A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults smoke cigars and pipes, and drink port and brandy. A boy pretends to smoke a cigarette, but it is really candy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is nothing objectionable here, and that it is a true secular holiday treasure, too little known.
Is It Any Good?
There are two great pleasures here. The first is the lyrical, musical, reverberating language. Dylan Thomas, one of the greatest of the English-language poets, writes in a prose style that highlights the pleasure of words, words, glorious words, phrases that fill the mouth and the mind, and images that, like soap bubbles, amuse, delight, then disappear as the next one arrives. Children too seldom have the opportunity to hear the power of the English language in the hands of a great master, and in a form that is meant for them, that doesn't leave them behind, but catches them up and carries them along.
The second pleasure lies in the images of holiday celebrations long ago: the details, at once alien and yet oddly familiar and recognizable; the humor and warmth of family and friends; and the vividness of the little set pieces that lodge immediately in the mind and memory. Simple, lyrical, poignant, uplifting -- this is a true holiday rarity, one that shouldn't be missed.
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