Monday, November 26, 2007

The First Christmas

The First Christmas by Allia Zobel-Nolan is by far the favorite Christian children's book in my house. Yes, it's a Christmas book, but my kids play with it year-round. They love it!

Illustrated by Luana Rinaldo, this boardbook is also a puzzle. Called "a nativity playbook", it features six puzzle pieces that fit in the story. Kids love carrying Mary, Joseph, a shepherd, a sheep and a donkey through their journey until they finally celebrate the birth of Baby Jesus. The text is minimal, but accurate, telling about the very first Christmas. Questions encourage children to interact with the story and remember important details. For example: "Who is Jesus' mother?" prompts the children to place the piece of Mary on that page and remember her name.

What I Like: Everything! The pages are solid and sturdy, able to withstand the abuse of many loving toddlers. The size is great: 10 x 10"! One feature I truly appreciate is the hidden pocket in the cover of the book. This slides open and closed to store all the puzzle pieces when the book is not being played with. The illustrations are bright, filled with primary colors and bold outlines, perfect for young children.

What I Dislike: Nothing. There is one spot where the text is a little awkward, but I'll not hold it against it. In total, this is an exceptional book for toddlers.

Overall Rating: Excellent!

Age Appeal: 2-5

Publisher Info: Kregel KidZone (via Strictly-by-the-Book, Inc.), 2003; ISBN: 0794402224; Boardbook; $9.99

Buy it Now at for $4.99!
A paperback version (same story, but not a puzzle) is available from Amazon for $3.99.

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