Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, December 10, 2010


I have always loved this short story, by O. Henry, about a young newlywed couple who are so poor that they can't afford to buy each other Christmas presents.  The wife, Della, cuts off her treasured hair to buy her husband, Jim, a watch fob; but he sells his heirloom watch to buy her beautiful combs for her hair. Below are the delicate illustrations Lisbeth Zwerger lends to the tale... 
So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her, rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters.  It reached below her knee and made almost a garment for her.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it." Down rippled the brown cascade.

...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. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the Magi.

"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." - O. Henry, from THE GIFT OF THE MAGI

Unabridged, with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger.
The Gift of the Magi

Unabridged, with illustrations by P.J. Lynch (see below).
The Gift of the Magi

From Library Journal:  "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." (P.J. Lynch also illustrated The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.)


  1. Hi Wendy,
    This is the version of this story we have and love it! Such beautiful illustrations.
    And please feel free to use pictures of my fairies with a link ...they are frequently photographed with children's books because I'm a huge fan...And so I'm delighted to find your site as well!

  2. Thank you. Your blog and fairies are adorable! :)