The Night of Las Posadas

by Tomie DePaola

Hardcover, 1999



Local notes

394.26 Dep




Putnam Juvenile (1999), Edition: First Edition, 32 pages


At the annual celebration of Las Posadas in old Santa Fe, the husband and wife slated to play Mary and Joseph are delayed by car trouble, but a mysterious couple appear who seem perfect for the part.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

32 p.; 8.84 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member coolcaro
This book tells the story of the Southwester tradition of re-enacting what happened the night of Jesus' birth. Although not all students in a class celebrate Christmas, in a diverse classroom there will be students who speak Spanish and who know the story of Jesus' birth. So, in using this story as
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a read aloud to your class around Christmastime in December, the students would be introduced to another way that people celebrate Christmas. Tomie dePaola's beautiful illustrations and intriguing story-telling add to the attractiveness of using this book in your classroom.
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LibraryThing member nmhale
Sister Angie has been in charge of Las Posadas for years (a religious tradition where the congregation musically reenacts Mary and Joseph hunting for an inn on Christmas Eve). This year, she is honored to have her niece and nephew taking the roles of Mary and Joseph. However, plans go awry when
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Sister Angie gets sick and her relatives are stuck in the mountains because of a snow storm. Just when it looks like Las Posadas is ruined, a mysterious couple arrive in town to fill in for Lupe and Roberto, and the Christmas tradition can be upheld once again.

This is a beautiful story, illustrated with de Paola's unique and incomparable form. The pictures are acrylic on watercolor, done in the naive style. The colors are warm and vibrant and transmit the holiday feel and the love expressed in the story. In his words and art, the author conveys a modern miracle, told with the right amount of mystery and restraint, and brings to his story all the warmth of the holidays in his luminous pictures.
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LibraryThing member jenvid
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, every Christmas, the town prepares for a play when Joseph and Mary searched for shelter in Bethlehem. Sister Angie does not make it because of the flu, yet she witnesses a miracle towards the end of the story. I found this tale to touching, and it taught me not to give up
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hope on miracles. They always happen when you least expect them. I was raised Catholic, so I found this story touching. I would love to read this book if I taught in a Catholic school. It would give my students a look at different Christmas traditions.
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LibraryThing member lakertraw
This book is about the celebration of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter on Christmas Eve. This is a celebration that takes place in Spain, Mexico and some Southwestern American States. This story is based around Sister Angie's play of the event and the miracle that takes place on this night. I think
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this would be a good book to read in Catholic Schools to give the students a cultural aspect to this event.
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LibraryThing member ewestr1
There were many things I enjoyed about this book but it wasn't my favorite thing to read. I loved the illustrations more than anything in this book. The illustrations are bright and colorful and clearly show what is going on in each page. The illustrations show what this town looks like and how Las
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Posadas is a big event to this town every year. Different places all over the world celebrate Christmas differently so this book does a good job at informing the reader through a story how these people prepare themselves for this holiday. To this village in Santa Fe, putting on this production is a huge thing for everyone because it has been going on for so long. I liked the twist at the end where we think that the people portraying Maria and Jose are actually the actors when in reality this town may have seen a miracle. I think that the author's message was to show how different Christmas can be culturally and even to give a sense of hope with the miracle witnessed at the end.
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LibraryThing member joycecafe
In a little mountain village above Santa Fe, the community begins preparations for Las Posadas. Sister Angie is in charge of organizing the celebration and is proud that this year her Niece, Lupe and Lupe's new husband, Roberto, will portray Mary and Joseph. She tells the men playing the devils how
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to dress and what to do. Roberto is nervous about playing Joseph, so Sister Angie suggests they go to the see the wood carving of Maria and Jose at the church for inspiration.The wood carving includes a burro, but the town had stopped using a burro in the procession years ago. When the night of Las Posadas comes, Sister Angie comes down with the flu, and isn't able to attend the celebration. Lupe assures her Tia that they will make her proud. It begins to snow as the townspeople are busy making final preparations. Roberto and Lupe got stuck in the snow on their way to the village, and everyone anxiously wonders where they are. Suddenly a young couple with a burro show up, claiming to be friends of Sister Angie. They explain that Lupe and Roberto are stuck in the snow and that they have come to take their place in the procession. Father Vasquez gratefully begins the procession. The singers, candle bearers and devils all play their parts in the procession.When they arrive at the church, the mysterious couple vanishes, but Roberto and Lupe finally arrive, confused at hearing about the mysterious friends of Sister Angie. Sister Angie feels better and goes to the church to light a candle. When she places her candle by the carving, she sees wet footprints leading up to it and fresh snow on the clothes of Maria and Jose.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
It is Christmas Eve, and in a small mountain village above Santa Fe, the annual Las Posadas procession is set to begin. An annual Christmas tradition in which the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem is reenacted, it features Maria and José pleading for entry to multiple "inns," only to be
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denied by various devils (vigorously booed by the crowd) before finally finding shelter in the courtyard of the Palace of Governors, where a great celebration would be held. Organized each year by Sister Angie, Los Posadas is a community event of great importance, but when that redoubtable nun comes down with the flu, and the couple meant to play Maria and José are stranded in the snow, it looks like it can't go forward. It is at this point that a different Mary and Joseph arrive, claiming to be friends of Sister Angie, and willing to play their part to keep the celebration going...

I have loved Tomie dePaola's work since I was a girl, from his wonderful stories about that grandmotherly witch, Strega Nona, to his beautiful retelling of the French folk-tale, The Juggler, in his classic picture book, The Clown of God. As it happens, the latter is my favorite book by dePaola, and I never fail to be thrilled by its tale of a wonderful, if slightly melancholy miracle. Here too, in The Night of Las Posadas, dePaola spins the story of a miracle, and I felt that same thrill, when it was revealed. There is much to enjoy in this book, from dePaola's trademark illustrations—always appealing!—to the many cultural details of a Christmas tradition unfamiliar to me (and to many other American children, I would imagine). I enjoyed the relationship between Sister Angie and her niece and nephew-in-law, Lupe and Roberto, and I appreciated the extra information about this custom that the author included in his brief afterword. Recommended to picture book readers looking for Christmas stories featuring Spanish / Latino cultural traditions, as well as to those seeking tales of the miraculous.
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½ (26 ratings; 3.9)
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