A Christmas Carol, By Charles Dickens, ill by Robert Ingpen

It is very difficult to write a review of a book which simply takes your breath away, as this one does. It is so awe-inspiring as to make any attempt to comment on techniques used or the quality of the finished product feel a little amateurish. What does one say about a masterpiece?

The book in question is a new release version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, illustrated by Australia’s own Robert Ingpen. This hardcover offering feels like a classic – with a slipcover featuring a miserable Scrooge staring at the reader, and pages printed on strong parchment pages. Most illustrations are coloured, but have muted tones which make them feel as if they were rendered in Dickens’ time, and others are sepia toned. There are double page spreads and smaller illustrations, but every spread has at least one illustration.

At the front of the book, readers are given a glimpse into the history of the story, and an author’s note, as well as a back of book list of further reading and a bonus short story (also illustrated), Dickens’ A Christmas tree.

This is a real collector’s piece, but its collectability should not prevent it also being presented to children to read and to love. It would be a wonderful Christmas gift.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
Walker Books, 2008