Saturday, November 28, 2009

Touch and Feel Christmas

I've never met a young child who didn't love touch-and-feel books, so I was delighted to find Touch-and-Feel Christmas by Heather Henning, a simple, heavy-paged book with plenty of textures to see and feel.

In the rhyming text, the biblical story of Jesus' birth is told, from the journey Mary and Joseph took to the visit from the Wise Men (depicted as happening shortly after Jesus' birth). We learn that Jesus was born to save us from our sins and that he's God's son.

But it's the illustrations by Gillian Chapman that grabbed my preschooler and me. They appear to be made from layers of different types of cloth which are then photographed. And each two page spread features a texture you can not only see, but touch, like the innkeeper's beard, the donkey's silky ears, the angel's glittery wings, the lamb's fleece, and the slick and shiny Star of Bethlehem.

What I Like: This is a great introduction to the story of Jesus' birth; it gives all the basics and the illustrations are truly engaging.

What I Dislike: The older I get, the more I dislike renditions of Jesus' birth that show the Magi appearing in the stable. (The Bible says they appeared at Joseph and Mary's house; see Matt. 2:11.) Also, the book ends rather abruptly with the giving of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. However, I think these are relatively minor grumbles for a book that is likely to interest a great many babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: According to the 4 - 8, but I'd say infant to preschool.

Publishing Info: Concordia, 2007; ISBN: 978-0758613837; board book, $10.49

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