Monday, November 15, 2010

The Story of Christmas

The Story of Christmas is a beautifully-illustrated, imaginative retelling of the story of Christmas, designed for children ready for a more complete narrative of the birth of Christ. Stephanie Jeffs stays very true to the Gospel accounts found in Matthew and Luke, but she does include details, such as Mary sweeping the floor when the angel appeared, or beads of sweat sparkling on the busy innkeeper's forehead, to allow children to visualize the story better.

The book begins with the angel's announcement to Mary, and continues through Mary, Joseph and Jesus' escape to Egypt.

John Hayson's watercolor illustrations are bright and realistic, and depict Mary, Joseph and Jesus as a Middle Eastern family. Hayson is particularly skilled at portraying wonder and joy on the faces of all who encounter Christ.

What I Like: I really like the illustrations. They give us a sense of actually being there, and Hayson's use of color, light and facial expressions will appeal to readers of all ages.

I also liked the details Jeffs includes about the feelings Mary may have had. It is easy to take her for granted, but she really was an amazing young woman.

I appreciate the book's historical accuracy. Especially, Jesus is depicted as an adorable two-year-old at the time of the Wise Mens' visit.

What I Dislike: Nothing, although my oldest daughter pointed out all the passages not included in the biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus. I had to remind her it was similar to historical fiction.

Overall Rating: Very good

Age Appeal: 4-7

Publisher Info: Concordia Publishing House, 2005; ISBN: 978-0-7586-2542-7; Hardcover, 32 pages, $12.99

Buy it at for $11.04.

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