The Legend of the Poinsettia

( 6 )

Overview

In this legend from Mexico, a little girl, Lucinda, is proud to help her mother weave a new blanket for the Baby Jesus to be used in a Christmas procession. But when Lucinda’s mother takes ill, Lucinda tangles the yarn and is unable to complete the blanket. Felling she has ruined Christmas, Lucinda is reluctant to go to the procession until a mysterious old woman appears from the shadows and tells Lucinda, "Any gift is beautiful because it is given. What ever you bring the Baby Jesus will love because it comes ...
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Overview

In this legend from Mexico, a little girl, Lucinda, is proud to help her mother weave a new blanket for the Baby Jesus to be used in a Christmas procession. But when Lucinda’s mother takes ill, Lucinda tangles the yarn and is unable to complete the blanket. Felling she has ruined Christmas, Lucinda is reluctant to go to the procession until a mysterious old woman appears from the shadows and tells Lucinda, "Any gift is beautiful because it is given. What ever you bring the Baby Jesus will love because it comes from you." Nervously, Lucinda grabs an arm full of weeds, which she brings into the church. As she prays, the weeds open into dazzling red flowers that decorate the alter.

When Lucida is unable to finish her gift for the Baby Jesus in time for the Christmas procession, a miracle enables her to offer the beautiful flower we now call the poinsettia.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the tradition of his The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, dePaola offers another gracious retelling of a timeless folktale. His skillfully pared-down narrative and paintings that glow with strong colors present the story of a well-intentioned Mexican child, Lucida. Distressed because she has no other gift to offer Baby Jesus, she carries into the church an armful of weeds, each of which suddenly becomes ``tipped with a flaming red star''-marking the miraculous blooming of the first poinsettias. Released simultaneously in English-and Spanish-language editions. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
Tomie dePaola masterfully retells the Mexican legend of how the poinsettia came to be. When Lucida's mother becomes ill and is unable to finish weaving a blanket for the town's nativity, Lucida tries to finish it herself. After she ruins the blanket beyond repair and is ashamed to enter the church empty-handed, Lucida hides from the town's festive Christmas Eve procession. While she is hiding, a mysterious old woman comes out of the shadows and encourages her to join her family in church and offer whatever she can give to Baby Jesus. After gathering an armful of weeds, Lucinda enters the church and places them in the manger, where they transform into the bright red star of the poinsettia. On their way home after midnight mass, the villagers find the countryside filled with these beautiful red stars.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698115675
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 105,569
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola

Best known for his award-winning picture book Strega Nona and for the 26 Fairmount Avenue series of chapter books, Tomie dePaola is one of the most prolific — and beloved — author/illustrators in the field of children's literature.

Biography

Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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    Customer Reviews

    Average Rating 3.5
    ( 6 )
    Rating Distribution

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    Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
    • Posted December 27, 2009

      Child/adult friendly; Delightful retelling; Awesome teaching resource

      As always, Tomie dePaola provides beautiful, sweet illustrations and wonderful vocabulary (including some Spanish) to retell this holiday legend. This is a great teaching tool for the symbol of the poinsettia; and lends to great art and writing projects at school. I also used this book tucked in a sprig of poinsettias as a beautiful and well received centerpiece for tables at a teachers meeting.

      2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    • Anonymous

      Posted December 11, 2013

      One star because of device issue

      I am really annoyed that I purchased this on my ipad and the format is not supported in the app. A complete waste of money!

      Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
    • Anonymous

      Posted December 13, 2008

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      Posted December 11, 2012

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      Posted December 5, 2013

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      Posted November 30, 2009

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