Monday, December 7, 2009

The First Night

In The First Night, by B.G. Henessey, the story of Jesus's birth is told with simplicity. The author uses tender, peaceful language to describe the setting of that wondrous night. Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher created paintings over wood and used rich earth tones to provide texture and a rustic look to the illustrations.

After the shepherds witness the star moving across the sky, the author tells us about the stable and that there was a mother, a father, and a baby. No specific names are used, and we are not told that the baby is the Son of God. The baby feels the air, his blanket, and his mother's arms. We're told His life began in the stable, and then the story ends.

What I Like: I like the emphasis on how Jesus began life as just another baby, but I think the story should continue and point out why He was special. The illustrations and text are very soothing.

What I Dislike: This book doesn't really tell the Christmas story. It begins with the shepherds in a field, the star, and the stable, but then changes to the viewpoint of Baby Jesus when it says, "He saw the swaying lantern, the donkey, and the woolly lamb." Although the Bible verse John 1:14 is stated after the title page, we're never told the purpose of His life or that He is the son of God.

Overall Rating: Good.

Age Appeal: Ages 3 to 8.

Publisher Info: Viking Juvenile, 2008; ISBN: 0670011363; Hardback $16.99.

Buy it Now at for $12.99.

OR Buy it at for $13.25.

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