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The Legend of the Poinsettia


4.20  ·  Rating details ·  2,712 ratings  ·  156 reviews
In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside.This Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl's unselfish gift to the Christ Child. Beloved Newbery honor-winning author and Caldecott honor-winnin ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published October 6th 1997 by Puffin Books (first published 1993)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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The Poinsettia came to the US from a Mexican tradition. I didn’t know this. They have a myth about the plant down there and this is the story of that myth. The story touched my heart.

It’s similar to the Little Drummer boy. A young girl’s mother is ill and they have nothing to offer the baby Jesus for Christmas. After meeting a fairy godmother who tells her you can give anything if it’s from the heart, she picks a bunch of weeds. The village can’t believe she would bring weeds to church. A Mirac
Jon Nakapalau
Beautiful book that children will love to have read to them on Christmas.
Season Neal
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Another amazing example of Depaola'a words; this is the story of how the poinsettia became so important to the Christmas tradition. This story is a great way to introduce students to other cultures and their holiday traditions; perfect for a holidays around the world unit. ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Author: Tomie dePaola
Grade: 4th

This Mexican legend is about a little girl (Lucida) who helps her mother weave a blanket for baby Jesus for a celebration on Christmas Eve. Lucida's mother becomes ill and is unable to finish the blanket. Lucida tries to finish it herself but is unsuccessful. She becomes angry at herself and doesn't want to attend the celebration. A women appears out of nowhere and convinces Lucida that any gift is welcome to baby Jesus. Embarrassed, Lucida grabs some green weeds
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
DePaolo depicts a Mexican legend of the origin of the poinsettia in this book. He conveys the emotion of the family situation of the protagonist and the miracle that occurs at the Christmas Eve mass in a beautiful way.
This adds another dimension to the traditional stories of the season. The author's note describes this as a Mexican legend that he wanted to illustrate. I appreciate the idea that gifts come from the heart and are not the price on a tag. ...more
Featured in a grandma reads session.

Dear Tomie dePaola. . . .he captured this legend of how the poinsettia came to be, and I am thankful. The world lost him just this terrible year (2020). Poinsettias are popular in our family, and so is Christmas. It was natural to grab this off the library shelf for a read to my group.

Unexpected words needed explaining. A delightful sprinkling of Spanish, which I'm ever eager to do, pulling out my years-spent-in-Spanish-classes experience; and those related to
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Such a touching story of Christmas magic. Also interesting to learn why it is called a poinsettia!
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: traditional
Awards: n/a

Appropriate grade level(s):kindergarten-3rd grade

Summary: Lucida is a young Mexican girl who is helping her mother make a blanket to cover the figure of Baby Jesus on Christmas. One day, Lucida's mom falls ill so she tries to fix the blanket herself, only to end up tangling it. But with the wisdom of an old mysterious women, Lucida realizes any gift is beautiful and blesses her village with la Flor de Nochebuena- the Flower of the Holy Night- the poinsettia.

Review: I thought this wa
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another beautiful version of the origins of the poinsettia but emphasized with the gorgeous work of Tomie dePaola.

The illustrations match the rest of his work - soft, colorful and full of details. His cultural attention to detail puts you into Mexico.

The writing is simple to read and the very few rare time he uses Spanish there is an in-story definition.

All in all a good book for those who are fans of the author and/or a fan of Christmas legends.
Rachel Aranda
May 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Part of my Texas History lesson. I really enjoyed the artwork and story that Mr. dePaola gave to the story.
The legend of how the poinsettia came to be. It's also a powerful story of a little girl's humble love for Jesus. ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Nice change of pace for those looking beyond traditional Christmas lit fare about trees, Santa, and the like.Although I like Tomie dePaola's illustrations they are forever associated with Strega Nona so I keep expecting to see pages covered in oodles of noodles. ...more
Rosa Cline
This was the first time I read this story and it was so great! The illustrations make the story as well. Will become a traditional story to read every year from now on.
Ellie  Dynek
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lovely book about family, love, and spirituality during one of the greatest celebrations of the year
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Tomie dePaola's books and this one is no exception. It's lovely. ...more
Jenna Mills
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lovely book and a lovely legend. My 2yr old has wanted to read this again and again.
In the Legend of the Poinsettia by Tomie dePaola, a young girl named Lucida and her mother were asked to weave a new blanket to cover Baby Jesus in the Christmas procession. Her mother becomes very sick and she had to finish the blanket by herself. She tried and tried but the yarn kept getting tangled in the loom. She had ruined the blanket and no one could fix it in time.

Since she could not give Baby Jesus the blanket she grabbed the only thing that she could find which were green weeds. She w
Gina Stovall
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Legend of the Poinsettia is a story about a little girl named Lucida who is growing up in the mountains of Mexico with her family. As Christmastime approached, the priest of their church cam up to Lucida's mother and asks her to weave a new blanket for the Baby Jesus in the Christmas procession. Lucinda's mother agreed gladly and included that her daughter will help her. One day right before Christmas Eve, Lucida was told that her mother had fallen ill and she needed to go home to be with he ...more
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was cute! I really liked the illustrations, since they weren't surprisingly, stereotypes, but instead felt like people I know, because Im myself am Mexican, so it felt real, and authentic. I also remember this book as a kid, and now I remember why it stuck with me, for a long time it was the only representation I had as a child, there were people like me-- darker skinned, tanned, who had dark hair, and didn't have features that were considered "beautiful" and so, rereading this book wa ...more
Maria Thompson
Dec 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Awards: None

Grade Level: Kindergarten-2nd

Lucida and her mom work very hard to weave a blanket for the baby JESUS in the towns nativity celebration. Lucida has to finish weaving the blanket because her mom gets sick. Lucida destroys the blanket by accident. Lucida is so ashamed that she goes and hides in the church on CHRISTMAS eve. There an old woman appears to Lucida and explains that any gift is a good gift. Lucida then puts palm trees around the manger which begin to turn into red fla
Destiny Leskovac
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exploring-ells
The Legend of the Poinsettia is a touching tale about young Lucida and her gift to baby Jesus. In the beginning of the story, Lucida has the special duty of assisting her mama with making a new blanket for baby Jesus in the church manger. But then, mama falls ill. Lucida is unable to finish the blanket by herself and becomes upset that she has nothing to give baby Jesus. Then, a wise, old woman tells Lucida that Jesus will love anything Lucida gives him. So, in desperation, Lucida gathers weeds ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story has always had a special place in my heart for two reasons. One, I was Stage Manager in a theatrical production of it, and dePaola was always one of my favorite children's book authors.

Lucida goes through quite a journey in this book. She learns the true value of giving, and how gifts don't have to be shiny or large. If it comes from the heart, and truly has meaning, that is the best gift in the world.

As with many of dePaola's tales this is also an origin story, of how the poinsettia
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucida and her mother are chosen to make a new blanket for the Baby Jesus for the Christmas Eve procession. But when Mama gets sick, she can not finish it. Lucida tries to finish it, but it only gets tangled. She is so distraught, she hides instead of going on the procession. But a mysterious woman tells her that any gift given from the heart is a worthy gift. So Lucida gathers a bundle of weeds and takes them into the church and lays them by the manger. The weeds bloom with beautiful red flower ...more
Lara Lamb
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is simply the transcribed version of an oral folktale that had been handed down from generation to generation about the real origin of the Christmas flower. The illustrations done by dePaulo added to the classic Italian feel of the story and made it enjoyable to follow along. It would be a good story to include in a pre-Christmas unit on folktales and holiday traditions throughout the world.
Ashley Frickson
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: traditional-lit
A legend of how poinsettias came to be. Lucida, a Mexican child, feels she has ruined Christmas because she has no gift to offer Baby Jesus. She carries an armful of weeds into church which suddenly become "tipped with a flaming red star". ...more
Kali Hilliard
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
3-4; traditional literature; An absolute phenomenal book to have on your classroom bookshelf. The characters are not the typical Caucasian Americans. This book is a beautiful asset to incorporating diversity inside the classroom.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story is filled with Mexican tradition of Christmas and the gift that keeps on giving. It also is filled with the idea that no gift is to small as long as you give something from the heart. Love the illustrations and the story that backs it up.
I love this book. I read it to my grandkids on Christmas Eve and they enjoyed it.
Katherine Cramer
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-3090-31-40
A girl wants to honor Jesus on Christmas Eve and give him a gift, but she has nothing special to give him. What will she do on this special night?
I had never heard this story about poinsettias. It is very interesting, and I appreciate the Christmas flower a lot more now, I will definitely be sharing this story over the holidays. The story was interesting as a whole, but I did not enjoy the illustrations and those held me back from liking this book more.

I would read this
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Tomie dePaola (pronounced Tommy da-POW-la) was best known for his books for children.

He had a five-decade writing and illustrating career during which he published more than 270 books, including 26 Fairmount Avenue, Strega Nona, and Meet the Barkers.

Tomie dePaola and his work have been recognized with the Caldecott Honor Award, the Newbery Honor Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and the New

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