Good King Wenceslas  -     By: John Neale
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Good King Wenceslas

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2005 / Hardcover

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Product Description

This story, based on actual events that occurred in the tenth century, tells of a kind-hearted king and his page who set out to help a poor man on a cold winter's night and experience a miracle along the way. Tim Ladwig's energetic paintings bring new life to the familiar words and remind readers of all ages that helping others is a blessing. Recommended for ages 5 and up.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 32
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2005
Dimensions: 10 X 10 (inches)
ISBN: 0802852092
ISBN-13: 9780802852090
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.
Ages: 5-8

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Publisher's Description

Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the Feast of Stephen,
when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even.

Brightly shone the moon that night,
though the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight,
gathering winter fuel.
This story, based on actual events that occurred in the tenth century, tells of a kind-hearted king and his page who set out to help a poor man on a cold winter's night and experience a miracle along the way. Tim Ladwig's energetic paintings bring new life to the familiar words and remind readers of all ages that helping others is a blessing.

Editorial Reviews

AWARDS and RECOGNITIONS
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year AwardsFinalist, Children's Picture Book (2006)
Bank Street CollegeBest Children's Books of the Year (2006)

The Horn Book Guide
"The visual presentation of this traditional Christmas carol will awaken new readers to its story. . . . The contrast in the mixed-media art between the barren winter landscapes and the hearth-warmed kitchens of cottage and castle is lovely."
 
Booklist
"Ladwig's oversize double-page spreads are engaging and expressive. . . . A holiday treat."
 
School Library Journal
"The well-known carol about a 10th-century Bohemian king is brought to life through Ladwig's vibrant, realistic paintings. . . [A] lovely book suitable for reading aloud."
 
New York Times Book Review
"The carol's lyrics, pleasingly antiquated and rousingly celebratory about the act of giving, offer a challenge to the consumer frenzy that beckons every boy and girl, naughty or nice, each December."

Product Reviews

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Beautifully Illustrated
    November 21, 2011
    Kristina
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    In 1853, an Angelican priest named John M. Neale wrote the lyrics to the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas," which tells the story of a real 10th century Christian Behmian king, well known for his generosity. In the book Good King Wenceslas, illustrator Tim Ladwig brings this carol to life, showing the king watching a poor man gathering sticks for his fire one bone-chilling, snowy evening. The king instructs his young page to gather food and wine for the man, then the two walk into the snowy night to deliver it. The page isn't sure he can make it through the deep drifts, so the king instructs him to walk behind him, in his footsteps. Finally, they deliver the food and drink to the poor man, and the carol reminds us:

    "Therefore, Christians all, be sure,

    wealth or rank possessing,

    ye who now will bless the poor,

    shall yourselves find blessing."

    The book uses all the verses of the song; except for a short introduction (which explains who the king was), there is no additional text. The last page of the book features simple piano sheet music and all the lyrics to the carol.

    What I Like: Tim Ladwig's illustrations are gorgeous, featuring the shadows and lights cast by candles and fireplaces, and the glow of the moon on snowy scenes. He does a superb job of bringing this traditional carol to life. The cover of the book does the inner illustrations no justice at all.

    I also must admit I didn't know the carol before reading this book. No matter. I hopped onto YouTube to listen to it, and immediately enjoyed it. I also let my children listen to the carol before we read the book. (You could also look at the book while the carol is playing, but there are a number of pages in the book that are wordless. These add a great deal to the story, showing the page gathering food, and showing the poor man's reaction to the gift of the food - but make it difficult to listen to the carol and look at the book at the same time.)

    What I Dislike: Some of the lyrics are slightly modified from the original version, presumably to make the carol easier for young children to understand.

    Overall Rating: Excellent.

    Kristina Seleshanko, Christian Children's Book Review
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