Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

A Child’s Christmas in Wales begins with a mesmerizing reference to snow that seems to symbolize the illusive passage of time. The narrator describes how snow grows from the trees as well as falling from the sky, reminding the reader that the season described by the narrator is not the ordinary one experienced by most people, but a magical one brought to life by the imagination of a child.

The first episode involves the narrator and his friend Jim Prothero throwing snowballs at cats. This escapade of mock heroism is broken off by a faint cry for help from neighbor Mrs. Prothero, whose home is spewing forth smoke, and the narrator and Jim dutifully call the fire department. The firemen promptly arrive and douse the interior of the house with water, thereby ruining the nicely decorated home. Mr. Prothero, who seems not to know how to deal with the crisis, discovers that he has dropped his smoldering pipe in his chair, thereby causing the smoke. The elderly Miss Prothero adds more wry humor to the occasion when she asks the firemen if they would like something to read. The whole situation strikes the little boys as being wonderfully absurd.

The next story focuses on the postman and all the presents that are given at Christmas time. For the narrator, presents can be divided into two categories—the useless and the useful. Useless presents include such items as zebra scarfs and oversized hats, things that are intended to be useful but...

(The entire section is 494 words.)