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The Gift of the Magi

by O. Henry
32 pages, Picture Book
Reviewed by Jeanne

A beautifully illustrated adaption of O. Henry's Christmas story.

Plot

Note: Illustrated by Robert Saubers. This is an adaption of the short story by O. Henry and has some changes from the original; most significantly, the characters Della and Jim are depicted as brother and sister in this picture book, while they are husband and wife in the original.

It is Christmas Eve, and with only one dollar and eight-seven cents saved up after all her scrimping during the year, Della despairs of being able to buy a worthy present for Jim. But her love for him causes her to sacrifice the other most-dear thing to her in order to get the money she needs for his gift.

Morality

Della and Jim care for each other deeply, and the story shows their willingness to give up anything for each other. Otherwise, there are no instances wherein characters face a moral choice.

Spiritual Content

In the original short story, though not in this children’s copy, Della says that “perhaps the hairs on her head were numbered, but no one could count her love for Jim.” The Robert Sauber picture book shows one or two crystal globes with images of Della and Jim inside them. "The Gift of the Magi" refers to the gifts presented to Jesus while in the manger by the wise men, and O. Henry makes the beautiful point that those who will give in love what is most precious to them, are true "magi" - wise men.

Violence

None.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None.

Sexual Content

In the original, since Della and Jim are married, there are more embraces and terms of endearment than in the illustrated edition; however, the original is just as clean as this one.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

"The Gift of the Magi" is one of the sweetest Christmas stories one can find, and this copy is a treasure. While it takes some liberties from the short story, such as changing Della's hair to red instead of brown, the story comes away intact and complete with enchanting illustrations. It is, quite simply, a jewel in a child's library.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 8-10

Review Rating:

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