Day 10 of our Christmas countdown is ending after a long Sunday. The Christmas preparation is starting to wear on me a bit and I’m taking a deep breath, hoping to make it through this coming last week of school before the holiday break. Somehow, this book always seems to find me when I’m too tired for the holiday. I wrote a long post about this story last year with illustrations by Chris Raschka. I just reread my post and have considered simply reposting it here as appropriate. Ha! I think I did an excellent job discussing the story in that post, so here I will talk about this version’s illustrations. It is my new favorite version of this book due completely to the illustrations. So come get lost in the art of A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas (1954) , illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, 1985.
This book can very roughly be summarized as a beautiful recollection of Thomas’ childhood Christmases. It is a beloved story, originally published in two separate pieces. There have been lots of illustrated versions, but this is now my reigning favorite.
I adore Trina Schart Hyman’s work. I have never encountered an illustration from her that didn’t make me just stop, hold my breath, and stare at it for several moments trying to take in every detail. Her art is absolute perfection to pair with Thomas’ Christmas memories.
It pains me that every other page of this version is black and white, a financial decision for publication; but it only takes away a small part of my delight over her detailed illustrations. I get lost in these illustrations, swooning over the hills of Wales; longing to spend time in the charming rooms of the little homes.
I love rereading these memories, laughing, gasping, and reminiscing alongside Dylan Thomas; but Trina Schart Hyman’s art has given me a whole other world to traverse. I have yet to visit Wales, a place I do long to go; and I am incredibly grateful to view her version of it from a bygone era. It is achingly beautiful to imagine.
The more I read this book, the more I desire to seek out more illustrated versions. It is the same reason that I look for new versions of familiar stories – I always find something new when someone else approaches a story with illustrations. It is the same story and yet every person picks up something different to focus on. I hope you have enjoyed this version as well.