Sunday, December 4, 2022

Tiny Tim from Dickens' A Christmas Carol

Tiny Tim, one of the most well known characters from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, is a little boy, the son of Ebenezer Scrooge's clerk, Bob Cratchit.
He has an illness that has weakened his legs, and made it impossible for him to walk unassisted, requiring the little boy to use a small crutch wherever he goes on his own. He is a sweet boy who proclaims, "God bless us, everyone!", perhaps the most well known line from the book. As readers of the book know, Tiny Tim, who has either rickets, or likely renal tubular acidosis, though the disease is never named in the story, would otherwise die but for the change of heart Mr. Scrooge undergoes, giving Bob a better salary and therefore enough money to have Tiny Tim treated. The little boy's character is vital to the story in that without him, Scrooge's change would seem to be done only to save himself, and the terrible fate awaiting his soul after death. Because of Tim being there, we witness Scrooge's growing compassion for others, and his need to change to help others as well as himself. Because of this, despite the fact that Tim Cratchit is a fairly minor character, his presence is vital for the message of the story to come across, and for Scrooge to be seen as a truly changed man who has learned to be selfless and giving.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, upon which so many movies have been based, is a thought provoking and uplifting story about redemption. Ebenezer Scrooge is a selfish, miserly gentleman of middle years who goes about life looking out for himself and no one else.
We first meet Mr. Scrooge on a Christmas Eve in the early Victorian Era in his counting house. It has been 7 years since his business partner, Jacob Marley, a man much like himself in thoughts and feelings, died. Mr. Scrooge is impatient with his clerk, Bob Cratchit, dismissive to his nephew Fred, and rude to two gentlemen who stop in seeking donations for a charity that helps the poor. After work, he goes home, and is startled when the knocker on the front of his door seems to take on Jacob Marley's face for a moment. But then the moment passes, and he goes inside. What happens after is well known to fans of A Christmas Carol. Jacob Marley's ghost visits him, and tells him that if he doesn't change his ways he will end up miserable and in chains for the rest of eternity, just like Mr. Marley. To help convince Scrooge, Marley sends three other ghosts, the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future Christmas to remind Scrooge of what is really important in his life. One of the important characters is Tiny Tim, whose presence helps readers see that Mr. Scrooge's change is not done just because of concern for his own welfare, but for the welfare and benefit of others. It is a great story that I highly recommend to adults and to children. The book was first published in 1843.

A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart- Movie Review

A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart, directed by David Jones, and produced in 1999 is one of my most favorite versions of Charles Dickens' classic tale by the same name.
Patrick Stewart plays Ebenezer Scrooge exceptionally well, and the other actors do equally fantastic in their rolls, from Fred, Mr. Scrooge's nephew, played by Dominic West, to Mrs. Cratchit, Bob Cratchit's clever and supportive wife, played by Saskia Reeves. The story follows Mr. Scrooge's journey through his past, present, and potential future, guided all the way by the ghosts sent to him through Jacob Marley's intervention in Mr. Marley's attempt to keep his friend from ending up chained with an eternity of regret for not changing his selfish ways while he had the chance. There was only one thing I didn't like about the movie, and that was that we never see Mr. Scrooge apologize to the two gentlemen he was rude to, the night before. But the rest of the movie I thoroughly enjoyed. And I highly recommend it to adults as well as children.

Mickey's Christmas Carol- Movie Review

Mickey's Christmas Carol, produced by Disney in 1983 and directed by Burney Mattinson is a fun version of the classic tale.
Scrooge McDuck plays the cantankerous Ebenezer Scrooge while Mickey Mouse plays the likable and long suffering Bob Cratchit. Various well known Disney characters step in to play the roles of the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future, as well as other characters. Children especially will like the movie. It is produced with children in mind with well known Disney characters, fun colors and scenes, and vocabulary at their level. But adults will enjoy it as well, especially the uplifting message of the story.

The Muppets' Christmas Carol- Movie Review

The Muppets' Christmas Carol, directed by Brian Henson and produced in 1992 is a thoroughly delightful movie that children and adults will enjoy.
The movie follows Ebenezer Scrooge's journey through the night of Christmas Eve as he meets first with Jacob Marley, then the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. The colors, sets, and costumes are lovely, and the actors do a splendid job. I highly recommend this movie for fans of A Christmas Carol. Both adults and children who love the story will love this version of it, as well!

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol- Movie Review

Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, directed by Abe Levitow and produced in 1962, follows the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge from the book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Mr. Scrooge is warned by his deceased partner, Jacob Marley to change his ways or end up like Marley has, a tormented spirit, chained up with regrets that he did not help others during his lifetime. In this version, the order of the spirits that come to Scrooge are out of order which bothered me a little, but not enough to enjoy the story. Children and adults who enjoy Christmas stories, including A Christmas Carol, will enjoy this movie.

It's a Wonderful Life-Movie Review

It's a Wonderful Life, directed by Frank Capra, and produced in 1946, is one of my favorite Christmas movies. It stars Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.
Jimmy Stewart's character, George Bailey, is at a crisis in his life, and is thinking about dying by suicide. As the audience, and George's guardian angel Clarence, follow him through his life, we learn that he is an extraordinary man, unselfish and giving since he was a little boy. Even his thoughts about suicide are based only on how other people will benefit. Will Clarence be able to convince him that his life is worth living? Will all the people he's helped from childhood step forward to help him? Watch this extraordinary movie to find out!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Suess is a delightful children's book that I have enjoyed since I was a child. I also enjoy the animated version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, produced in 1966 and directed by Chuck Jones.
The Grinch is a sour hearted soul who does not the Whos because of their cheerfulness and merriment, especially at Christmas. He thinks all their happiness originates from their things, so he thinks he can get them to be glum by stealing all their material possessions! Will it work? The ending of the story is a lovely lesson for both children and adults, and I highly recommend the book and the 1966 animated movie for both children and adults! I liked another animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, produced in 2018 and directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney. I recommend both movies I mentioned, and the book, to children and adults! The book was first published in 1957.

Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

I was very delighted to find Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl in my local library. I had not heard of it before. It is as delightful as Roald Dahl's other works of which I am very happily familiar.
Danny, a little boy, is being raised by his widowed father. His mother died when he was a baby, and Danny does not remember her. One night, his is surprised to discover that his dad is an expert poacher of pheasants. Pheasants who are raised on the property of Mr. Victor Hazel, a very disagreeable rich person whose property is extensive and who likes to host a pheasant shoot every year to impress his wealthy and titled associates. Danny is further surprised to discover that almost everyone in the village is in on the poaching. Even the vicar and his wife! No one likes Mr. Hazel, after all because Mr. Hazel is so mean and disagreeable to everyone. As Danny's father points out, pheasants are actually wild birds, and if they leave your property, they are no more your pheasants than a fish who swims along a river that runs through your property. And this gets Danny to thinking. What could he do to get all the pheasants off Mr. Hazel's property? Will he find a way? Read the book and find out!

Slumberland-Movie Review

Slumberland, available on Netflix, is a movie for kids, but I think many adults would enjoy it as well.
It was directed by Francis Laurence and produced in 2022. Slumberland follows the story of a little girl, Nemo, who loses her beloved dad in a boating tragedy. She goes to live with her uncle in the city, and her uncle, Phillip, is as different from his brother as she can imagine. To Nemo's surprise, her first night in her new home she dreams of going back to the lighthouse where she lived with her dad. But instead of seeing her dad in her dream, she meets a strange character named Flip. It turns out, Flip is not just a creation of her mind, but a sentient being who exists in Slumberland and was a friend of her dad. He did once have an identity in the waking world, but was somehow disconnected from his conscious self and has not connected with his waking self in years. Nemo and Flip decide to go on an adventure together through Slumberland to find some magic pearls that will help Nemo see her dad in her dreams. But they are hounded the entire way by a shadowy nightmare squid. And as Flip tells Nemo, while you can't die in your own dreams, you can when you travel through someone else's, as they have to do to get to the sea of nightmares where the pearls are. After this, Nemo does everything she can to find opportunities to fall asleep and continue her adventure to find the pearls. But when this lands her in trouble with her school and her uncle, what is Nemo to do? And how can she and her uncle find ways to connect and be a family? Watch the movie and find out! Slumberland is rated PG.

A Life on our Planet- Movie Review

A Life on our Planet, hosted by David Attenborough and availabe on Netflix, is an inspiring nature documentary that highlights the diversity of our planet as well as its vulnerabilities. David Attenborough skillfully conveys the urgency of being responsible citizens of the planet, and how irresponsiblity on the part of humans could change our planet for the worse. While the warnings are clear, the movie itself is bright and hopeful. Adults and children who love nature and conservation will enjoy this educational and enlightening movie. A Life on our Planet with David Attenborough was first produced in 2020. It is rated PG.

Amazing Grace- Movie Review

The movie Amazing Grace, produced in 2006 and directed by Michael Apted, is an inspiring story based on the true life efforts of William Wilberforce.
William Wilberforce was an MP who lived in the late 1700s and early 1800s who devoted his life to abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire. The movie follows his efforts, and those of the people encouraging him, including his wife Barbara Spooner, and friends like William Pitt. If you enjoy will made movies, an inspiring storyline, and skillful acting, I am confident that you will enjoy Amazing Grace. Amazing Grace is rated PG.

Enola Holmes 2- Movie Review

Enola Holmes 2, which is available on, and is directed by Harry Bradbeer, continues the adventures of young Enola Holmes, a brave and enthusiastic detective living in London in the late 1800s.
While her older brother Sherlock Holmes gets more attention in the newspapers, she is just as smart and inventive. This time, she's trying to find the missing sister of a young match girl. But she quickly finds the case is more complicated than she first expected. The match factory where the girls work has a high number of young women getting sick and dying from what the owners clame is typhus. And leading her brother Sherlock from one clue to another through the city of London, is a mysterious and sinister figure known as Moriarty. Will Enola and Sherlock find all the clues to their cases before it's too late? Watch the movie and find out! Enola Holmes 2 was first produced in 2022. Enola Holmes is rated PG-13, and may be inappropriate for young children.