The Miracle of the First Poinsettia

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9781841482453: The Miracle of the First Poinsettia

Originally native to Mexico, beautiful poinsettia plants decorate homes around the world every holiday season. But few people who love the plant s deep red tones know the traditional Mexican tale about how the poinsettia first came to be. In this extraordinary collaboration, Fabian Negrin brings his warm, glowing scenes to Joanne Oppenheim s thoughtful narrative, transporting readers to Old-World Mexico and into the arms of a young girl as her trust leads her straight into a miracle. A beautiful alternative to the traditional nativity story, this book is a wonderful evocation of Mexican customs and culture.

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About the Author:

Joanne Oppenheim is the critically acclaimed author of more than fifty books for and about children, which have won US awards such as the IRA Big Book Award (1993) and the Ezra Jack Keats Award (1998). A former elementary teacher, Joanne has received widespread recognition for her work in child development, education and children's literature. Joanne is currently the President of Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Inc., a New York based organisation that reviews children's media, including toys, books, videos, music and software. Fabian Negrin is a native Argentinean whose magical, dreamlike paintings have illuminated the pages of five other books for children, including The Secret Footprints (Knopf, 2000) and Gauchada (Knopf, 2001). Fabian lived in Mexico for many years and now makes his home in Italy with his wife and son. This is his first title for Barefoot Books.

From Booklist:

PreS-Gr. 2. Oppenheim found the kernel of this story while researching a book about Christmas. She expanded it into the tale of Juanita, who is anxious about Christmas Eve, La Noche Buena. Her father is unemployed, and the family struggles. There will be no gift for baby Jesus at midnight Mass. Oppenheim seems to stretch the story as Juanita wanders through the market place, then home, and finally to church, empty-handed. But it's an uplifting moment when a stone angel in the church courtyard tells Juanita to bring a profusion of greens into church, where they miraculously turn into red poinsettias. Whatever small flaws there are in the text are balanced by Negrin's fabulous pictures, executed in watercolors, colored pencils, and oil pastels. The scenes, in full pages and blocks, are infused with color--the tomato red of the market, the ethereal blue-green of evening, the holy, gold lighting of the church. The sturdy figures have a statue-like dignity in a glowing evocation of old Mexico. Spanish words are well integrated, and there is also a glossary. Ilene Cooper
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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