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The Legend of the Poinsettia (Mexican Folktale) [Hardcover]

By Tomie DePaola (Author)
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Item description for The Legend of the Poinsettia (Mexican Folktale) by Tomie DePaola...

When Lucida is unable to finish her gift for the Baby Jesus in time for the Christmas procession, a miracle enables her to offer the beautiful flower we now call the poinsettia.

Publishers Description
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.

A Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl's unselfish gift to the Christ Child. 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.

Awards and Recognitions
The Legend of the Poinsettia (Mexican Folktale) by Tomie DePaola has received the following awards and recognitions -

  • Americas Award for Children & Young Adult Literature - 1994 Commended - Picture Book category

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Legend of the Poinsettia (Mexican Folktale) by Tomie DePaola has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 163
  • Booklist - 08/01/1994 page 2050
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/1995 page 10
  • Kirkus Review - Children - 10/15/1994 page 1420
  • Hornbook Guide to Children - 07/01/1994 page 105
  • Wilson Children's Catalog 96 - 01/01/1996 page 95
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2001 page 93
  • Publishers Weekly - 09/19/1994
  • Wilson Children's Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 118

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Putnam Juvenile
Pages   32
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 8.5" Height: 10.5"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 6, 1994
Publisher   Putnam Juvenile
Age  4-8
ISBN  0399216928  
ISBN13  9780399216923  
UPC  048228016991  

Availability  0 units.

More About Tomie DePaola

Tomie dePaola Tomie dePaola ( is the acclaimed author and/or illustrator of more than 250 books for children. His books range from autobiographical stories to retellings of folktales and legends to original tales, such as the Strega Nona books. He lives in New London, New Hampshire.

Tomie dePaola currently resides in New London, in the state of New Hampshire. Tomie dePaola was born in 1934.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 4-8 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Holidays & Festivals > Around the World
3Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Holidays & Festivals > Christmas > Fiction
4Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 4-8
5Books > Subjects > Children > Literature

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Legend of the Poinsettia (Mexican Folktale)?

Great story with little historical accuracy  Jan 24, 2008
If you are looking for the true story of the legend of the poinsettia, this is not it!!! The only thing that is the same about the legend from Mexico and this story is the fact that the poinsettias were made red on christmas eve because a little girl brought baby jesus a weed for his birthday because she was so poor. the names, plot, and special saying that the little girl's brother said in the legend is not in this book, which takes away the impact of the story. the drawings although are beautiful and the story is nice if you don't know the real legend.
The Legend of the Poinsettia  Jan 18, 2008
I needed this for Christmas around the world at my school. The book is excellent and the children really enjoyed the story.
Love Tomie's books!  Mar 15, 2007
Another great addition to my collection. Tomie's illustrations complete this wonderful book.
Wonderful book :)  Jan 22, 2007
Such an endearing story! This book contains beautiful illustrations. It is a Christmastime favorite.
The Legend of the Poinsettia  Dec 10, 2006
I love legends. I always have. I am particularly fond of legends that attempt to explain things such as why the robin has a red breast, or why it snows on Christmas, or why the donkey says "hee haw," and other things like that. That is one of the reasons I was drawn to this little book by Tomie dePaola, The Legend of the Poinsettia.

Lucinda is a young girl who lives with her parents and younger siblings in Mexico. The colorful illustrations have that southeastern feel to it. Lucinda's community is preparing for Christmas by preparing gifts for the Christ child on Christmas Eve. I loved that the focus of gift giving was for Christ as opposed to the hustle and bustle and commercialism that is so common in American households. The gifts were labors of love too and involved special crafts, skills or homegrown gifts. Lucind and her mama have been asked to weave the special blanket for Baby Jesus as the one they have used for years is very old and worn.

When Lucinda's mama becomes ill, Lucinda is unable to finish the blanket by herself and the more she tries, the more tangled the yarn in the loom becomes. Lucinda is disheartened and worried about her mother, as well as saddened that her family has no gift to give the Christ child. Suddenly an old woman appears and suggests Lucinda pick some simple native weeds and bring them to Christ. In humility, Lucinda does that, and as you can guess, these become the beautiful poinsettia plants, the flor de la Nochelbuena, that we associate with Christmas today!

The reference and picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe was a nice touch for Catholic children who are familiar with story, and it was nice to see the shrine to our lady as part of Lucinda's everyday life. My children identified with Lucinda's fears for her mother, and also her fear of being different from the rest of the community. They also felt it was very brave of her to come forward with such a simple gift in the face of much splendor. After reading the story, my kids also became more aware of the poinsettias at church and other places and we even bought our own!

Overall I think this is a very nice book to read during the Advent season in preparation for Christmas, and a nice way for the family to focus on what is most important during this beautiful holiday.

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