Cover image for The miracle of the first Poinsettia : a Mexican Christmas story
Title:
The miracle of the first Poinsettia : a Mexican Christmas story
Author:
Oppenheim, Joanne.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Barefoot, 2003.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 x 30 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 73823.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9781841480138

9781841482453
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Few people who love the poinsettia's deep red tones know the traditional Mexican tale about how it started life. A beautiful alternative to the traditional nativity story, this book is a wonderful evocation of Mexican customs and culture.


Author Notes

Joanne F. Oppenheim is an education and child development expert. She is the author of more than 50 books for and about children including The Christmas Witch; Kids and Play; Buy Me, Buy Me; and Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration During World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference. She won the National Picture Book of the Year award in Canada for Have You Seen Birds?. With other members of her family, she co-founded Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Inc. that publishes books on the most successful toys for children, called the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

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 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Troubled that she has no pesos to buy a gift for the Christ child, Juanita humbly follows the mystical behest of a stone angel to bring weeds to the midnight mass instead. Miraculously, the weeds transform into poinsettias because they are a "gift from the heart." More languidly paced than Tomie dePaola's tightly spun Legend of the Poinsettia, Oppenheim's telling sags a bit under the focus on the family's poverty and heavy-handed insertions of Spanish vocabulary. Negrin's (The Secret Footprints) striking illustrations, however, energize the tale, taking their cue from the brilliant flowers and sun-kissed colors of Old World Mexico. His mixed-media art creates a lush, dreamlike environment where anything seems possible. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-Because Juanita's pap is out of work, there are no extra pesos to give to the church on la Noche Buena, Christmas Eve. Even when Mam assures her that "-there are no greater gifts than the ones you bring in your heart," the child is ashamed to enter the church without even a candle to place at the altar. Then a stone angel tells her to gather weeds as her gift; the weeds transform into "star-shaped scarlet-red flowers," the flor de la Noche Buena, or poinsettias. Watercolors, colored pencils, wax and oil pastels were used to create luminous, textured paintings with gorgeous Mexican motifs; the perspective is consistently and effectively that of the child. Libraries owning Tomie dePaola's folkloric retelling, The Legend of the Poinsettia (Putnam, 1994), will still want this handsome, tellable new offering.-S. P. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.