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The Legend of the Poinsettia Paperback – October 6, 1997


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The Legend of the Poinsettia + The Legend of Old Befana + The Night of Las Posadas (Picture Puffins)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (October 6, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698115678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698115675
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the tradition of his The Legend of the Bluebonnet and The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, dePaola offers another gracious retelling of a timeless folktale. His skillfully pared-down narrative and paintings that glow with strong colors present the story of a well-intentioned Mexican child, Lucida. Distressed because she has no other gift to offer Baby Jesus, she carries into the church an armful of weeds, each of which suddenly becomes "tipped with a flaming red star"-marking the miraculous blooming of the first poinsettias. Released simultaneously in English-and Spanish-language editions. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

"Tomie dePaola was born in Meriden, Connecticut, in 1934 to a family of Irish and Italian background. By the time he could hold a pencil, he knew what his life's work would be. His determination to create books for children led to a BFA from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California.
It drove him through the years of teaching, designing greeting cards and stage sets, and painting church murals until 1965, when he illustrated his first children's book, Sound, by Lisa Miller for Coward-McCann. Eventually, freed of other obligations, he plunged full time into both writing and illustrating children's books.
He names Fra Angelico and Giotto, Georges Rouault, and Ben Shahn as major influences on his work, but he soon found his own unique style. His particular way with color, line, detail, and design have earned him many of the most prestigious awards in his field, among them a Caldecott Honor Award for Strega Nona, the Smithsonian Medal from the Smithsonian Institution, the Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota for his ""singular attainment in children's literature,"" the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal for his ""continued distinguished contribution,"" and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion. He was also the 1990 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration.
Tomie dePaola has published almost 200 children's books in fifteen different countries. He remains one of the most popular creators of books for children, receiving more than 100,000 fan letters each year.
Tomie lives in an interesting house in New Hampshire with his four dogs. His studio is in a large renovated 200-year-old barn.
- He has been published for over 30 years.
- Over 5 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
- His books have been published in over 15 different countries.
- He receives nearly 100,000 fan letters each year.
Tomie dePaola has received virtually every significant recognition for his books in the children's book world, including:
- Caldecott Honor Award from American Library Association
- Newbery Honor Award from American Library Association
- Smithson Medal from Smithsonian Institution
- USA nominee in illustration for Hans Christian Andersen Medal
- Regina Medal from Catholic Library Association

"

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Very colorful illustrations.
Linda G. Bone
This is a wonderful cultural book, but it also teaches a great lesson to other cultures.
Connie Smith
Tomie dePaola did an excellent job on this book.
Janice K. Terrell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Megan Allyn on April 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book tells a legend about the gift of giving. It is set in Mexico, close to Christmas time. All the families are preparing their gifts for the baby Jesus. One family is making a special blanket for the baby, however the mother gets too sick and she cannot finish the beautiful blanket, so the family will have no gift to give on Christmas. So the young daughter tries to finish the blanket but ruins it beyond repair, so she hides from the rest of the town's people and does not go to church on Christmas. While everyone else is walking into church baring their gifts, the young girl watches from afar. However while there she encounters an old lady who teaches her a valuable lesson. The young girl learns that it is not the gift that you give but the thought that you have put into it, and the mere gesture of giving. The author gets the point across about gift giving so well. I came away from this book remembering and understand that it is truly the thought that counts and not the gift itself.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was one of the best children's books that I have ever read. Well, here's what it's about: This is about a girl named Lucida and her family. Christmas {or la Navidad as it's referred to in the book} is drawing near and every year at Christmas, a manger scene is put at the front of the town church. Well this year, the blanket they use to wrap around the baby Jesus has become old and worn. So the priest asks Lucida's mother to weave a new one because her skills are so excellent. She accepts, and with help from Lucida, they then begin to weave a beautiful blanket. But unfortunately, just before they finish, on the day before Christmas Eve Lucida's mother gets ill. Lucida can't finish the blanket alone, but she tries anyway because her family would have nothing to offer to baby Jesus. When her attempt fails, Lucida's very upset and doesn't want to take part in the procession going into the church. She then meets an old woman who turns her thoughts around and teaches her a very important lesson. To find it out, read the book today!
What a great book for children to read. This book teaches that no matter what gift you give someone, whatever you do, it doesn't have to be the best, the most expensive {ect. ect.} it just has to come from the heart. That's a lesson that kid's these days should learn, as well as some adults. So read this book to your children today, I'm sure you'll love it..
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
I used this book as a unit last Christmas on traditions and folklore around the world. Everyone loved it, parents and children alike. Many asked where they could purchase the book to make it permanent part of their Christmas library.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a much cherished book in our family. My son received it when he was 3.5yo. He loved the story and illustrations then and even more now, a year later. My 2yo is frequently drawn to this book and enjoys studying the pictures. The writing is excellent, the tale is told with great respect and the illustrations are riveting. We have recommended or given this book to many families and all have enjoyed immensely.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Dempsey on January 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for the true story of the legend of the poinsettia, this is not it!!! The only thing that is the same about the legend from Mexico and this story is the fact that the poinsettias were made red on christmas eve because a little girl brought baby jesus a weed for his birthday because she was so poor. the names, plot, and special saying that the little girl's brother said in the legend is not in this book, which takes away the impact of the story. the drawings although are beautiful and the story is nice if you don't know the real legend.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Graciela Sholander on October 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
I own the Spanish version of this book, "La Leyenda de la Flor de Nochebuena." Beautiful rendition of a cherished legend, as well as excellent depictions of traditional life in old Mexico. Scenes range from feeding straw to a burro to helping mama' make tortillas to the Sunday town procession to church. The illustrations are marvelous: Very warm, colorful, and touching. Reading this book is taking an excursion back in time to a place rich in culture and tradition. Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Elena Lavictoire on December 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
I love legends. I always have. I am particularly fond of legends that attempt to explain things such as why the robin has a red breast, or why it snows on Christmas, or why the donkey says "hee haw," and other things like that. That is one of the reasons I was drawn to this little book by Tomie dePaola, The Legend of the Poinsettia.

Lucinda is a young girl who lives with her parents and younger siblings in Mexico. The colorful illustrations have that southeastern feel to it. Lucinda's community is preparing for Christmas by preparing gifts for the Christ child on Christmas Eve. I loved that the focus of gift giving was for Christ as opposed to the hustle and bustle and commercialism that is so common in American households. The gifts were labors of love too and involved special crafts, skills or homegrown gifts. Lucind and her mama have been asked to weave the special blanket for Baby Jesus as the one they have used for years is very old and worn.

When Lucinda's mama becomes ill, Lucinda is unable to finish the blanket by herself and the more she tries, the more tangled the yarn in the loom becomes. Lucinda is disheartened and worried about her mother, as well as saddened that her family has no gift to give the Christ child. Suddenly an old woman appears and suggests Lucinda pick some simple native weeds and bring them to Christ. In humility, Lucinda does that, and as you can guess, these become the beautiful poinsettia plants, the flor de la Nochelbuena, that we associate with Christmas today!

The reference and picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe was a nice touch for Catholic children who are familiar with story, and it was nice to see the shrine to our lady as part of Lucinda's everyday life.
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