It’s Halloween and we’re reading ghost stories in my house. And HEEREE’S the best one of ALL:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
I found this lovely illustrated copy on Amazon (and another series called “Christmas Carol” that was less suitable for children – I’ll save that for another post.)
When I bought it, I thought it would be a nice holiday read. Then I read it and I couldn’t wait to share it with the kids. (It’s condensed – short enough for bedtime.)
“This is an old ghost story, and it’s really good. It’s by Charles Dickens,” I said.
“It can’t be that good,” my daughter said, “it doesn’t have a Caldecott Medal.”
“This story’s older than the Caldecott Medal. It’s probably older than Caldecott.”
(Love when I’m right: published in 1843, 3 years before Randolph Caldecott was born!)
“These ghosts aren’t scary ghosts, though,” said my son. “Christmas ghosts aren’t as scary as Halloween ghosts.”
So, I had to sell them. We read the story. I got to the part about the sound of rattling chains in the cellar.
They were scared.
I got to the part about the dead man’s bed curtains being sold in the rag-shop. (Did you forget that part? I had, too.)
They were wigged out by Tiny Tim’s empty chair.
I got to the part about Christmas morning…
They loved it. “Okay, that was really good,” she agreed.
I asked them which part they liked best:
My daughter liked that Scrooge’s nephew made a toast to him, wherever he was, and hoped he had a merry Christmas.
My son liked the chains rattling in the cellar. And the Ghost of Christmas Past (she’s not scary – she’s drawn like a babe.)
So, there you have it. Why would I read them a Christmas book on Halloween?
Because it’s a damn good story.
Have a happy Halloween!