The Legend of the Poinsettia (Mexican Folktale)

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9780399216923: The Legend of the Poinsettia (Mexican Folktale)

In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside.

A Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl's unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Tomie dePaola has embraced the legend using his own special feeling for Christmas. His glorious paintings capture not only the brilliant colors of Mexico and its art, but also the excitement of the children preparing for Christmas and the hope of Lucida, who comes to see what makes a gift truly beautiful.

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About the Author:

Best known for his award-winning picture book Strega Nona and for the 26 Fairmount Avenue series of chapter books, Tomie dePaola is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in the field of children's literature.

From Booklist:

Ages 5-9. In this legend from Mexico, a little girl, Lucinda, is proud to help her mother weave a new blanket for the Baby Jesus to be used in a Christmas procession. But when Lucinda's mother takes ill, Lucinda tangles the yarn and is unable to complete the blanket. Feeling she has ruined Christmas, Lucinda is reluctant to go to the procession until a mysterious old woman appears from the shadows and tells Lucinda, "Any gift is beautiful because it is given. Whatever you give, the Baby Jesus will love because it comes from you." Nervously, Lucinda grabs an armful of weeds, which she brings into the church. As she prays, the weeds open into dazzling red flowers that decorate the altar. The story has a simple dignity, but it is the artwork that takes center stage here. The spreads, which feature everyday occurrences (set in a generic era), are magnificently staged and colored and culminate in the last spread--Lucinda praying at a crŠche, with a profusion of poinsettias decorating the pages. An author's note gives the origin of the story as well as facts about the poinsettia plant and its Christmas connections. Ilene Cooper

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dePaola, Tomie
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