First published in 1843, this classic holiday ghost story remains a fabulous way to introduce young readers to one of the greatest authors in the English language. Kids may be familiar with the story, but they'll be surprised at its freshness when told in Dickens' own words and inimitable style.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a sour old miser who hates the holiday season more than anything. "Every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart," he says. Scrooge would be perfectly happy if you can call it that to go on through life being nasty to everyone, but this Christmas a series of spectral visitors changes his mind. The first arrival is the Ghost of Christmas Past, who reminds him that he wasn't always in a perpetual bad mood: he shows him himself as a schoolboy, for example, and later as a young man in love. Then the Ghost of Christmas Present takes him to see how Bob Cratchit, his much-abused clerk, can find joy even in poverty, and how Fred, Scrooge's nephew, who has married for love, finds it in generosity. Finally, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come provides a frightening vision of how Scrooge's life will end if he continues on his present course. Waking after witnessing these nighttime scenes, Scrooge is a changed man, and immediately sets about mending his ways.
Perfectly structured, full of dry wit and heartfelt inspiration, and providing a healthy dose of horror to entice even reluctant readers, A Christmas Carol deserves a place on every classroom shelf.