The Glorious Impossible

Overview

The birth of Jesus was a Glorious Impossible. Like love, it cannot be explained, it can only be rejoiced in. And that is what master storyteller Madeleine L'Engle does in this compellingly written narrative, inspired by Giotto's glorious frescoes from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. With a simple clarity that illuminates the life of Christ, Madeleine L'Engle give eloquent voice to the miracle of God's love.

Describes the life of Jesus Christ and presents twenty-four ...

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Overview

The birth of Jesus was a Glorious Impossible. Like love, it cannot be explained, it can only be rejoiced in. And that is what master storyteller Madeleine L'Engle does in this compellingly written narrative, inspired by Giotto's glorious frescoes from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. With a simple clarity that illuminates the life of Christ, Madeleine L'Engle give eloquent voice to the miracle of God's love.

Describes the life of Jesus Christ and presents twenty-four paintings showing scenes from the life of Christ by the fourteenth-century Italian artist Giotto.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Illustrated with frescoes by Giotto from the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, this lavishly produced picture book about the life of Christ is an interesting combination of coffee-table art book and genial sermon. Expanding upon religious views introduced in earlier books by L'Engle, her impassioned narrative is followed by A. Richard Turner's elegant afterword explaining the historical significance of the paintings. Infrequently acknowledging controversy, L'Engle authoritatively decides thorny theological issues: ``Even for Jesus, the human being, his understanding of his Godness did not come all at once,'' she says, but ``there was a glimmer when he was a boy of twelve and talked with the elders in the Temple.'' L'Engle's tale is frequently layered with advice to the young: ``Sometimes it is very important to have an older friend who is not a parent,'' she says of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Like a parson interpreting Christ's story to her young flock, L'Engle focuses on those aspects of her faith that require belief in the ``Glorious Impossibles that . . . bring joy to our hearts, hope to our lives, songs to our lips.'' Ages 8-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-- Inspired Christian belief and high Christian art resonate in this beautiful volume as L'Engle retells 25 of the events of Jesus' life and ministry. Each of the Bible stories is accompanied by a full-page, full-color reproduction of one of Giotto's famed frescoes from the Scrovegni Chapel or, as it is often called, the ``Arena Chapel'' in Padua. Despite the tragic depiction of the massacre of the innocents, the dark drama of the betrayal and crucifixion, and the solemnity of Giotto's famous lamentation scene, the tone of the retelling is full of joy, the drama explained as the will of Heaven, the death of Jesus as the victory of love, and the miraculous events as the ``Glorious Impossible'' that faith accepts and knows as truth. The stories are narrated in a poetic, informal style that incorporates familiar Biblical phrasing with modern, conversational comments and explanations. The text flows, and can be read aloud without showing the illustrations. At the same time, Giotto's frescoes are reproduced with such clarity and richness of color that they can be valued as quality reproductions of Renaissance art. The frontispiece photograph of the Scrovegni Chapel (although reversed) and an afterword about Giotto's place in art history add to the potential use of the book for art history. The text and the pictures fit so well together that L'Engle's words enhance the appreciation of Giotto's art, and the magnificence of the frescoes illuminates the Christian story. The result is a beautiful devotional book that will be a valued addition to the religious shelves of a library or an art-book collection. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671686901
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1990
  • Pages: 64
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.84 (w) x 10.84 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Madeleine L'Engle
Madeleine L'Engle
Best known as the writer of YA classics like A Wrinkle in Time, the prolific and eclectic Madeleine L'Engle penned adult fiction, poems, plays, memoirs, and religious meditations -- all infused with her trademark eloquence, imagination, and intellectual curiosity.

Biography

Madeleine L'Engle Camp was born in New York City and educated in boarding schools in Switzerland and across the United States. A shy, withdrawn child with few friends, she retreated into writing at an early age. She attended Smith College, graduating summa cum laude in 1941. After college, she worked in the New York theatre, where she met her future husband, Hugh Franklin. (Later she would say that they "met in The Cherry Orchard and married during The Joyous Season.") Her first book, The Small Rain (1945), was completed while she was still working as an actress.

After the birth of their first child, Madeleine and her husband moved to rural Connecticut to run a small general store; but in 1959, they returned to New York City with their three children so Hugh Franklin could resume his acting career (For many years, he played Dr. Charles Tyler on the popular television soap opera All My Children.) Although Madeleine wrote steadily during this period, few of her books were published. Then, in 1960, she released her first children's story, Meet the Austins. An affectionate portrait of a close-knit family, the book was named an ALA Notable Children's Book of the year and spawned several bestselling sequels.

Completed in 1960, L'Engle's science fiction YA classic A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by more than two dozen publishers before Farrar, Straus and Giroux finally released it in 1962. Elegant, imaginative, and filled with complex moral themes, the acclaimed Newbery Medal winner tells the story of Meg Murry, a young girl who travels through time with her psychically gifted younger brother to rescue their scientist father from a planet controlled by an evil entity known as the Dark Thing. Throughout her career, L'Engle would return to the Murry family three more times, in A Wind in the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978), and Many Waters (1986). The Time Quartet, as these four books have come to be called, weaves together elements of theology and quantum physics often assumed to be far too esoteric for children to understand. Yet, it became a true classic of juvenalia. L'Engle explained once, "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."

In addition to her YA novels, the prolific writer also penned adult fiction, poems, plays, memoirs, and religious meditations. She served as the longtime librarian and writer-in-residence for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Madeleine L'Engle passed away at a nursing home in Connecticut in 2007.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      1918112
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      September 6, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      Litchfield, CT
    1. Education:
      Smith College, 1941

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