Advent Days 13 and 14

The Nutcracker

There are a lot of versions of the Nutcracker out there but this one by Susan Jeffers is my favorite. (I like the idea of reading the original by E.T.A. Hoffman but have to admit that when I tried reading it to John last year neither of us enjoyed it.) I think that Jeffers explains best why this book is special in her Author’s Note.

When I looked at all of The Nutcrackers available, I was struck with two things. First, they all seemed to have intricate and lengthy texts. I couldn’t imagine reading these long retellings to a picture-book-age child.

Second, I noticed the absence of the ballet in the books available for children….My affection for The Nutcracker fairy tale is rooted in the ballet.

….I decided that I had two good reasons to attempt my own version. The first one was to write and illustrate a book that would follow the story of the beloved ballet, and the second was to create a book that will, I hope, speak to a child.

In my opinion, she succeeds at both goals. The text is simple and engaging. The pictures are gorgeous. And she does a lovely job at interweaving pictures of dancers and giving it a feel of the ballet, without making it just a ballet book.

What Can I Give Him?

Today’s book was What Can I Give Him? by Debi Gliori. The text is from the poem In The Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti. The illustrations by Gliori show two little girls, one in the time of Christ and one in modern times. The actions of the little girls mirror each other and reflect the lines of the poem. It’s very nicely done and was especially good for us to read today as John has been working on memorizing this poem in school. It’s a beautiful poem and he’s doing really well with it.

In case you don’t know it, here it is.

In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give Him,
Give my heart.

One thought on “Advent Days 13 and 14

  1. Pingback: Poetry Friday « Supratentorial

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