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The Huron Carol

The Huron Carol

by Jean De Brebeuf, Frances Tyrrell (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-- In the 1600s, the missionary Father Jean de Brebeuf wrote a carol in the Huron language telling the story of the birth of Christ, set in the Huron world. Given here in an English translation, the language is simple with evocative images, although the poetry does not always flow smoothly. As discussed in an afterword, Tyrrell has tried to make the illustrations authentic in terms of clothing and setting. Done in pen and ink and watercolor and using a limited palette, the main figures are set in an arched insert on each recto, surrounded by a swirling background of angels, stars, or birds. There is a liturgical look to this arrangement. Some people may have a philosophical difficulty with the validity of recasting the religious tradition of one culture into the setting of another. Grand Chief of the Huron nation, Max Gros-Louis, says in the afterword ``We are pleased that this book tells a part of our common history,'' and certainly Father Brebeuf is historically significant as one of the first European missionaries to write in the Huron language. A book that will be of most interest to large eclectic collections. --Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Carolyn Phelan
According to the source notes, a Jesuit missionary who lived with the Huron people some 350 years ago wrote this lovely Christmas carol in their language. Passed down by the Hurons, it was translated into French, and then English, as it appears in the text. The music is appended, along with the words in the three languages. While the form of verse and refrain, the story of Jesus' birth, and the quiet joy of this carol are traditional, the setting is the Canadian woodlands, where the baby lies wrapped in rabbit skin "within a lodge of broken bark." Rather than the familiar wise men with their gold, myrrh, and frankincense, "the chiefs from far before him knelt / With gifts of fox and beaver pelt." A Canadian artist, Tyrrell creates a handsome setting for the carol, drawing on images of nature and the stars, the constellations, and the northern lights. The Huron people appear as earthly and angelic celebrants of the Christmas story. A quietly appealing picture book for the season.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Product dimensions:
8.84(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
5 - 11 Years

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