"The world was about to change forever. And it almost went by unnoticed..." Jones begins. In the subsequent pages she imagines how nature might have reacted to the birth of the Savior. Leaves "rustle with a rumor," the wind "whispered it softly in the sycamore trees," a "big brown bear sniffed the air," "the skies shouted it to the seas that thundered it to the waves that roared it to the great white whales that sang it to the starfish in the deep"...and so on. Once in a while, an animal or plant cries, "It's time! It's time!," "Be glad!" "The Mighty King!", or "The Bright and Morning Star!"
The vivid illustrations by Alison Jay depict nature - presumably around the world - reacting to Jesus' birth, until finally we see Bethlehem with shepherds, sheep, and angels surrounding it, then a little barn, then a baby surrounded by animals, then the baby held by his mother and surrounded by animals, then Jesus' family. "Our Rescuer!" Mary cries, and all "gazed in wonder at God's great gift...Heaven's Son sleeping under the stars that he made."
What I Like: This picture book is unlike any Christmas book you've probably ever seen before. Jones' fresh take on the subject matter is based solidly on biblical fact, but shows plenty of imagination and creativity, too. I am reminded of Psalm 96, where the Bible says Jesus' return will be met with a roaring sea and rejoicing trees. Then would it be any wonder if nature rejoiced at his birth?
What I Dislike: Nothing.
Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 and up, but my 3 year old enjoyed it, too.
Publishing Info: Zonderkidz; 2011; ISBN: 978-0310722915; hardback, 32 pgs., $15.99.
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Special Info: Read our other reviews of books by Sally Lloyd Jones.