Happy Birthday Mr. Dickens

February 7th was Charles Dickens birthday.  He would have been 200 this year!  Even Google celebrated:

Isn’t the doodle beautiful?

Here’s another of my favorite Dickens’ pieces of art:

{Dickens’s Dream by Robert William Buss, painted 1875. Donated by the artist’s grandson – 1931.”, PD-OLD-100}

I love all the characters surrounding him, with some in color.  I know it’s “unfinished”, but I think it looks kinda neat that way.  Like some characters are being developed for a story while others are waiting their turn.  A lot of Dickens’ writings were made in monthly or weekly installments and he worked with a variety of illustrators.  I love that this artist (Mr. Robert Buss) based the characters in his painting on sketches made by other artists… a homage to them.

We celebrated Mr. Dickens birthday here too.  We read from this book:

(found here:  Illustrated Stories from Dickens.  This was one of my Christmas presents this year.  :)  One story that is sadly missing is “A Christmas Carol” – although it is in the Illustrated Christmas Stories book.)

We read “David Copperfield” (because it’s the most autobiographical of his stories)

The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful.  I love the colors and scenes portrayed.

The way London is shown is so interesting too:

This is my favorite picture from the whole book.

There is something wonderful about a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves.  And a library such as that, with sunshine filtering through the window… pure bliss.

I love that while reading about Charles Dickens (the last section of the book is his biography – “The Life and Times of Charles Dickens”) I found out that he saw a beautiful house when he was young – Gad’s Hill Place.  He loved it and when he was making enough from his writings he bought the place.  There was a summer home in the garden where he would write.  Sounds lovely and underdog stories (at one point he was working by putting labels on shoe polish) are wonderful to hear.  He used his experiences and observations from his life in his stories, to give speeches and to help change the world around him.

We continued our celebration by making small notebooks:

And then began to fill them with writings/drawings/observations (because we were not blessed with near-photographic memories like Mr. Dickens.  Sometimes I wonder if our older boys are – with the things they remember from years ago.  Writing things down never hurts though, especially for me.  😉 ):

(This is a “sack boy” by Andrew.)

Other ways to continue celebrating (or learning) are given right in the book:

{Here are a few more books from the same series:  Illustrated Classics for Girls  (Have and love this one!  Black Beauty, Heidi, Little Women… what’s not to love?)  And a few new ones this year: Illustrated Stories from the Greek Myths and Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare – they’re on the top of the wish list.}

I will leave with a happy ending:

I love that in Mr. Dickens’ works “good wins out in the end and often in unexpected ways” (wikipedia).  Sometimes it takes a little while to get there, but there is learning to be had along the way.  Even a few centuries later…

Happy Birthday indeed.

 

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