Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Christmas Carol - Brett Helquist

Brett Helquist creates wonderful details in his illustrations for Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The opening scene of Ebenezer Scrooge standing next to Jacob Marley's grave against an aqua sky sets the tone for the story.  We read in capital letters "MARLEY IS DEAD." and see Scrooge perhaps pondering his own mortality.  An interesting exercise for students would be to picture walk through the book and focus only on Scrooge's face as you flip through the pages. Helquist's illustrations help you understand the large themes that Dickens addresses in A Christmas Carol. We see Ebenezer's forlorn face as he witnesses a past Christmas party with the love (other than money) of his life.

There are so many lessons that you can teach with this book.  Character analysis with Ebenezer Scrooge and sequence with the visits of the three ghosts are just some of the possibilities. It's a great way to present A Christmas Carol to students in grades 4 and up.  I think the big themes might be lost on younger audiences.

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