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Great Joy Hardcover – October 9, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kate DiCamillo is the author of THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, winner of a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Award; THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX, winner of the Newbery Medal; BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, a Newbery Honor winner; THE TIGER RISING, a National Book Award Finalist; and four books starring Mercy Watson, including a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. She lives in Minneapolis.

Bagram Ibatoulline is the illustrator of THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, as well as THE SERPENT CAME TO GLOUCESTER by M. T. Anderson, HANA IN THE TIME OF THE TULIPS by Deborah Noyes, THE ANIMAL HEDGE by Paul Fleischman, THE NIGHTINGALE retold by Stephen Mitchell, and CROSSING by Philip Booth. He lives in Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; First Edition edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763629205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763629205
  • ASIN: 0763629200
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.4 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard A. Bickle on December 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book, last Christmas, for a friend and couldn't wait to get a copy for myself this year. I too was surprised by the seemingly abrupt ending. I am writing in response to the review that had nothing good to say about the book. I agree that this book is more for adults who will grasp its meaning. The person who wrote the review thought it was awful that he, the organ grinder, should be invited in, and then what? Back out in the cold? So, I'm wondering, should we do nothing because perhaps we can only do one thing? Look at the joy on the mans face! In a room that size, full of people perhaps there was someone who could offer him a place to stay. Oh how we limit what God can do when we open our hearts to care. May I also suggest that this may have been the first of many offers to come in from the cold, for a hot bowl of soup, hot chocolate or even a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day! Jesus said when you do kind things to others you are doing them unto him! May I also be so bold as to suggest that this may have been the end of the book, but only the beginning of the story. Think about it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful and sensitive Christmas picture book that is not about snowmen or reindeer or Santa Claus. It gets to the heart of Christmas with a few lines of story and beautiful illustrations of a simpler time in our history on each page. Without being preachy, it preaches a clear message that Christmas is about caring and welcoming the stranger into our lives. Adults may love it even more than children do.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly moving book. It brought tears to my eyes. The girl's love and concern for a man that no one else cares for are a great lesson for all kids (and their parents!)
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Format: Hardcover
Reason for Reading: I am a fan of the author.

This is a lovely Christmas picture book that, aside from a religious aspect, captures the true essence of Christmas. First of all, the illustrations are absolutely breathtaking paintings done in acrylic gouache. They place the story in the past sometime, but it is not until we see the photograph of the man in uniform do we place the story as being during, World War II. This book is worthy for its pictures alone. Yet, it has a text equally breathtaking to match. The story of a little girl who has compassion for the organ grinder she sees across the street each day, wondering where they go at night. The mother has no time for the girl's interest in the man, understandably so, under her circumstances. But when the girl stays up late one night and finds out that they live on the street, she sees the sadness in the man's eyes and invites him to church to watch her Christmas Pageant. At first it does not look as if the man will show up and the girl, playing an angel cannot get her lines out. But when she sees him enter the church she boldly cries "I bring you tidings of Great Joy!" Later, we see the organ grinder happily talking to the mother at a reception in the church hall. A heartwarming, touching story for the Christmas season which I think shows a great response to Christ's words "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matt 25:40
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This story and its accompanying pictures take place back in time, around the 1950s, when street corners would be spotted with self-employed opportunists who would entertain or sell you some gadget or gizmo. In this story, there is an organ grinder, with a small costumed monkey, playing music for people on the street. Crowds would pass by and enjoy the sounds of the organ grinder and the antics (that's behavior) of the monkey.

From an apartment window above the street level, a little girl named Frances would watch the man and his monkey, both during the day and the night. Frances became concerned about the man and his monkey and what happens to them at night. Now Frances' mother was sewing her a robe for the church pageant; she was going to be an angel.

That night, Frances made herself stay awake because she wanted to see if the old man and his monkey were still out on the street corner so late at night. Yes, she saw them, and called to them; the old man waved his hat to her.

Well, the next morning, Frances told her Mother that they sleep on the street, even in the snow. She even wanted to invite them for dinner, but her Mother said they couldn't because they were strangers. Frances and her Mother, dressed in their winter coats and boots, walked in the snow. Frances saw that the man and the monkey were still on the street corner; she placed a coin in the monkey's cup, and invited the man to the Christmas play, that night. She explained that she was in the Christmas play at the church. She even asked him if he wanted to hear her one line in the play. Before he could say anything, Frances' Mother hurried her on so they wouldn't be late. Frances could see the sad eyes on the man's face. He just smiled at her.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a truly lovely story with a beautiful lesson. The illustrations are excellent and there are so many things a teacher can discuss about this book with their students. I read it in the library and can't wait to get a copy of my own. I did feel that the plot was rushed and was surprised when I turned the page and found the story had ended.
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