Monday, December 24, 2012

Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo

The original plan was to start my review of Great Joy by Kate DiCamillo with two Christmas lists, but I quickly realized that both lists were the same. So I combined them. And now I share them with you.

Things That Have Become Associated With Christmas  AND  Things That Really Have Nothing To Do With Christmas:

Candy canes, cookies, red and green, fake reindeer antlers, bad sweaters, bells, over-sized stockings, spruce trees, Black Friday, an increase in mail, “Ho Ho Ho,” the Christmas Eve vs. Christmas morning debate, “Bah, humbug!” and these guys.

Anyway, back to the book review.

“The week before Christmas, a monkey appeared on the corner of Fifth and Vine.” He wore a green vest and a red hat and was accompanied by an organ grinder who played music. From her apartment across the street, Frances could see the old man and his monkey, and when it became very quiet in the apartment, she could sometimes hear the music “sounding sad and far away, like music from a dream.”

Curious where they went in the evening, Frances sneaks a peek one night to discover that they sleep on the street. In the cold. Alone. Frustrated at their circumstances, and at the fact that her mother won’t allow them to come for dinner, Frances rushes over to them on her way to the church Christmas play and invites them to the show.

And here’s what Christmas is really about. When Frances takes the stage, she temporarily forgets her line, an important line in the Christmas story. The shepherds whisper a reminder and the camel sways nervously, waiting, but … nothing.

Nothing, that is, until a cold old man and his monkey quietly enter the warm sanctuary.

“Behold!” Frances shouted. “I bring you tidings of Great Joy!”
And because the words felt so right, Frances said them again. “Great Joy.”

That’s what Christmas is really about. Frances’ announcement. The “tidings of Great Joy” that this young angel brings to an old man and his monkey are the same as those announced years ago by a more experienced angel. “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

Merry Christmas. May it be filled with Great Joy.

1 comment:

  1. I took this book out of the library last week after reading someone's post of great Christmas books. (was it a Nerdy post?) Nicely done.

    Merry Christmas, fellow friend of the shiny pate.


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