The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith

( 5 )

Overview

When a poor devout widow begs for a scrap of bread from a rich faithless baker, she promises to participate in the king’s wedding mass as payment for the baker’s generosity. The baker writes “One Mass” on a scrap of paper and places it on his scale to determine how much bread it is worth. To his and the entire town’s surprise, nothing in the shop, not even the gigantic wedding cakes made for the king, outweighs the simple piece of paper representing the true worth of a mass. Luminous old-world watercolor ...
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Overview

When a poor devout widow begs for a scrap of bread from a rich faithless baker, she promises to participate in the king’s wedding mass as payment for the baker’s generosity. The baker writes “One Mass” on a scrap of paper and places it on his scale to determine how much bread it is worth. To his and the entire town’s surprise, nothing in the shop, not even the gigantic wedding cakes made for the king, outweighs the simple piece of paper representing the true worth of a mass. Luminous old-world watercolor paintings grace the interior of the book and gold foil artwork lends an air of solemnity and sacred beauty to the story.

Josephine Nobisso is the author of 17 books including Grandpa Loved, Grandma’s Scrapbook, and The Moon’s Lullaby. She lives in Quogue, New York. Katalin SzegediS has illustrated numerous children’s books and was awarded the Most Beautiful Children’s Book Award by the Society of Hungarian Publishers and Distributors.

On the day of a royal wedding in a kingdom where everyone has grown careless in the practice of their Catholic faith, a poor widow helps reveal the true value of the Mass.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This gentle tale celebrates the power of the Mass in the Roman Catholic faith. A shabby, penniless old woman enters the baker's shop as he is preparing luscious creations for the king's wedding, which is about to take place in the city cathedral. Few are expected to attend, however, because the populace has grown cold and neglectful about their faith. When the baker refuses to give the old woman even a crust of stale bread, she offers to say a Mass for him, in exchange for food. Scoffing, he writes "One Mass" on a tiny piece of paper, places it on his scale, and tries to overbalance it with heaps of his finest pastries, but to no avail. The Mass outweighs them all. Chastened, he and his customers hurry to the cathedral to renew the practice of their beliefs at their monarch's marriage. The text, which was inspired by an actual event recounted by a priest in Luxembourg, is written in a lilting, storytelling style and teaches its lesson sweetly. Double-page spreads of warm-toned watercolors are filled with swirling action and show charming, doll-like people in Victorian dress.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lovely Catholic parable with a message of faith that can be read with pleasure and understanding by those of any religious background—or none. In a faraway land, a king and queen are about to marry in the city’s cathedral, even though most of the populace no longer attends mass. A poor old woman begs for bread at the bakery that has prepared the royal wedding cake. In return, since she has no money, she offers to hear the evening’s mass for the baker. He rejects her offer, writes the words "one mass" on a tiny piece of tissue paper, and places it on his scale to show her how worthless it is. He discovers that not all the sweetmeats in his shop can balance those words. He and the town find their hearts turned, and all go to attend the nuptial mass in the cathedral, having learned the weight of a mass. The watercolor illustrations depict a city part medieval, part Victorian, and wholly beautiful. In a postscript, the author tells of the scrap of historical story that led her to write this original folktale. (Picture book. 4-8)
From the Publisher

Warmly illustrated by Katalin Szegedi, The Weight of a Mass is an original cultural folk tale based on a true story . . . its luminous artwork and fairy-tale ending win the children’s imagination.
Faith & Family

Lilting storytelling style. Charming.
School Library Journal

Wholly beautiful.
Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780940112100
  • Publisher: Gingerbread House
  • Publication date: 6/1/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 259,703
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author


Josephine Nobisso is the author of several books, including The Numbers Dance, Show: Don't Tell!, and The Weight of a Mass She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Bank Street College's Best Book of the Year and a Catholic Press Association Award. She lives in Westhampton Beach, New York.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 14, 2009

    Wonderful book

    I have purchased 3 copies of this book for gifts. It is an entertaining book for both adults and children. The inside cover has lots of factual info and insights for parents .
    I recommended it to a friend and she has purchased 4 coopies.
    Great First Communion Gift.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2008

    a reviewer

    I liked that the widow was not being greedy. I did not like that the baker was mean.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2005

    From Grandma for the Grandkids...

    but I got just as much out of it. Ordering it now for the kids' teachers (K and 2nd)grade at our parochial school for Christmas presents. Beautiful message and engaging story! Thank you to the author and illustrator.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2005

    A Real Gem!

    I purchased this book for my daughter's 4th birthday. The book uses beautiful language and excellent illustration to unfold a little-known story that will enhance even an adult's understanding of the importance of a Mass. I must admit I cried at the end when I first read it. It's fantastic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

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