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The Donkey's Dream by Barbara Helen Berger

The Donkey's Dream

by Barbara Helen Berger

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Barbara Helen Berger, known for her breathtakingly beautiful artwork, with its vivid, jewel-like palette, lovely border work, and peaceful visual composition, turns her attention here to the story of the Nativity, as seen by the donkey who carried Mary into Bethlehem. Dreaming, during his long journey, the donkey sees himself bearing a marvelous gated city, a rocking ship, a splashing fountain, and a beautiful rose - all images associated with the Virgin Mary, that "lady full of heaven." When the donkey and his burden finally arrive at their destination, they find all doors closed against them, but the lady is carrying a child that cannot wait...

The Donkey's Dream is a lovely little Christmas book, graced with beautiful illustrations, and a gentle narrative that communicates - even to those ignorant of the symbolic iconography that Berger is employing - the enchantment of that night, its beauty and significance, for believers. I have read that, because of its emphasis on Marian symbology, this is a book better suited for Catholic children, but while I can certainly see that the influence here is Catholic, I think the story and artwork have broader appeal and significance. Recommended to anyone looking for Nativity Stories for the very young, or to anyone who just appreciates beautiful artwork! ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 30, 2013 |
I decided to write this review because I love this book very much, I love this author/illustrator's beautiful work and I love this timeless mythological story. People say and rightfully so that this book tells the story of the night of Christ's birth. One of the reasons that I love this book is that it tells this familiar story that actually predates Christ by centuries without ever once using the well-known names of Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph or Jesus. You see, it is told from the perspective of the humble little donkey that carried the Mother who was pregnant with Her Son. A little donkey would know nothing of names, nothing of salvation, nothing of the doings of kings or priests or tax collectors. By telling the tale from this humble perspective no one is excluded from it's sweet and graceful message. I am a Pagan and at Winter Solstice or Yule I celebrate the Goddess's labor and delivery of her beautiful Son/Sun, the light,the sacrificial king who comes to renew the world, as the wheel of the year turns from it's dark half unto it's light half. The message of hope and life that the returning and growing rays of the sun promise to the sleeping earth fills my heart with gladness. I begin to anticipate spring and I renew my faith in the wisdom and love of the Earth's cycle.
The pictures in this book are exceedingly beautiful and tell the tale of the little donkey's dreams as he walks along. He doesn't know that he is carrying the hope of the world on his back, but he feels the magic in his dreams and thinks of a magnificent city glowing with promise, a huge rose glowing with softness and beauty, a fountain that waters the desert and brings the barren world to life with lush plants, and a sailing ship that carries him over the waters on his path. Like all good myths this story is timeless and transcultural. The symbols of one path speak the same language as others. The text is surrounded by lovely blue forget-me-nots on many pages and I think it is a gentle reminder to everyone to remember the inclusive message of the Winter Solstice and of Christmas that sees us all as one, bravely and faithfully facing the darkness together with hope in our spirits and love in our hearts. Ms. Berger uses a wonderful jewel-like blue color in many of the illustrations and it evokes a serene and peaceful feeling that adds to the overall message of the pictures. The Queen of Heaven is draped in the softly glowing folds of a starry sky and her little baby son gives off a gentle glow in her arms. The story is so gentle and humble. I love this book because it tells a story that belongs to the whole world and it doesn't make anyone feel left out. ( )
  Treeseed | Mar 4, 2008 |
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For my mother, with love
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Once there was a gray donkey.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399212337, Hardcover)

A beautifully illustrated story of the Nativity.  He was just an ordinary donkey, but on his back he carried a miracle. He carried the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem on the night she gave birth. Along the way he dreamed he was carrying a city, a ship, a fountain, and a rose. He dreamed he was carrying a lady full of heaven--and he was. Barbara Helen Berger's glowing artwork and lyrical text perfectly convey the beauty and majesty of the story of the Nativity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:26 -0400)

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A donkey has fantastic dreams while crossing the desert, and at the end of the day the lady who has been riding on his back gives birth in a cave to a very special baby, the baby Jesus.

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