A Christmas Corral, written and illustrated by Lucas T. Antoniak (CreateSpace/Amazon Digital Services, 2016).
This picture book, based on A Christmas Carol, casts Scrooge as a surly sheep who's the bane of the barnyard. (His first name now is, of course, Ebaaanezer.) Antoniak takes quite a few liberties with the story, as you would expect, but his humorous narrative and delightful illustrations capture the spirit of the classic. My favorite part: the drawing of Tiny Tim, who sports an enormous wool Afro. Lots of fun for younger readers.
A couple of stage productions overseas have been getting some attention. Mike Poulton's adaptation, directed by James Dacre, is running in Northampton right now before embarking on a national tour; What's On Stage gives it a good review here. (By the way, those who enjoy reading plays as much as I do can buy a copy of that adaptation here!) Meanwhile, a very different version called A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood, by Jonathan Holloway, ran at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last month. Though I don't like the sound of some of the changes they made to the story, it does sound like it would have been interesting, at least!
If you'd like to hang a Dickensian last line on your wall, Etsy shop Luminous Particular can oblige you! They have a Great Expectations one (from the revised ending, not the original one) and twodifferent versions with the last line from A Tale of Two Cities. They also do custom requests.
On the anniversary of Dickens's death on Thursday, The Atlantic examined two very differing accounts of his character, and suggested that we reconcile his dark and light sides by studying him through the prism of A Tale of Two Cities:
"Yet in fictionalizing his story, Dickens placed himself into his characters—his initials, his demons, his childhood sweetheart in Lucie—just as Carton steps into Darnay’s body. Carton’s famous last words could have been spoken by Dickens himself: 'It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.'"
I wasn't kidding about there being a lot of musicals based on A Tale of Two Cities!The cast album for 1969's Two Cities, which had a brief run in London, will be re-released June 24. It had lyrics and music by the father-and-son team of Jerry and Jeff Wayne, and starred Edward Woodward, Kevin Colson, Elizabeth Power, and Nicolette Roeg. The new release will include demos of songs that were cut from the production. Go here for more information, and go here to pre-order.