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The Christmas Rose

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Carlee Hallman
Two little children, Fritz and Gretl, are on a quest for a Christmas Rose, the scent of which will cure their sick father. In preparation, Saint Nikolaus gives them a key and other gifts. On the long, long journey they are helped by many animals. A friendly giant carries them in his pocket to the fortress of the Winter King. There they receive a rosebud which must be blessed by the Christ Child, who is an angel. They are driven to the wall of heaven in a sleigh drawn by two wolves, but they can find no gate. Fritz finally finds a gate but cannot open it. He is ready to give up when Gretl reminds him of the key. They walk into heaven and see little angels making Christmas gifts. They meet Saint Nikolaus there and see the Christ Child who blesses the rosebud. The flower blooms, releasing its scent. Saint Nikolaus, with a carriage of toys, brings the children home and all is well. Stylized illustrations from the 1920s add to the fairytale atmosphere. This charming story with its ups and downs for the loving, determined children and their helpers has more of a Christmas Spirit than the fulfillment of greed of the Santa Claus tale. The story is told in parts for the days from Advent to Saint Nikolaus's Day, December 6 to Christmas Eve. Reviewer: Carlee Hallman
Kirkus Reviews
This old-fashioned Christmas story was first published in Germany in 1920, with a plot that uses regional holiday traditions such as St. Nicholas (St. Nikolaus in this version) and a present-delivering angel (rather confusingly called the Christ Child). The lengthy story is divided chronologically, with a page of text and an illustration for each day from December 6 to December 24. The main characters are Fritz and Gretl, a brother and sister on a quest to help their sick father. The children journey to the frozen North to acquire a magical white rose from the Winter King that will restore his good health. They are aided on their quest by various wild animals, angels and St. Nikolaus himself. Wenz-Vietor's illustrations, set off with wide, deep-blue borders, have the linear style and heavy outlines characteristic of children's illustrations in the '20s, which may look outdated to today's children but charmingly retro to adults. An introductory note sets the story within German Christmas traditions, and a concluding note details the publishing history. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580892322
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2008
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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