With the meaning and significance of Christmas changing year after year only one thing remains constant: the stories we tell, the tales we weave into the holiday celebration, the messages that remind us how very fortunate we are. However, even with various economic crises and a tighter margin to spend than ever before, the gifts keep on piling up for fortunate children all over the world at Christmas time. It is becoming increasingly difficult to remind some children that somewhere right across the planet is another child who is not as fortunate as them, and does not wake up on Christmas morning to piles of presents under an exquisitely decorated tree. The traditional tales our society has shared for generations to remind us to think of others at this festive time of year have slowly disintegrated into nothing.
But that is all about to change. The man who brought about the thoughtful, engaging and highly entertaining Shakespeare for Kids series for children has now produced a brand new book, entitled 'A Christmas Carol for Kids' to bring Charles Dickens' seasonal thought provoking and enchanting tale to life, in a format kids find friendly to both read and act out loud. The message Dickens put across in his story about the belligerent Ebenezer Scrooge more than a century ago has been brought to life again in a fresh new format guaranteed to put smiles on faces this Christmas.
The book begins with helpful character descriptions that guide the young reader or actor through the main people who crop up throughout the play, with a suggestion on how their character should be played. There is a clear sense of who are the good guys, and simultaneously, which are the characters to look out for. The text itself is presented in an easy to read, fun, accessible format that delights. It is clear from the first page that this kids version of a classic still expresses the main themes of the original story, whilst keeping with its fundamental simplicity that is so important for Kelso. The most enchanting thing about this version of A Christmas Carol is that original parts of the text are used, and they are highlighted to emphasise the fact that this is surely a part of the experience kids must delight in! This mixture of Dickens' words and contemporary language means that the story still keeps its pivotally vital message, all whilst appealing to children and encouraging them to try out the words for themselves. Surely, the most important part of introducing children to literature is to tell a message, right? This context allows them to work with the language, discover the meaning and find out for themselves in a way the story can relate back to them.
Kelso's 'A Christmas Carol for Kids' gives children a very important gift; more important than anything they would receive this Christmas. This play familiarizes children and introduces them to a world of first-class literature at their fingertips, and still provides them with an important message, even though it's not in it's original format. This year, let's try and keep the most important message of Christmas alive for children, and not let the timeless stories and moral tales about this special time of year die out.