In her typically well-researched picture-book-biography style, Demi (Muhammad) explores the man and the myths (and the red suit and sleighful of toys). She chronicles stories of Nicholas's childhood as an extraordinarily compassionate and devoutly religious boy, and of the miracles that later made him the patron saint of children, prisoners and seafarers, among others. The text concludes with the saint's prayer. No commercial glitter here; what glistens are Demi's reverent, lavishly gilded paintings, many recalling Byzantine religious art, and the nifty gold-accented endpages that depict Santa Claus/Saint Nicholas/Sinter Klaas in his various guises around the world. Ages 5-10. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Born in 280 A.D. in what is now Turkey, Nicholas the saint has become a legendary character deeply connected with the celebration of Christmas. From childhood, he is said to have been both devout and generous. Appointed a bishop as a young man, he was held responsible for many miracles, becoming the patron and protector of anyone connected with the sea, and of prisoners and captives, among others. Because his feast day on December 6, Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, has become associated with the gift-giving of the holiday season. Devout respect for the saint and his prayer pervades the simply told text. Its episodic structure allows Demi to create stylized scenes depicting the events of his life. She has adapted the Byzantine manner of design with its flat perspective, large, un-detailed areas, and figures frozen in actioin. Her exquisitely detailed paint and ink illustrations include marbleized paper to suggest fabric. Her interpretations of the icons and mosaics of the period tell the visual story in her own special way. The end-papers offer tiny portraits of the saint in garb from all over the world. 2003, Margaret K. McElderry/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Ages 5 to 9.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Gr 1-4-This richly illustrated biography focuses on St. Nicholas, born around the year A.D. 280 in what is now Turkey. His active life of spirituality, good works, and miracles, especially concerning children, made him a popular saint after his death. The eventual melding of the December 6 feast day of St. Nicholas, which was celebrated with gift giving and merriment, with Christmas is explained clearly, giving children an understanding of how this man morphed into the Santa Claus they know today. The gilded paintings are full of absorbing, though sometimes anachronistic, details. In an illustration accompanying a story of Nicholas tossing coins into a girl's stocking, the stocking is bright red with a white top, very Christmas-y but not exactly third-century attire. The greatest strength of this book is its straightforward, affectionate depiction of a person who, by his deep love for the young and the needy, embodies the spirit of Christmas.-E. M. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Once again Demi has created an exquisitely illustrated introduction to the life of a famous historical figure, this time the saint from the third century who's connected to the modern-day Santa Claus. The text recounts stories from the life of the saint, including miracles attributed to him, and how he became a saint after his death. Demi gracefully explains the celebration of the feast day of St. Nicholas in the Middle Ages, when St. Nicholas became Sinter Klaas, and how that character was transformed into our more modern Santa Claus. She includes information on St. Nicholas as the patron saint for many groups and concludes her text with the prayer of St. Nicholas. Demi's paintings on each page are set off by thin gold borders, with each illustration including her signature use of metallic gold as well as brilliant jewel tones and delicate patterns of mosaics or patterned fabric. The handsome design includes ivory paper, deep red initial capitals and page borders, and striking endpapers that show St. Nicholas and Santa Claus in different costumes. Includes a map of the Middle East in the time of St. Nicholas. (Nonfiction. 7-10)