Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas by John M. Neale, illustrated by Tim Ladwig

Using the lyrics of the song, "Good King Wenceslas", this book tells the story of the tenth century king. King Wenceslas sees from his window a poor man gathering fire wood on a feast day and asks a page if he knows the man. The page tells the king the poor man is a good man who lives near the forest. The king orders food, wine, and fuel to be gathered and thent he king and page trek through the snow to give the man and his family a Christmas gift.

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs and I have to admit to not really knowing the words before I read this story. I like at the end of the book there is a page of historical facts about the real King Wenceslas so you can get so of the facts about his life and where the song originates. There is also sheet music with all four verses of the song if you are musically inclined and would like to give singing it a try. I like the sentiment of this story of just giving to others who have less than you do. I think this is a great read aloud, it is short but beautifully illustrated and has a great message of giving.

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