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Silent Night: A Christmas Carol Is Born
     

Silent Night: A Christmas Carol Is Born

by Maureen Hooper, Kasi Kubiak (Illustrator)
 

One of the world's most inspiring Christmas carols had its humble beginnings in a small village near Salzburg, Austria. Just before Christmas at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, organist Franz Gruber prepared to practice. But, instead of beautiful music, out came a terrible wheeze. Dampness had damaged the organ bellows. A Christmas Eve service with no organ music

Overview

One of the world's most inspiring Christmas carols had its humble beginnings in a small village near Salzburg, Austria. Just before Christmas at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, organist Franz Gruber prepared to practice. But, instead of beautiful music, out came a terrible wheeze. Dampness had damaged the organ bellows. A Christmas Eve service with no organ music was unimaginable. On that Austrian eve in 1818, Father Joseph Mohr was preparing for the Christmas mass. As his thoughts filled with the first Christmas, he remembered a simple poem he'd written years ago. Father Mohr shared his poem with Gruber. Would the words be suited for a song accompanied by guitar? Maureen Brett Hooper provides a charming account of how the universally loved carol "Silent Night, Holy Night" was born, while Kasi Kubiak's soft oil paintings capture the magic of that holy night long ago.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite its soaring subject matter, this version of the story behind one of the season's most memorable songs fails to distinguish itself in the genre. After discovering that the organ is broken, an Austrian church organist and priest collaborate on a guitar-accompanied carol for Christmas Eve, moving the congregation with its quiet beauty. The facts are affecting and Hooper's (The Christmas Drum) telling is able enough, but Kubiak's (The Nativity) oil paintings are oddly static. Ages 6-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-The night before Christmas Eve in Oberndorf, Austria, 1818, organist Franz Gruber discovered that the church's organ was broken. Later that night, the young village priest, Father Joseph Mohr, brought him a poem and asked him to write a melody in time for the Christmas Eve service. So was born one of the world's most popular carols, "Silent Night." Hooper offers a simple, satisfying, and slightly fictionalized telling of the story. The gentle tone of the narrative and the warm, realistic oil paintings reflect the mood of the carol itself. Lyrics, music score, and one page of author's notes on how the carol's origin was researched are included. Both Margaret Hodges's Silent Night: The Song and It's Story (Eerdmans, 1997) and Linda Granfield's Silent Night: The Song from Heaven (Tundra, 1997) offer a more detailed history of the song's popularity, its historical significance in several wars, and what happened to the composers. Of the three, Hooper's title is the best read-aloud and gives a more interesting depiction of the origins of the carol.-M. W. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The tale of "Silent Night"-composed in haste by a 19th-century Austrian priest and his organist when their church's organ broke down just before Christmas and first sung with only a guitar for accompaniment-is robbed of any sense of wonder by this flat, uninspired retelling. From beginning (" ‘Tomorrow night we will have a wonderful Christmas Eve service,' he thought"), to end ("Mrs. Gruber and the children clasped their hands with delight") the text is stiff as a board, paired with art that is all correctly drawn but generic, conventionally posed figures with bland expressions. Worse, while this is based on the truth, invented dialogue runs rampant throughout the presentation. Neither pictures nor words capture any sense of the carol's soaring beauty or heartfelt emotion. A distant also-ran behind Margaret Hodges's Silent Night: The Song and Its Story (1997), illustrated by Tim Ladwig. (historical note) (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781563977824
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
6 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Maureen Brett Hooper is the author of The Christmas Drum, The Violin Man, and Fun to Play Recorder Book, all published by Boyds Mills Press. She was a faculty member of the UCLA music department for more than twenty-five years and now resides in both Thousand Oaks and Mammoth Lakes, California.

Kasi Kubiak is the illustrator of The Nativity: Mary Remembers, by Laurie Knowlton. Ms. Kubiak is a portrait and mural artist who enjoys traveling the world for inspiration and research. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Houston, Texas.

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