The Miracle of the First PoinsettiaBy
Written by Joanne Oppenheim and Illustrated by Fabian Negrin
This book shares another beautiful version of the Mexican Legend of how a simple weed became a beautiful gift for the Baby Jesus, because it was given with love. The story takes place during Las Posadas (see explanation below) when Joseph and Mary’s quest to find a place to stay in Bethlehem is reenacted. Little Lucinda is sad because her family has fallen on heard times and she does not have a gift to bring to the alter – a custom in Mexico during the nights before Christmas. An angelic voice tells her to gather weeds and – embarrassed – she does so. As she walks down the long aisle to the church, the whole congregation gasps because her simple weeds have burst into bloom as beautiful poinsettias.
This book has a bit more detail then the Tomie DePaulo “Legend of the Pointsettia” and boasts lovely dream-like illustrations by Argentinian artist, Fabian Negrin. The Miracle of the First Poinsettia also shares the music to a lovely Mariachi song sung during this time of year called El Rorro (the babe) . However, both stories share the wonder of this legend, the joy of Christmas miracles and a lovely explanation of why this beautiful flower shines so brightly in so many houses at holiday times.
Las Posadas – Originally a Spanish custom, this tradition of reenacting Joseph and Mary’s search for an inn (posada) before the birth of Jesus is celebrated in Mexico and also in the US Southwest, with slight variations.
Originally native to Mexico, beautiful poinsettia plants decorate homes around the world every holiday season. But few people who love the plant s deep red tones know the traditional Mexican tale about how the poinsettia first came to be. In this extraordinary collaboration, Fabian Negrin brings his warm, glowing scenes to Joanne Oppenheim s thoughtful narrative, transporting readers to Old-World Mexico and into the arms of a young girl as her trust leads her straight into a miracle. A beautiful alternative to the traditional nativity story, this book is a wonderful evocation of Mexican customs and culture.