on the very edges of their chairs, poised and brittle, afraid to break, like faded cups and saucers." Delightful. Recommended.
LibraryThing member auntieknickers
I prefer the illustrations in the original New Directions edition to the somewhat smudgy and impressionistic ones in this edition, but I must say I like the larger print for reading aloud! A modern Christmas classic no home should be without.
LibraryThing member alandavey
Beautiful, simple and charming.
LibraryThing member fieldnotes
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 well captured with details about throwing snow balls at cats and imagining hippo attacks that are particularly comic and real. Though it seems to offer itself as a book for children, it would probably not engage anyone with a child's attention span and appetite for plot. In general, I enjoy the hell out of Dylan Thomas' prose. I was pleased to stumble upon this little thing.… (more)
LibraryThing member thornton37814
An enjoyable poem focusing on memories of Christmas. The book is sparsely illustrated.
LibraryThing member tfb62
Just beautiful. Discovered this when I was at school and had to find a copy when I grew up. A magical book.
LibraryThing member seejaybe
A little gem of a book that captures the childlike wonder of Christmas, winter and home in heart-warming poetic prose .
LibraryThing member RGatti
I honestly can’t remember how old I was when I first encountered this story. From as far back as I can remember, it was a tradition in my family to watch the 90’s film version of this story every year during Christmastime. Let me first say that if you enjoy the written story, you are bound to enjoy the film as well, as there are no major differences between them. If you enjoy the film, consider adding the book to your Christmas reading list.

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is one of those stories that no matter how old you get, you will continue to enjoy it. Dylan Thomas poetically weaves a story based upon his own childhood Christmas experiences in Wales. Not only does the reader obtain a glimpse into the poet’s life, but also the nearly forgotten reality of early 1900s life with its gas lamps and early motor cars. What makes the story so enchanting is that it also permits us to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. What is memorable? Why, snowballs, candy, flaming pudding, games and mischief making, of course!

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” is a great stocking stuffer for anyone who loves Christmas stories or books in general. It’s a squeaky clean story, but due to the sometimes complex wording (it’s written in lyric prose), I would recommend it for readers ages 8 and up.

I received the paperback version a few years ago from my mother and I still read it every year before Christmas.
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LibraryThing member aulsmith
This is the edition edited by Edward Andizzone. I grew up hearing this read by Dylan Thomas on a phonograph record, so I'm not fond of illustrated editions. This one is water colors.
LibraryThing member Bagpuss
Short and sweet - perfect for getting one in the Christmas mood (not that I need much help!).
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
When one of my book groups chose this title for our December meeting, our hostess got her hands on a recording of Dylan Thomas himself reading this tale. We sat enraptured as little children and listened to the whole thing.
LibraryThing member sdunford
A small, wonderful, lyrical story - " All Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea" Hard to think that this amazingly talented man drank himself to death, leaving so much unwritten.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
"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 the rim of the ice-edged, fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find."

So begins A Child's Christmas in Wales, in which acclaimed twentieth-century poet Dylan Thomas reminisces about his childhood Christmas experiences. With an impressionistic, string-of-consciousness format, in which memories rush in, one upon the other, crowding together in chaotic ways, and yet somehow combining unexpectedly into a moving whole, this is a lovely little holiday book. One gets a sense of the wealth of family and tradition that surrounded Thomas in his youth, and of the wider community around him in his childhood hometown of Swansea. There is a wonderful sense of humor here, especially in some of the descriptions of the aunts and uncles who come to visit, and a poignant sense of a world and a time - the world and time of childhood - now lost.

Apparently based upon some recordings that Dylan Thomas did for the BBC, A Child's Christmas in Wales is one of those holiday classics I have been meaning to read for years. I'm glad that I finally did, as I greatly enjoyed the experience, both of reading the author's poetic prose, and of perusing the lovely artwork done by Trina Schart Hyman for the edition that I read. Hyman is one of my favorite fairy-tale artists, but whatever the subject matter, her illustrations always do her source material justice. Recommended to Dylan Thomas fans, if they have not already picked it up, as well as to anyone looking for nostalgic reexaminations of childhood, as seen through a Christmas lens.… (more)
LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
Taken from a 1952 radio broadcast and read by the poet himself, A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas is lyrical picture drawn from his memories of the various Christmases of his youth. This broadcast also includes the poet reading some of his other works including his most celebrated poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ which I found to be very moving.

The first thing that struck me was the quality of his voice, being both rich and deep. This magnificent voice was enhanced by his timing and imagery. His whimsical and random memories included stories of youthful mischief and tales of his abundance of aunts and uncles who tended to over-indulge in Christmas spirits.

This was a short trip to a nostalgic, innocent past told in an expressive and lilting style.
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LibraryThing member 2wonderY
Humm. Published in 1954, a year after the author's death...No wonder it feels nostalgic but not distant. I haven't read anything else by Thomas, but this feels like a private musing of memories. Not great literature, but pleasant. It's the paintings by Trina Schart Hyman that make the book for me. Her illustrations are copyright 1985, and it is classic perfection. Her characters, her interiors, the dogs and cats are just so real and detailed beautifully.… (more)
LibraryThing member fuzzi
This is a short book, with much imagery in the writing, regarding what Christmas was like when the author was a small boy. If you like poetry, this is prose you will probably enjoy.

I liked much of what was written, but it's not something I'll reread.


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