Silent Night: The Song and Its Story

Overview

It was Christmas Eve in the Austrian village of Obendorf. Throughout the village, people were anticipating the Christmas Eve service, especially the glorious Christmas music they loved. But that afternoon, a big problem developed in the little church of St. Nicholas: When Franz Gruber, the part-time organist, pumped the organ pedals, nothing but a wheeze sounded. Here is the story of how Father Mohr and Franz Gruber worked hard until the final hours of the evening to write what has become one of the world’s ...
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Overview

It was Christmas Eve in the Austrian village of Obendorf. Throughout the village, people were anticipating the Christmas Eve service, especially the glorious Christmas music they loved. But that afternoon, a big problem developed in the little church of St. Nicholas: When Franz Gruber, the part-time organist, pumped the organ pedals, nothing but a wheeze sounded. Here is the story of how Father Mohr and Franz Gruber worked hard until the final hours of the evening to write what has become one of the world’s best-loved Christmas songs and how this simple song quickly spread throughout the world.

Tells how the well-known Christmas carol, "Silent Night," first came to be written and performed in Austria in the early 1800s.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Golden browns, forest greens, and midnight blues suffuse the pictorial with a seasonal glow befitting the glory of this musical masterpiece, making the book a worthy addition to a holiday collection.
Christian Library Journal
With soft, glowing illustrations by Tim Ladwig, Silent Night beautifully creates a deep appreciation for the power of the song. A wonderful book.
New York Times Book Review
The text in this account of how Franz Gruber, the part-time organist, and Father Joseph Mohr, the young priest, happened to compose a charming carol for the parishioners in the Austrian village of Obendorf in 1818 doesn't say that mice got into the organ works; but the crucial illustration shows a small rodent scampering away from the choir. The story of an enduring success is gracefully told.
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
The history of the beloved carol is told, accompanied by evocative, full-color illustrations. One Christmas Eve in the Austrian hamlet of Oberndorf, the yearly performance of the children's choir almost didn't happen. The organ was broken, so the only accompaniment available was Father Mohr's guitar. The priest quickly penned the verses to the carol, and asked the organist to help him set it to music. From there, the song spread around the world, and the text reminds us of the strong impact it has on many who hear it. The music and words (in English) are reprinted at the back.
School Library Journal
This account of the beloved carol's history pays tribute to its creators and to the song itself. On Christmas Eve in 1818, in a small Austrian town, Father Mohr's church organ broke down. In compelling prose, Hodges recounts the young priest's struggle to write a poem that would bring the beauty of the Christ Child's humble, but sacred birth night to a congregation that expected to celebrate with music. Franz Gruber, a local schoolmaster, wrote a simple tune to accompany the words. With its creators all but forgotten, "Silent Night" eventually became an international favorite. Hodges includes stories about wartime enemies who forgot their hatred and joined together, sometimes across enemy lines, to share a few verses of the song. Full-page watercolor illustrations capture quaint mountain village scenes. Glowing shades of gold and brown accentuate faces lifted in harmony, creating feelings of warmth, wonder, and contentment. While very different in its approach and artwork from Granfield's treatment of the subject, Hodges's Silent Night is more versatile and is a better bet for library purchase.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802852274
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.04 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.16 (d)

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