Dance in the Desert

Describes an encounter in the desert when the animals came to a caravan campfire and danced with a child because fear was absent.
Dance in the Desert Describes an encounter in the desert when the animals came to a caravan campfire and danced with a child because fear was absent

  • Title: Dance in the Desert
  • Author: Madeleine L'Engle Symeon Shimin
  • ISBN: 9780374416843
  • Page: 265
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Dance in the Desert”

    1. To those wondering if this is an allegory about "a family" and "a little boy" in the "dessert". I totally took this as an imaginative exploration of the journey the toddler-aged Jesus takes with Mary and Joseph as they flee Herod's wrath, traveling from Bethlehem to Egypt. Given L'Engle's religious background, I think this is a fair assumption. And that makes it a truly marvelous story with amazing illustrations. If animals are going to dance with a child--animals which include a snake, a lion, [...]

    2. A nameless account of the Flight To Egypt, or rather, one night thereof, mostly, "where nobody was afraid and everybody danced." The illustrations are striking, and her account is peppered with allusions -- which are actually, more than many adults will recognize.

    3. L'Engle drops all kinds of hints that we are hearing a story about the Holy Family's exile to Egypt. The basic idea is nice, and the prose is of her typical high quality. I can get with some of the other medieval Christian imagery - the lion, the ass, the unicorn and the virgin, the bleeding pelican - but the dragons and the snake are just not fitting in. At no point does the serpent get a pardon from the condemnation in Genesis: "I will put enmities between thee [the serpent] and the woman, and [...]

    4. As you can see I was on a L'Engle kick, so I picked this one up just because I'd never heard of it and it was really short. It's supposed to be an allegory, but I didn't get it. A family is travelling through a dangerous desert with a group of merchants, and while they camp at night the animals come and dance with the young child and each other. The end.Maybe it's about the power of innocence? The beauty of children bringing peace to the world? Is the child supposed to be Christ? Do the animals [...]

    5. This is a magical, mythical book with stunningly beautiful illustrations. Poetically beautiful, it tells the tale of a couple who are crossing the dangerous desert with their infant child. With grace, tranquility and innocence, the young boy child discovers that all the animals dance before him.Where there should be fear, there is peace. Where there should be danger, there is solace. Where there is darkness, there is also light. Where there should be gnashing of teeth, there are soft paws heaven [...]

    6. This book shares a lot of the same problems that I have complained about in L'Engle's works in the past. The writing is beautiful (as are the illustrations), but the symbolism doesn't quite work. The common interpretation of this book seems to be that the child featured in the story is a young Jesus Christ and that his love and gentleness are so powerful that they tame even the wildest animal. All of this works fine, except that little Jesus is able to win over a snake. In Christianity, a snake [...]

    7. I really loved a winkle in time so I figured I'd love any of L'Engle's books. And it wasn't that I didn't like Dance in the Desert, it's that I didn't adore it, probably because it was all about Jesus. And L'Engle was rather sneaky about it to, she acts just telling a story of a "husband and wife" and a boy, but the wife's often called "mother" and the husband is never called "father." And she never called the boy Jesus, but he so is! I just feel like if you're going to tell a story about Jesus [...]

    8. Every new library I go to I look to see if they have anything by Madeleine L'Engle and Dorothy Gilman that I haven't read yet. So when I found a new L'Engle book, I was intrigued. But it left me wanting — usually in her other books I can love the story and the mystery and just not pay too much attention to the new cosmology Christianity in the allegories. All the animals in the desert come upon a boy traveling with his parents and instead of eating him, they dance! And then bow to him! Words l [...]

    9. This is a beautiful Christian allegory. Not being Christian myself, it's not as touching to me as it would be to a Christian. That being said, this reads like a fairy tale, showing the nature and power of the Christ child. It even hints at Mary's virginity, by having the Unicorn drawn to her. This would be a wonderful gift for a Christian family with small children.

    10. A fantastical, whimsy story about a young family traveling through the desert once upon a time. The spiritual implications are evident, much more central and present than in many of L'Engle's works, but they don't detract to the story. L'Engle is a pro at such things, and this simple book compliments all the other books I've read by her. A fun, quick read.

    11. This book was cute. I think I would have liked it better when I was younger. It's funny because I can see my second daughter, E, liking it a lot but I can't see my older daughter, N, enjoying it at all. N has a definite aesthetic that I don't think mingles well with L'Engle's aesthetic. . . so, if you like L'Engle's other stuff you'll like this. But if you don't, you won't.

    12. Not stated but this is the story of Joseph and Mary's flight with their baby Jesus into Egypt. For more on the same story but very different illustrations see The Picturesque Ideas On The Flight Into Egypt by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo; these are lovely woodcuts.

    13. Read during a silent retreat, on the advice of another retreatant who found it delightful. It was.The blurb for this book is bizarre and inaccurate. I have to assume that whoever wrote it missed the entire point of the story.

    14. Not sure about this one. A fable about the Holy Family crossing the desert to Egypt. The pictures are cool, but somehow a little strange or off. The story is just a little too fantastical, maybe.

    15. There are few stories of Christ as a child. This sweet offering is one that I would love to imagine occurred as one of his earliest miracles. So beautiful.

    16. This is one of the few (maybe the only?) picture books that Madeleine L'Engle has ever written, and it's a beautiful story of desert animals and a child who might be Jesus.

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