Posts Tagged ‘legends’

We watched the season’s obligatory It’s a Wonderful Life on tv the other night.  At the friends’ every mention of “hee-haw” I was reminded that I had gotten a Christmas book out of the library and hadn’t yet read it to the kids.  We remedied that yesterday and even made a school lesson out of it.

St. Francis and the Christmas Donkey is by Robert Byrd. The story tells of St. Francis walking in the woods when he started a conversation with a very grumpy donkey who was tired of being pushed around by the other animals.  St. Francis then tells donkey the story of how he became a beast of burden and ultimately how that prepared him for his most special job of carrying Mary and her unborn baby Jesus.

Overall we all enjoyed this story.  It reads wonderfully, smoothly and tells the story simply yet dramatically.  It reminds me a little bit of a gentler, better version of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories, because it talks about how the donkey got his long floppy ears and scraggly tail.  It’s a longer story, better for 4 and up, most likely.  The illustrations are lovely and vibrant.

The story talks about the story of Creation, but takes great liberty in recounting the events, so that may be a concern to some people.  But it is in typical legend form and reads as such, not meant to be taken as a literal account of the creation of the world.

We used this book as our daily advent reading, then transitioned to a science lesson about donkeys and their characteristics, and how they have been used in different cultures.  This could also be a great book to read for St. Francis’ feast day.


Read Full Post »

I’ve had this book on our Christmas reading list for quite a while, but it wasn’t until this year when we moved to a new library system that I was able to check it out.  The Legend of the Candy Cane:  The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy had the potential of being a great story, but I think it has missed the mark a bit.  Perhaps I am spoiled by Tomie dePaola‘s style of retelling legends.  dePaola has a gifted way of taking many different versions of legends and weaving them together to create a smooth, sensible story.  In the Candy Cane book, the title leads you to think you’re going to hear about the legend of the candy cane, how it came to be and the meaning behind it.  In fact, the story is about a man who sets up a new candy shop and passes out candy canes to the townsfolk with the message of the symbolism behind it.

If you’ve not heard the symbolism of the candy cane, here’s the run down…

-It’s in the shape of a J for Jesus, or a shepherd’s hook, for Jesus is the Good Shepherd

-The red stripes are for the whipping that Jesus endured and his blood shed for us

-The white is for the mercy and grace we receive  from Jesus by making us pure

I wouldn’t put this book on my fail list, and my kids enjoyed it well enough, but it isn’t one they have asked for a second time.  It lacks in the true story telling department.

A better version of this would be one that combines the legends of the beginnings of the candy cane, or how it evolved and how the creators shared the message of Christ through the candy…or something like that.  Maybe I’ll see if Tomie dePaola needs another book idea.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: