Joy to the World
Christmas Stories and Songs
Tomie De Paola
published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 2010
A beautiful collection of three separate Christmas stories and five Christmas Songs-
“The Night of Las Posadas”
This special tale- highlights the custom of Las Posadas
In Spain and Mexico, Las Posadas is celebrated for nine days. Families walk in procession, knocking on doors, but only on Christmas Eve does a door open. Everyone enters and has hot chocolate and cookies to commemorate the expected birth of the Holy Child.
This story features a town celebration in snowy Santa Fe. A lovely expression of faith, and even a Christmas Miracle- accompany the glowing illustrations of Tomie De Paola. This is a surprising story about a small town and it’s unique celebrations of Christmas.
“The Story of the Three Wise Kings”
A luminous account based on the figures first mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew- This story follows the inspirational journey of three men to follow a star and take special gifts to the Savior King.
De Paola shares an insightful commentary on the historical details of the character development of these legendary figures-
By the eighth century, each of the kings had a name, an area from which he came, and physical descriptions. Melchior of Arabia was depicted as an old man; Gaspar of Tharsis as young; and Balthazar of Saba was shown as mature and black.
Each of the kings consulted his books and found that this new star was the sign that a great king was about to be born.
This story begs to be read aloud- and I think boys age 6-7 will particularly enjoy the Adventure aspect of this story.
“The Legend of the Poinsettia”
My favorite story of the collection- this is a beautiful tale- about the Mexican legend of the traditional Christmas flower- the Poinsettia.
In Mexico- Poinsettia’s are also known by –
flor de fuego (Fire Flower)
flor de Navidad ( Christmas flower)
flor de Nochebuena(flower of the Holy night)
Lucida lives in a small village in Mexico. She and her mother work together to weave a special gift – a soft and colorful blanket to wrap the figure of Baby Jesus -as part of the town procession marking their churches Celebration of Christmas.
Unexpectedly Lucida’s mother falls ill and she must try to finish the intricate weaving on her own. Even though she tries her best, Lucida tangles the woolen strands- She is ashamed that her blanket is not fit to give as a gift to the Baby Jesus-
The young girl has a surprising encounter with an old woman who has a remarkable message for her:
“Ah, Lucida, any gift is beautiful because it is given, ” the old woman told her.
“Whatever you give, the Baby Jesus will love, because it come from you.”
Alongside these marvelous stories are Piano Sheet Music for the following songs:
“O Little Town of Bethlehem”
“The First Noel”
“Away in a Manger”
“Joy to the World”
You can find a nice version of these Christmas Carols and also a read along version of the stories on youtube Here
What Cats Want for Christmas
By Kandy Radzinski
published by Sleeping Bear Press in 2007
The “purrfect” Christmas Book for the Cat Lover you know….I adored this delightful humorous picture book.
Beautiful illustrations of cats with text showing their inner “thoughts”… such as the following:
I’d like a book on how to cook mice, flamingo burritos, peacocks, and rice, sparrow spaghetti and pelican pie, woodpecker pizza and pigeons on rye.
My Cat- Leo(see above photos) is supremely naughty- and it makes me laugh , to imagine what he might be thinking as he goes about his day -to-day activities- generally making mischief and creating havoc, while trying to look extremely cute and innocent!