A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Written by Charles Dickens
Abridged by Jesse Kornbluth
Illustrated by Paige Peterson
When Charles Dickens published “A Christmas Carol” in 1843, it was 28,000 words. Dickens knew that was too long for an audience to sit through, so when he read it for an audience --- and he performed it 127 times --- he cut it in half.
Now, just as Dickens did, Jesse Kornbluth has abridged the holiday classic. His 13,000-word text and Paige Peterson’s vibrant illustrations make this a new classic.
Movies tend to make the past look better than it was. History tells a different story about London in 1843. For the poor, life was a struggle — some children worked many hours a day, many were hungry, their homes were cold.
Scrooge saw none of that. He was a rich, stingy, mean bully. It isn’t until the ghosts show him the tragedy of his life that he experiences his first human emotion — he’s terrified.
I went to the library and studied the illustrations in every 19th-century edition of “Christmas Carol.” Then I took pen to paper and began drawing. At home, I used watercolor, acrylic and oil paints, pens, markers and crayons to give texture and depth to these rough sketches. Some of the illustrations are dark and macabre, some are raw and simple. Then the light of awareness bursts forth, and the horror story ends in joy.
— Paige Peterson
“This is a wonderful gift of Christmas for children… and their parents.”
Joan Ganz Cooney
Co-founder of Sesame Workshop
Christopher Cerf and Joan Ganz Cooney
"What a splendid idea to create an updated version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, making it more accessible and, yes, appealing to today’s children without losing the charm and brilliance of the original. Jesse Kornbluth has done just that, and his love and admiration of Dickens's holiday classic shines through on every page. And Paige Peterson’s illustrations — dark, provocative, and wonderful, and even better now that they’ve been reissued in color — are an inspiration!”
author, composer and producer
"I love this book! Refreshingly familiar but even more appealing to grownups who were once children and children who want to hear something wonderful and hopeful that makes Christmas more special every time they hear the story. Love Paige's drawings and Jesse's excellent adaptation — like new music to our ears. Every day is Christmas with this 'Christmas Carol!’"
"A wonderful concept with amazingly perceptive drawings. Congratulations on a superb classic."
Gigi and Harry Benson
"Parents -- and especially children -- will thank Kornbluth and Peterson for taking this timeless holiday classic and transforming it into something we actually want to read. Nobody wants to take their medicine at bedtime or read a book from 1843 just because people say you should. Now we have a version of "A Christmas Carol" that is a pleasure to read and fun to share with our children."
CEO, Literacy Partners and expert in family literacy
“When something old and classic becomes new again, it is a joy. Illustrator Paige Peterson and author Jesse Kornbluth have performed that miracle for “Christmas Carol” just in time for Christmas!”
"Taking something golden and turning it to gold was never a venture made in literary mines, but in the minds of Jesse Kornbluth and Paige Peterson, voila, something precious there is that comes to the needy reader this time of year. Here it is, A Christmas Carol; slightly recreated, something borrowed, something to be treasured, a classic anew. One beautiful book; brilliantly written and illustrated, sure to create book lovers out of everyone under the tree."
photographer and book reviewer in exile