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The Legend of Old Befana Paperback – September 2, 1980
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About the Author
Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) is best known for his books for children.
He's been published for over 40 years and has written and/or illustrated nearly 250 books, including Strega Nona, 26 Fairmount Avenue,The Art Lesson, and Christmas Remembered. Over 15 million copies of his books have sold worldwide.
Top Customer Reviews
Befana is a somewhat grumpy and fussy old woman. One day Three Kings show up at her door, following a star, and looking for a miraculous baby. They urge Befana to come with them, but Befana is so busy with her household tasks she thinks she doesn't have time.
Little by little though, the idea of a baby who "comes for the poor" (like her) and yet attracts kings as well begins to move her and she decides to follow. She gathers up some goodies she has just baked and a few toys to bring as gifts for the new baby. But she has waited too long, and although she keeps following the star, she never finds the infant.
The lovely aspect of this story is that she begins leaving her gifts for other children, because she recognizes in them the spirit of that miraculous child that the Three Kings sought. I love the idea that children receive presents at Christmas because Jesus' spirit is in them.
This is an essential book for Italian-American families. I think it would also be a good book for teachers or parents of somewhat older children (past Santa Claus believing age) who are interested in Christmas traditions of different cultures. In Russia, the story of Babushka is very similar to the story of Befana (and there are several good picture books about her). And in Mexico, the Three Kings themselves bring presents (and Tomie dePaola has done a wonderful book about the story of the Three Kings that makes a perfect companion to this one).
Overall, a terrific Christmas book.
However, rather than set off to find the baby Jesus, she tarries in order to sweep. Her decision to delay in favor of sweeping costs her a glimpse of the Child King. To this day, she searches for the Child, visiting children while they sleep, leaving them gifts from her basket.
I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to share this celebrated Italian legend! Another EXCELLENT resource is Ken Lonnquist's CD titled Old Befana: Old Befana. You can also download the entire album in MP3 format which is cheaper and faster. It has the story of La Befana and songs.
One night, she awakened to a bright light, right in the middle of the night. When she went to look out the window, she saw a brilliant star growing before her eyes. She mumbled, "How will I ever get my sleep when the dark has turned into day?" Without sleep, she remained in bed; the next morning, she was up, sweeping, just as she always had done. Now, as she swept the path down to the road, she heard bells ringing, birds singing, and she saw a glorious procession of animals and people walking down the road. Three men wearing crowns were dressed in beautiful robes, and when they approached her asking for the way to Bethlehem, she said she never heard of it. They told her they were searching for the Child. She told them that there were many children [in town], and she continued sweeping.
They told her this Child is a King, and would be guided by a bright star. All she could say was that that star kept her up all night, and that she had to get back to her work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
nicely illistrated. i remember my father telling me this story as he was told as akid in italy.Published 2 months ago by tania t.
Great book purchased for my class unit on Christmas around the world.Published 5 months ago by Fiorela
Good book for my 6 year old grandchild to hear and do some readingPublished 6 months ago by sandra bukowski