From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4–Each of these six selections opens with a full-page illustration that captures the heart of its story. The gorgeous oil paintings are filled with light and religious imagery befitting the legends. The tales are all well told and engaging, but the endings are rather abrupt. The last chapter, The Padre's Gift, contains two selections about the mysterious padre of San Antonio and is the best of the bunch. A time line about the creation and use of the Texas missions is included, and Kimmel cites his source for the stories in an author's note. This is a lovely book that will probably prove most useful in Texas and possibly in other areas with a history of Spanish missions.–S K Joiner, Brazoria County Library System, Angleton, TX
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In this picture book, Kimmel collects stories from the Texas missions that were built during Spain's colonial rule. In the title tale, a Spanish nun appears in realistic visions to a group of Tejas Indians; in "Rosa's Window," a Spanish artisan leaves his sweetheart behind to travel to Texas, where he will help build mission churches; and in "The Christmas Vine," a priest helps a young boy choose an offering for Jesus. The short stories flow easily, but they present a mostly uncritical picture of the Christian mission experience (bringing "these new Christians closer to God"), and the narrow viewpoint may jar readers seeking a more balanced portrayal of colonists and indigenous people. However, there are very few collections of these stories available for the age group, and the mysticism, faith, and magic--captured in reverential oil paintings bordered with angels, saints, and other religious imagery--will resonate with some children, particularly Catholics and Texans, for whom the symbolism and history may be more familiar. An introduction offers more background, and an afterword cites sources. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved