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The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Gift of the Magi (2008)

by O. Henry

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3802028,382 (4.17)36



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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
I've loved this story long before I knew anything about skilled writing, long before I knew all the words in it. ?I still love it this time, and am even more impressed by how it's told. ?áI'll have to reread more O. Henry soon. ?áMeanwhile, I requested this book because I wanted to see how Lynch illustrated it. ?áAnd he did so beautifully. ?áThe only quibble I have is that the apartment is nicer than the author surely meant to say. ?áThey're clearly poor, but not so much as the text claims they are.

Highly recommended, even if you read only the text, perhaps on Project Gutenberg. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This book is a wonderful example of contemporary realistic fiction because of the realistic events that could take place. The people and the situation are relatable. I like this book because of the beautiful story it presents, one I think older kids could grasp.
  rwild13 | Mar 3, 2016 |
Determined to buy her Jim a Christmas present "worthy of being owned" by him, Della confronts a hard reality: the $1.87 that she has managed to save up, by ruthlessly economizing on her weekly budget, won't even come close to being enough for a suitable gift. Reduced to tears, Della's despairing thoughts turn to her one resource: her long, beautiful hair. Acting on impulse, Della sells her knee-length tresses, and uses the money to buy a platinum chain for Jim's treasured gold pocket watch, handed down to him from his father and grandfather. Hers is not the only sacrifice, however, as she discovers when Jim comes home with her gift - beautiful tortoiseshell combs for her hair, paid for through the sale of Jim's pocket watch...

Originally published in 1905, in the newspaper The New York Sunday World, and then in 1906 in a collection of O. Henry stories, The Gift of the Magi is a lovely holiday tale, one which emphasizes the importance of love and of self-sacrifice - the true gifts of the magi - at Christmastime. As the author maintains, Della and Jim may have been "foolish children," but they were wise fools. Although it's been a number of years since I first read it, the story of this poor New York couple, and their mutual sacrifice of their most prized treasures for the sake of the other, is one I continue to enjoy at the holidays. I was therefore quite happy to come across this beautiful picture-book presentation of it, with gorgeous artwork done by the Irish illustrator P.J. Lynch. His paintings capture Della and Jim's tale to perfection and are a pleasure to peruse! Although not written for children, The Gift of the Magi is a story I would not hesitate to give to young readers. Clearly others feel the same, given the number of illustrated children's editions that have been produced over the last few years. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Dec 26, 2015 |
I've often heard adaptations of this story but the original is quite good. ( )
  davidtaylorjr | Aug 12, 2015 |
As part of our homeschooling, I used to have my son read a classic Christmas-related work every year. He was fine when we read A Christmas Carol together several years in a row, because I'm sorry but that never gets old. He liked the Sherlock Holmes story "The Blue Carbuncle." And he giggled at the various parodies I found of "The Night Before Christmas."

However, he started making mutinous noises after he read this story the year before last. And he almost literally threw the book at me after I made him read Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory."

"Why do all Christmas stories have to be DEPRESSING???" he yelled through his tears.

We switched to Christmas movies this year. He's doing all right with that.

This lovely story is just as depressing as ever, as I learned on rereading it over a breakfast of oatmeal and tears. Don't read it if you don't feel like crying.

But do get a giggle if you can out of the elaborate stories I had to come up with to cheer my son up, especially the one about how Della and Jim knock over a 7-11 and buy Jim's watch back with the cash from the register and then celebrate over a Christmas dinner of stolen beef jerky. ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)

Della and Jim were a really poor couple who wanted to buy a gift for each other in Christmas, but she only had a dollar and eghty seven cents. Della didnt want to let down Jim, so she pick out to sell her beautifull hair at a store, in order to buy a chain for Jims watch. By the other side, Jim find out that he could sell his valuable watch and buy combs for Dellas hair. The ironic part of the story is that each character gets rid of their possesions to buy their peer a present, without knowing that their gifts would be useless. But the important thing is the love that they had to each other.
added by jairo.gonzalez | editjairo.gonzalez (Feb 18, 2014)
This story talks about Della and Jim, Della was a beautiful girl with a very long beautiful hair and Jim asked her when they were 17. It was the day before Christmas and because they were so poor none of them had a gift to give. Jim had an old watch that belonged to his grandfather and had a big meaning to him but he sold it to buy Della’s Christmas gift, which was a pretty thing for her hair. Same did Della, she liked a lot her hair but she sold it to buy a chain for Jim’s watch. They didn’t want to let down each other and the story shows us that they really care for each other’s happiness. The ironic event is that the reader already knows what is happening but the characters, Della and Jim don’t , so we feel up to telling them what to do or what to don’t but we actually can’t.
added by juanita.gomez | editbook

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
O. Henryprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lynch, P.J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zwerger, LisbethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Evie
with special thanks to Ciara Cullen and Ken Hughes
P. J. L.
First words
One dollar and eighty-seven cents.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Do not combine with other editions of O. Henry’s The Gift of the Magi that were not illustrated by P. J. Lynch. A picture book is very different from other literary works. With a novel, short story collection, etc., a different publication may mean only a new cover or introduction; the work of the author is of primary importance. With a picture book, the interpretation of the illustrator is equal to, and sometimes even of greater importance than, the work of the writer. Awards such as the Caldecott Medal, the Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration, and the Kate Greenaway Medal recognize and celebrate this distinction.
In this instance, to lump together P. J. Lynch, Sonja Danowski, Carol Heyer, Lisbeth Zwerger, et al. not only devalues the work of the individual artists, it also completely misses the point of the different publications.
Publisher's editors
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Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
On Christmas Eve, a poor couple sells their most precious possessions to buy gifts for one another - only to discover that the greatest gift they have for each other is their sacrificial love.

The Gift of the Magi: Special Church Edition features a new version of this classic Christmas story - not only including O. Henry's original tale, but also providing Christian insights by Stephen Skelton.

Celebrate the Christ of Christmas with The Gift of the Magi: Special Church Edition—and discover how one of our most touching Christmas stories is also a profound Christian parable.

Plus, four discussion sections relate how we are supposed to give to God and to others based on how the wise men gave to the Christ child - with sacrifice, with thought, with joy, and in person (if possible). 

This booklet may be reproduced for everyone in your group.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763635308, Hardcover)

O. Henry's classic tale of the wisest gifts of Christmas, brought to life by P.J. Lynch's extraordinary art, is itself a gift to share and treasure.

In a shabby New York flat, Della sobs as she counts the few coins she has saved to buy a Christmas present for her husband, Jim. A gift worthy of her devotion will require a great sacrifice: selling her long, beautiful hair. Jim, meanwhile, has made a sacrifice for Della that is no less difficult. As they exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, the discovery of what each has done fills them with despair, until they realize that the true gifts of Christmas can be found more readily in their humble apartment than in any fine store. O. Henry paints a masterly portrait of unfaltering love, a haven from the harsh world outside. The poignancy of his story is captured in P.J. Lynch's eloquent art, wherein every glance, every gesture, tells a subtle truth.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:05 -0400)

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A husband and wife sacrifice treasured possessions in order to buy each other Christmas presents.

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Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

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