In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside. This Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl’s unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Beloved Newbery honor-winning author and Caldecott honor-winning illustrator Tomie dePaola has embraced the legend using his own special feeling for Christmas. His glorious paintings capture not only the brilliant colors of Mexico and its art, but also the excitement of the children preparing for Christmas and the hope of Lucida, who comes to see what makes a gift truly beautiful.
Another childhood favorite! Tomie dePaola’s signature illustrations are gorgeous, and beautifully detail this legend of how the Poinsettia came to be through the earnest desire of a young girl to have a gift for the baby Jesus. Even non-readers can enjoy this story, purely through the illustrations because they are so detailed and full of emotion. The little bits of Mexican heritage and culture that shine through in both the story and the illustrations are engaging and give an added authenticity to the book.
This is a great story about the legend of how the poinsettia came to be celebrated around the Christmas season. I love that it stems from a little girl who was trying her best to give the best gift she could at the manger, and that her gift was made beautiful. I especially loved the message that any gift is beautiful because it is given. The illustrations are also beautiful.
Tomie dePaola is one of the most popular children’s book authors and illustrators of our time and the winner of the 2011 Children’s Literature Legacy Award for “significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature,” among other lifetime achievement awards. A Newbery Honor winner, he has written and illustrated a number of books, including Caldecott Honor book Strega Nona and its companions, as well as Oliver Button Is a Sissy; The Legend of Old Befana; The Clown of God; Michael Bird-Boy; Andy, That’s My Name; and Quiet. A native of Connecticut, Mr. dePaola studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and now lives in New London, New Hampshire.