cover image The Legend of the Christmas Rose

The Legend of the Christmas Rose

Ellin Greene, Selma Ottilia Lagerloef. Holiday House, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0821-4

In this splendid retelling of a traditional Swedish folktale, an outcast family stops one day at a cloister to admire the abbot's private garden. Robber Mother tells the abbot of a far more glorious garden she knows of deep in the forest, one that blooms each Christmas Eve in remembrance of the Christ Child. The abbot longs to see it, and promises to ask the bishop for Robber Father's pardon if she will show it to him. In due course Robber Mother takes him there, but the young monk he has brought with him spoils the visit through his jealousy and fear. Though the Christmas garden never blooms again, each year at holiday time the Christmas rose sends forth its white blossoms. Greene's prose is crisp and elegant, and Mikolaycak's slightly brooding illustrations--in somber browns and greys--tie in well with the story's myth-like elements. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)