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Christopher: The Holy Giant Hardcover – March 1, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Doubts about the historical existence of Christopher, long the patron saint of travelers, prompted the Catholic Church to remove his name from the calendar of saints in 1969; fortunately dePaola, as he states in an afterword, wanted Christopher's story "to be available again to all children." This vigorous retelling is accompanied by some of the artist's most distinctive work to date. Reprobus, a giant, wants to serve the most powerful king in the world. His quest takes him first to court, then to the devil and, finally, in search of Christ. Following the advice of a hermit, Reprobus sets up camp by a river and ferries travelers to the other side. One stormy night a child asks to be carried across; as the giant complies, the child grows so heavy that Reprobus feels he is carrying "the whole world on my shoulders." The child, of course, is Jesus, who gives him the new name of Christopher--Bearer-of-Christ. DePaola's prose is simple and eloquent, and his expressive folk art style, here rendered in the intense but muted shades of the desert, is perfectly attuned to the legend's reverent tone. The images here linger long after the book has been closed. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 4-A retelling of the legend of St. Christopher. Because of his stature, Reprobus the giant wishes to serve the most powerful ruler in the world. During his travels, he meets a mighty king, the devil, and a hermit before understanding that it is Christ he must serve. To do so, the giant uses his impressive strength to carry travelers across a fast-flowing river. One stormy night, he risks his life to help a small child across. With each step, the river rises higher, the wind blows harder, and his passenger grows heavier. Finally safe on the other side, the child reveals that he is Jesus, and renames Reprobus Christopher, or "Bearer-of-Christ." dePaola uses his impressive storytelling skills to convey the action, describing miraculous events with simplicity and dignity. The illustrations, with their clean lines and carefully balanced presentation, are vintage dePaola. The giant's size, accentuated by his massive head and large hands, is gentled by his sorrowful eyes. The devil is depicted as a winged beast. The dramatic image of Reprobus, painfully doubled over as he struggles under his burden, suggests the power and mystery of medieval religious paintings. An author's note explains why Christopher was removed from the Catholic Church's Calendar of Saints. Religious debates aside, this story, with its fluently integrated text and illustrations, stands solidly on its own.
Joy Fleishhacker, New York Public Library
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
"January 03, 2014
When I think of people of faith in my life that have left an indelible impression on me your are one of them. I often wonder if you were ever sick and tired of telling me the story of Saint Christopher. You would tell me the story every time I asked for it. I always think about the story of Saint Christopher when the world is heavy on my shoulders and I endure. Thank you for the blessing of that story. In His name, Gina."
One of our best teaching tools as parents is the telling of stories. I highly recommend Christopher: The Holy Giant!!
In His name, Gina
Wandering through the desert Reprobus met an old hermit, who taught him about Christ. The hermit told Reprobus to go to a mighty river on the other side of the desert and help all who wished to cross and so he did. He carried many people across the river, and one stormy night a small child appeared and asked to be carried across the river. As they crossed the river, the waters became higher and the child became heavier. Reaching the other side of the river, Reprobus sat the child down and told him he felt as if he had been carrying the whole world on his shoulders. The child then revealed that he was Jesus and told Reprobus that from that day on he would be know as Christopher, Bearer-of-Christ.
This is a great book about St. Christopher for young children.
The drawings are bright and well done, and match the text perfectly.
This is a good book for introducing religious concepts (devil, Christ Child) to little kids without overtly proselytizing. Also, if your child happens to be named Christopher (as mine is), it is fun for the child to learn what his name means.
I would recommend this book and plan to buy more by this author.