Silent Night: The Song From Heaven

Overview

As amazing as it seems, one of the world’s best-loved Christmas carols may have been written because of ravenous mice! Right before Christmas, 1818, in a church in the small town of Oberndorf, Austria, the mice were so hungry they chewed a hole in the church organ’s leather bellows. To provide his parishioners with music on the holiest of nights, the priest jotted down the words for a Christmas song, and he asked the church organist to write a melody for two solo voices and a guitar. That evening “Stille Nacht,” ...
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Overview

As amazing as it seems, one of the world’s best-loved Christmas carols may have been written because of ravenous mice! Right before Christmas, 1818, in a church in the small town of Oberndorf, Austria, the mice were so hungry they chewed a hole in the church organ’s leather bellows. To provide his parishioners with music on the holiest of nights, the priest jotted down the words for a Christmas song, and he asked the church organist to write a melody for two solo voices and a guitar. That evening “Stille Nacht,” known as “The Song from Heaven,” was born.

Silent Night: The Song from Heaven presents the story of the carol, accompanied by beautiful and intricate gold scherenschnitte (cut paper art) illustrations. Today, “Silent Night,” the gentle anthem born of necessity, is sung around the world in nearly one hundred languages – thanks to a few hungry mice!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It should be appreciated for its outstanding art and for its focus on this well-known carol.”
School Library Journal
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This book attempts several things and perhaps that is its basic problem. The text tells a story about the Christmas preparations in 1818 in Oberndorf, Austria. The same story of the preparations and the Nativity is told through the cut paper illustrations (schrenschnitt) on the facing pages. However, it is not until you get what appears to be an endnote that you learn about the origins of Silent Night, and another note tells about the songs impact on a group of soldiers during World War I. The final note provides information about schrenschnitt. The illustrations are in gold on a black background, which reveals the delicacy and intricacies of the artwork. The parts are interesting, the cut paper illustrations are beautiful, but it just doesn't hang together to make a cohesive whole. Too bad, because the author's previous book, Amazing Grace: The Story of the Hymn, was excellent.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4A book that starts as a quietly written, nicely patterned story of two children who help to unpack and set up the wax figures of the manger scene in the Church of St. Nicola in Oberndorf, Austria, in 1818. The present-tense narrative lends immediacy to the scene, and the addition of the children's commentary adds to the book's appeal: "ODid the lambs keep the Baby warm on that night long ago?' whispered Hans. ODid their bleating chase sleep away from the Little One?'" Between each of these moments and interspersed throughout the story are elaborate "Scherenschnitt," or silhouettes, in gold and black. Once the crche is complete, Father Mohr arrives, making passing mention that the organ is broken. The rest of the book is devoted to the life of the composer and the history of the song, which was composed and first performed on that fateful day in 1818. A one-page explanation of the silhouettes is appended. Despite the abrupt transition, both parts of the book are well-done; it should be appreciated for its outstanding art and for its focus on this well-known carol. An additional purchase for most libraries.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887763953
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Granfield’s books successfully combine her love for true stories with a storyteller’s imagination. Her most recent books for Tundra include Silent Night: The Song from Heaven, and Amazing Grace: The Story of the Hymn. Meticulously researched and full of fascinating facts, Granfield’s stories bring history to life.
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