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The Gift of the Magi
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About the Author

William Sydney Porter--later to be known as O. Henry--was born in North Carolina in 1862. Known for his surprise endings and ability to capture the hope and pathos of ordinary people, Henry is best remembered for his stories about New York City. The Gift of the Magi was written in 1906, four years before his death. Lisbeth Zwerger was born in Vienna, where she later studied at the Academy of Art. Internationally renowned as one of the finest contemporary illustrators of children's literature, Zwerger chose The Gift of the Magi as the first American story she illustrated.

Reviews

Gr 5 Up-An illustrated, unabridged version of the classic short story in which a young husband and wife each, unbeknownst to the other, gives up a most treasured possession to buy the other a wonderful gift. The gifts, of course, are useless as a result, but the couple's love is presumably all the stronger. The sepia-toned watercolors have an authentic period look; the details present in the New York City street scenes and the couple's rather shabby apartment add a strong feeling of time and place to the story. Very different in style from Lisbeth Zwerger's lovely and delicate version (S & S, 2006), this is a fine choice for libraries needing another illustrated edition of this Christmas tale.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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. (Sept.)

"[B]eautifully wrought illustrations, delicate, uncluttered, and splendidly composed."

-- New York Times Book Review
..".as sentimental as Christmas."

-- Publishers Weekly
"Lisbeth Zwerger's biting line and soft, evocative palette illuminate the characters with an aura of gaslit nobility, and burnish an antique until it shines."

-- Time

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