The Gift of the Magi Audio Cassette – Abridged, Nov 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
O. Henry's classic tale of Della and Jim, the struggling newlyweds so anxious to give each other a Christmas gift that each sells the one thing the other holds most dear, receives an oddly lifeless treatment here. Heyer's meticulously detailed illustrations are pretty but stilted; the characters look like mannequins. The rueful Jim fares better than poor prematurely middle-aged Della, who at times looks more like his mother than his wife. Still, the story is as touching as ever, and neither time nor mediocre artwork can dim its glory. All ages.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Gr. 5 and up. A classic story becomes a picture book for older readers in this oversize edition. Heyer's paintings reflect the turn-of-the-century setting and are nicely executed, if occasionally stiff. Because the protagonists are both adults, there will not be automatic appeal for younger children, but preteens, and especially teenagers, should find the romantic appeal that has been apparent to previous generations of readers. Ilene Cooper --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Gift of the Magi" is a little story that's worn fairly well in the lesson, if not in the language. Jim and Della Young lived on a shoestring in their New York apartment, very much in love but with no cash to spare for Christmas gifts. They had only two things of value: Della's luxuriant knee-length hair and Jim's family-heirloom pocket watch. Della (from whose POV the story is told) sold her hair to buy Jim a fob chain for his treasured watch. When he arrived at the apartment he "stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face" and then gave her the present he'd bought -- jeweled combs for her hair, now gone. When she pressed the fob chain on him eagerly, he revealed that he had sold his watch to buy her combs.
It's a simple story, but pleasing in its circularity. O. Henry calls Della and Jim "two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest." A nice little lesson -- to be willing to sacrifice your greatest treasure for the joy of giving to the one you love. How many of us are so generous, or love so much?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In a world where every holiday (especially Christmas) has been commercialized this book is a symbol of the true meaning of giving. Before you get lost in the hustle and bustle (or if you unfortunately already have) do yourself and your loved ones a favor and pick up this book. It's a great gift for children of all ages and adults too. This is a gift from the heart to give at Christmas.
Reconnect and STAY connected!
Jim and Della Young are a wretchedly poor young married couple. Della has just $1.87 to buy a Christmas gift for Jim and between them they have precious little of any value:
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the Queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out of the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
Well, you either know the rest or else I wouldn't want to ruin it for you. Suffice it to say that O. Henry leaves us with the following thought:
The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men-who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
This exquisite little story beautifully captures the spirit of the season. It's one for the whole family to enjoy as, with warmth and wit, it imparts the age old lesson about it being better to give than to receive.
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