Friday, December 6, 2013

PPBF: The Gift of the Magi


Now that the Christmas season, it's time to focus on books that will bring us joy. This is one of my absolute favorite stories, period. But it so happens that it has a Christmas theme!




Author: O. Henry
Illustrator: Carol Heyer
Publisher: Ideals Children's Books 
Date: 1994

Genre: Christmas-fiction
Ages: 7-77+
Themes: Christmas, gifts, unselfishness

From the Inside Flap: O. Henry, the master of the short story,  captures the essence of giving in this classic Christmas tale. Readers are introduced to Jim and Della Dillingham, a young couple struggling with poverty who sacrifice for each other their most valuable possessions. With his distinctive twist of irony, O. Henry created a story that illustrates the timeless lesson of the Magi - that the most precious of gifts come from the unselfish heart. 
     This classic story is beautifully retold and features richly detailed illustrations by award-winning artist Carol Heyer. The Gift of the Magi is a book children and their parents will treasure.

First page: "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bullying the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until her cheeks burned with embarrassment. Della counted it three times. Only one dollar and eighty-seven cents-- and the next day would be Christmas.

Why I like this book: I've been fascinated for years by O. Henry's stories, but this one is so touching that I never tire of reading it. And because of that, I believe all children should be exposed to such a poignant tale, especially when it's theme is unselfishness.  At Christmas time, we could do with more examples of this trait, couldn't we?

Here are a few links for teachers, librarians and parents:




  • Purchase The Gift of the Magi Here.

  • Other gorgeous titles by the talented Carol Heyer HERE

  • Carol Heyer's Illustrator Webpage can be found HERE

  • More great stories by O. Henry HERE

  • A completely comprehensive page with all links relating to The Gift of the Magi HERE


Do you have a favorite Christmas tale?



Hope you enjoyed today's offering for Perfect Picture Book Fridays, when we review picture books which we deem worthy of mention.  This concept was created by Susanna Hill, and is a helpful resource for librarians, teachers and parents.  For a list of all books reviewed so far, along with activities to complement them, click here.


20 comments:

  1. You're absolutely right... I haven't thought about this amazing story in a long time, but it's perfect for reading to my kids. I am so fortunate they still let me read to them! Thank you!

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  2. One of my favorite stories to hear as a child!

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    1. Good to know, Julie. You have good taste!!

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  3. This sounds like a perfect picture book for Christmas and I love your selection for today. Thanks for introducing this book to us. I am going to check it out. :)

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  4. I embarassed that I have never read this story. It sounds like a beautiful story about the unselfish heart. I have to read this one. It sounds timeless!

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    1. Timeless is a perfect description of this story, Patricia. Hope you can find it!

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  5. This is a fine tale. And Ms Heyer's illustrations are quite lovely. Learning to give from the heart is a big lesson for young folks. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, I especially love her illustrations!

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  6. I love to see old classics still in print! Happy Holidays, Jarm.

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  7. I have to say, I have never read this.... must do! Thanks Jarm.

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  8. Sounds like my kids need to hear this story. I think I've heard it before. I've been wanting to teach them how to not be selfish and to be more giving. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It's a touching story, Tina, as well as a classic, so I'm sure they will like it!

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  9. Thank-you for your recommendation. There are many great versions, and I am glad to be introduced to a new one. One of Carol's other books, The Weaving of a Dream, was one of the first picture books I purchased as an adult!

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    1. I'll need to look that one up, Joanne. Thanks!

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  10. I love this story and look forward to seeing the illustrations.

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I would love to have you comment...thanks!

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Journey into the Promised Land
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