Subscribe to SLJ
Touch and Go
Inside Touch and Go

Review: ‘A Victorian Christmas’ for the iPad

In addition to some beautifully reproduced antiquarian texts, readers will be able to see examples of some of the finest Victorian book illustration in this 19th-century library.

Cover art from 'The Coming of Father Christmas' by E. F. Manning in 'Victorian Christmas' The British Library / Bibliolabs

Title: Victorian Christmas
Author: British Library  
Developed by:
BiblioLabs LLC and The British Library 
iOS, requires 4.0 or later

Gr 6 Up-Bring a touch of the traditional to your Christmas with this collection of classic Victorian titles from the British Library’s 19th Century Historical Collection. Beautifully rendered in high resolution, this iPad app presents more than 75 illustrated titles, including works from Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Navigation is straightforward. When the app opens, readers are offered a menu of collections—“Christmas Past,” “Drama,” “Music,” “Novels,” “Poetry,” and “Short Stories.” Highlights include Lizzie Lawson’s picture book, Old Father Christmas, which contains a delightful collection of poems for children; A. O’D Bartholeyns’s The Legend of the Xmas Rose, the story of the nativity told in verse; and Edmund Hamilton Sears’s It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, an illustrated version of the traditional Christmas carol.

Once a title is selected from the menu or from the list of collection highlights, readers can navigate through the book either by swiping the page from right to left or by pulling the bar along the bottom of the screen. This app offers a window onto Christmas past and will be appreciated by bibliophiles young and old.—Leanne Bowler, University of Pittsburgh, PA