Thursday, September 30, 2010

Angela and the Baby Jesus

Title : Angela and the Baby Jesus
Author : Frank McCourt
Illustrated by : Raul Colon (Kids' edition) and Loren Long (Adult edition)
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing

The author Frank McCourt reminisces about one incidence from his mother - Angela's childhood when she was six years old. Most of the stories that we have read so far on Christmas theme are written with either the Christmas eve or the Christmas day in focus but this small book is very different.

It happens a few days before the Christmas day. Baby Jesus is already in the Limmerick Church where little Angela gets to see him - an infant in the crib, but what makes her heart sad, very sad is the fact that little Jesus is lying in the crib in cool, wet, dark December nights without any cover or blanket to keep him warm. She wonders why nobody thought of keeping the baby Jesus warm and so she decides to take this task upon herself. She thinks of a plan to take the baby home with her and keep him warm and cosy. But materialising the plan is not going to be easy when there are a whole bunch of hurdles on the way - she has to keep her plan a secret, she has to pick the baby when the Church is empty, she is aware that stealing is bad thing and she could get punishment for stealing the baby. No matter what, Angela is convinced, she is determined, she has to take care of poor and cold Jesus because she knows how it is to be cold in these chilly nights. Now carrying the baby in her arms, she has to be extra careful. She surely cannot enter her home through the main door which means she has to climb the backyard wall with the baby. She is in despair and asks the baby for help and she does get the help. She is told in her head by the Jesus - "throw the baby over the wall and recover him on the other side". She throws once, she throws twice but her attempts are unsuccessful, finally in the third attempt he goes over but a very terrible thing happens this time, he lands in the wrong backyard. Angela now talks to the baby very sternly and asks him to cooperate and not fly like angles so that he is warm soon. This time baby Jesus obediently obeys the instructions and lands in the right courtyard sporting the same smile on his face all through. She heaves a sigh of relief but the trouble is not over yet, her brother Pat comes out in the backyard and starts questioning her. What would Pat tell the mother and how can Angela still manage to keep the Baby Jesus safe and warm with her on this chilly December night? Who would assure her that the baby is safe? You must read to know the following sequence of events.

Frank McCourt, an author par excellence has an unparalleled ability of weaving extra-ordinary tales from the ordinary situations. A very heartfelt tender story full of love and emotions that is sure to reach out to every little heart and tug some strings there. There are two editions of this book - one for kids and one for the adults. I picked up the one which is for the kids. The riveting drawings by Raul Colon, portraying Angela's emotions are a treat for the readers to savor. Just the title page picture gives an idea what to expect inside the book.


sandhya said...

Sounds like a lovely book, Vibha. I told this story to A today, and she was in splits listening to Angela's efforts. As to what happens at the end- have referred her to Vibha aunty. Else will have to find this book soon!

Vibha said...

Sure Sandhya. I'm sure A will like the happy ending of this story too.

Praba Ram said...

Sure sounds like a riveting one, V. My little one who is into pretend playing with Ganesha, (post Ganesha's birthday) I am sure will be able to relate to Angela's conundrum-ish situation. :)

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