The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas (Phyllis Fogelman Books)

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9780803726246: The Real Santa Claus: Legends of Saint Nicholas (Phyllis Fogelman Books)
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Offers readers of all ages an account of the life and times of the Bishop of Myra, who lived during the fourth century and on whom the legend of Santa Claus was based.

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*Starred Review* Gr. 3-6. Mayer begins with the familiar poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and offers a brief historical overview explaining how his name became synonymous with Christmas. She then turns to the man who inspired the tradition, introducing him to her audience in precise, well-chosen words and magnificent art, primarily Italian paintings from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Nicholas, who lived 17 centuries ago in what is now Turkey, became the bishop of Myra and performed a series of miracles. He became the patron saint of children, maidens, and travelers, among others. This handsome volume, with its pages often bordered in gold, has the elegance of a book on Renaissance art, yet it is certainly accessible to children. Many of the paintings have a narrative quality that becomes more powerful for a modern audience in the context of Mayer's text, which tells the dramatic stories of Nicholas' miracles. Appendixes include an author's note linking Santa Claus with St. Nicholas, a bibliography of sources, and a list of illustrations. A well written and beautifully illustrated book about Saint Nicholas. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From School Library Journal:

Gr 3 Up-This handsome biography of Saint Nicholas is going to be more useful for saint assignments than as a Christmas book as many parents and their children will be most unhappy to be told right up front that "those longed-for gifts found under the Christmas tree are not after all left by him." Mayer starts with Clement Moore's poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" and then leaves the Christmas holiday to provide a brief biography of the saint who died in A.D. 343. The prose is readable and direct. While some might question the author's matter-of-fact portrayal of miracles, children using this book for a report probably won't have a problem with it. Utilizing reproductions (a few of which are quite blurry) of religious art, dominated by stiff and formal works by artists from the Middle Ages, this offering probably holds more appeal for adults than it does for children. A list of illustrations cites page numbers, but, unfortunately, the text is unpaged.-A. C.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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