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A Christmas Carol

Last updated Monday, December 3, 2007

Author: Charles Dickens and Jane Resnick
Illustrator: Christian Birmingham
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 0762408480
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2007

Synopsis: From Turnerlearning.com: Ebenezer Scrooge has lost his only friend, his business partner Jacob Marley. Seven years have passed since Marley's Christmas death, and Scrooge has not changed a bit. He still refuses to give to the poor, suggesting that for them perhaps the only place better than prison is the grave. He still only grudgingly gives his employee Christmas day off, and he still refuses his nephew's offer of Christmas dinner. He dismisses the whole holiday as a "Humbug." But, on this particular Christmas, his dreary home will be visited by ghosts. First, Marley will arrive and, despite Scrooge's refusals, he promises that further spirits will arrive. Christmas Past will bring Scrooge on a tour of his unpleasant childhood, his fall from grace with his father, and the loss of a fiance; but he will show the good times too, when, as the employee of Fezziweg, Scrooge learned what a joyous holiday Christmas could be. Christmas Present will show him the celebrations going on without him: the sentimental family celebration of the Cratchits and the more rollicking party thrown by his nephew Fred. But Christmas Present will also warn Scrooge that without more money, the Cratchit family will lose its youngest and most fragile member, Tiny Tim. The Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come will show Scrooge the world after Scrooge's death: His old business cronies will care not for his demise, his maid will steal the very blankets from his deathbed, and Tiny Tim will in fact pass from this world. Scrooge awakens the next morning to find himself gloriously transformed. Not only can he once again laugh, but he will purchase dinner for the Cratchits, sing in church, and finally visit Fred. We are told that from this day forward Scrooge will become well known for his devotion to the Christmas holiday.

Note to readers:
•  We recommend you start reading at Chapter 3 so you can get through the rest of the book in time. Here is a summary you can read to the kids to catch them up on the first two chapters: Scrooge is a cold, secret, lonely old man. He is at work when we first see him, at a business which he owned with his friend Marley. However, Marley died exactly seven years ago on Christmas Eve night. Scrooge is visited by his nephew at work on this cold, dark, foggy day. His nephew invites him to Christmas dinner the next day. Scrooge refuses to go, saying, "Bah humbug!" After he and his clerk close the store, Scrooge goes home. He is getting ready to go to sleep when all the bells in his house start ringing and Marley's ghost appears before him. Marley tells Scrooge that he will be haunted by three ghosts tonight. Scrooge falls asleep but soon wakes up. The first ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Past appears and takes Scrooge to four different Christmas memories in his past: 1-when he was left alone at school; 2-when his sister tries to get him to come home for Christmas; 3-Scrooge as an apprentice, celebrating Christmas with his boss and all the employees; 4-Scrooge and a woman who leaves him. Seeing all these past memories makes Scrooge very sad and makes him wish he could help other people around him. Scrooge goes back to his bedroom at home and falls back to sleep.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know the story?
•  What is a scrooge?
•  Who is on the front cover?
•  Have you heard of Charles Dickens?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you believe in ghosts?
•  Where/ when is the story taking place?
•  Do all ghosts look alike?
•  What do you think a ghost looks like?
•  How do you tell when someone is sad? How does it make you feel?
•  How do you help someone feel better?
•  What would you see if the Ghost of Christmas Future visited you?
•  Why does no one like Scrooge? Do you think Scrooge will change?

Craft ideas:
•  Make ornaments

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!