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Wenceslas: The Eternal Christmas Story by…

Wenceslas: The Eternal Christmas Story

by Geraldine McCaughrean

Other authors: Christian Birmingham (Illustrator)

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The legend of King Wenceslas is retold in this lovely Christmas picture-book, with the lyrics to the traditional carol included at the rear. In this expanded version of the story, the page who accompanies the Bohemian king on his trek through a blizzard, in order to deliver some Christmas cheer to a peasant woodcutter, is named Peter. Although clearly not enthusiastic about the task at hand, Peter is determined not to let his master down. When it seem he cannot go a step further through the snow and cold, Wenceslas encourages him to step where he himself has stepped. And so Peter "followed in his master's footsteps…"

A clear metaphor for the Christian's relationship to God, the relationship between Peter and Wenceslas is given depth and emotional power in McCaughrean's retelling of the story. Although not historically accurate - there was a St. Wenceslas, involved in the conversion of Bohemia to Christianity, but the story contained in the carol was invented by John Mason Neale in 1853, when he penned the words to Good King Wenceslas - this still makes for an admiral and moving Christmas tale, one which emphasizes the importance of compassion and generosity, and of following in Christ's footsteps. I found the story moving, and appreciated the wintry landscapes captured in Christian Birmingham's artwork. The illustrations sometimes has a blurred, indistinct quality to them - they were almost impressionistic at times - but somehow that felt appropriate, as if we the readers were watching everything unfold through falling snow. Recommended to anyone looking for good Christmas picture-books and/or carol retellings. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Dec 26, 2015 |
This story was very interesting and it is nice to have a personification of the classic song. It has the words for the song in the back and has inspired me to learn the music.
  christoa | Dec 5, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geraldine McCaughreanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birmingham, ChristianIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0552549096, Paperback)

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about,
Deep and crisp and even . . .

The age-old carol of Good King Wenceslas and his page—who set out on a bitter winter night to deliver the spirit of Christmas—is retold in this lavishly illustrated storybook. The majestic images in rich, soft oil pastels are a perfect complement to this much-loved tale.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:03 -0400)

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An enthralling retelling of the age-old carol of Good King Wenceslas and his page, who set out on a bitter winter night to deliver the spirit of Christmas.

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