Huron Carol

Overview


Renowned children’s book illustrator Ian Wallace brings his masterful ability to paint landscape and his cultural sensitivity to “The Huron Carol,” a beautiful and unusual song with a rich history.

In the early 1600s Father Jean de Brébeuf came to Canada from his native France as a Jesuit missionary. He settled among the Huron, or Ouendat, people in what is now Midland, Ontario. Despite his missionary zeal, Brébeuf was sensitive to the people with whom he lived. He learned ...

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Overview


Renowned children’s book illustrator Ian Wallace brings his masterful ability to paint landscape and his cultural sensitivity to “The Huron Carol,” a beautiful and unusual song with a rich history.

In the early 1600s Father Jean de Brébeuf came to Canada from his native France as a Jesuit missionary. He settled among the Huron, or Ouendat, people in what is now Midland, Ontario. Despite his missionary zeal, Brébeuf was sensitive to the people with whom he lived. He learned their language and he wrote, in Huron, the original version of this famous Christmas carol. He and his fellow priests, called Black Robes, and many of their Huron parishioners were killed in an Iroquois raid in 1649.

But Brébeuf’s carol continued to be sung by successive generations of Hurons. Then in 1926, Toronto writer Jesse Edgar Middleton, inspired by Brébeuf, wrote his own version of the carol in English. His are the familiar words we sing today, describing the Huron landscape, flora and fauna in telling the Christmas story.

Ian Wallace’s luminous illustrations, set against the dramatic backdrop of Georgian Bay, make this a stunning Christmas gift book. Multilingual versions of the text, the music and a full description of how this carol has come down to us today are included.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A favorite Canadian Christmas carol honors the native peoples of North America and how they came to celebrate Jesus' birth, beginning in the 1600s. Wallace's (Boy of the Deeps) graceful watercolor naturescapes depict the infant king wrapped in a "ragged robe of rabbit skin" and born of Huron parents visited by "chiefs from far" bearing gifts of "fox and beaver pelt." Though some Christians may balk at the details here, the reverence for the significance of this joyous holiday shines through. This thoughtful volume closes with a historic note about the Hurons, the original tune (composed by a Jesuit missionary) and a verse in English, French and Huron. Ages 4-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
This Christmas carol was originally written in 1641 in the Huron language by a French Jesuit missionary. Passed down through the years, it was freely translated into English in 1926 by Middleton, a Canadian. This English version, a French version, and the original Huron version appear with the music at the back. The words "Gitchi Manitou" and "sons of Manitou," in the English translation draw us into the Huron culture. The haunting scenes of wildlife and Huron lifestyle are portrayed by one of Canada's well known author-illustrators. The holy family is shown with saucer-like halos for the line of the carol: "The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair as was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there." The art is framed by stretching poles with the text beneath on a tan back-ground. The carol with its fascinating illustrations will be of interest to children and may tie in with their study of native peoples.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This carol was originally written in Huron and French around 1640 by a Jesuit missionary, and sung to the melody of a traditional French carol. The English-language version, written in 1926 by Jesse Middleton, sets the traditional Nativity story in a Huron lodge. Although the earth-toned watercolor illustrations are pleasant, depicting Canadian wildlife, spiritual scenes, and the Huron people, this book will probably only have regional appeal. The music and verses in English, French, and Huron are appended, as is a history of the song.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Legend has it that a Jesuit missionary, Father Jean de Brebeuf, created this Christmas carol in 1641 for the Huron Indians with whom he was working. Sung by the Huron (Ouendat) and handed down through generations, the tale was translated into French and then finally into English, in 1926 by Middleton. Some of Wallace's double-page watercolor paintings are exceptional-glorious blues, warm browns and touches of gold and red. Especially illuminating is the double-page spread showing the gifts (fox and beaver pelts) being presented. Colors change quickly, though, with more gold and red than warmth-changing the feel for the carol itself. Whatever the intent, the intensely red and blue hair is almost hideous rather than radiant. Readers may prefer Frances Tyrrell's version (Eerdmans, 2003) that strays from nature and has more of a liturgical feel-with illustrations that show authentic clothing and setting. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780888997111
  • Publisher: Groundwood Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Ian Wallace has had a long and distinguished career as an author and illustrator of picture books, publishing many classics such as Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance, Boy of the Deeps, The Name of the Tree, Canadian Railroad Trilogy and Just So Stories (forthcoming from Groundwood). He has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture Book Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. He has also been nominated for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Ian currently lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife, Deb.
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