Saturday, November 21, 2009

Away in a Manager

Mike Jaroszko's Away in a Manager puts the familiar Christmas carol in book form with masterful and stunning illustrations.

Each page illustrates some part of the biblical Christmas story, along with the simple words from the old, beloved song. For example, we see the shepherds visiting baby Jesus, Joseph, and Mary; we see a baby wrapped in cloth and laying in a manger; we see cattle looking curiously at the baby and the baby stirred awake.

In the second verse of the song (beginning "Be near me, Lord Jesus"), we see a young boy visiting church with his parents and younger sibling, praying, and giving gifts.

Throughout, the illustrations are realistic, glowing, and just plain lovely. It's easy to tell Jaroszko has worked as an illustrator for the Smithsonian, Reader's Digest, Scholastic, and other notable companies.

What I Like: This book is simple and stunning. My preschooler loves it.

What I Dislike: Nothing, really, although I think it's kind of funny newborn baby Jesus looks about two or three months old. Also, some parents who wish to avoid illustrations of grown up Jesus will object to the last page of the book, which shows Jesus welcoming the reader into Heaven.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8, but many toddlers will enjoy this book, too.

Publishing Info: Concordia, 2009; ISBN: 978-0758614971; hardback, $13.49

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