Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Monday, December 14, 2009

Great Joy

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Frances lives in an apartment building on the corner of Fifth and Vine. Every day she watches an organ grinder and his monkey play music for the people passing by on the street. As Frances prepares for the Christmas pageant at church she is worried about where the organ grinder goes at night. When Frances discovers he sleeps on the street she is very concerned and wants to help him in some way. The night of the pageant Frances invites the organ grinder to attend. Frances is only able to say her line "I bring you tidings of Great Joy" when the whole community, even the organ grinder is in attendance.

I must admit to being a bit disappointed in this story. The last page of the book the organ grinder is welcomed in church but that is where the story ends. He seems happy to be involved in the community but I think I wanted a little more substance from author Kate DiCamillo. The illustrations are very warm looking and remind me of illustrations from the 1940's or 50's. It is a sweet story and would be a good read aloud before a nap or bedtime to wind down. The only mention of Christmas in the story is a little talk of the pageant. Overall a good story but not particularly a good one about Christmas.

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