Advent/Christmas – Nativity

The Donkey’s Dream – Barbara Helen Berger

An donkey carries on his back a miracle, he carries the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem. Along the way he dreams he is carrying a city, a shio, a fountain and a rose.  He dreamed he was carrying a lady full of heaven, which he was.  So much symbolism, gorgeous illustrations. This book perfectly conveys the beauty, majesty and mystery of the Christ Child’s birth.  5 Star!!

 

The Way to Bethlehem – Inos Biffi
Covering the Christmas Story from the Annunciation to the Return to Nazareth;  and the Saints of the Christmas Season includes Mary to Sts Stephen and Thomas Becket; each page is a summation of events.Not a picture story as such although fully illustrated but written for children to understand.

 

The First Christmas – Rachel Billington

An accurate retelling of the Christmas story from the Annunciation to the Nativity with small embellishments.  Illustrations are warm and inviting, text very long. 4.5 Star

 

Bright Christmas: An Angel Remembers – Andrew Clements

An angel reminisces, about the ‘lead up’ to “a certain night” and about the night of the Christ Child’s birth. The text is written in rather a lyrical tone, the pictures are soft, though dark colours.  The focus on the Nativity from an angel’s viewpoint is a clever idea, but…the writing just uninspires me. 3.5 Star

 

 

Rhyming simple text with basic pictures. A sweet story but a bit ordinary. “This is the stable dusty and brown in a quite corner of Bethlehem town.” 3 Star

 

 

 

The Nativity – Francesca Crespi

A simple retelling of the Christmas story, six attractive 3D tableaux with gilded pictures. The 3D shapes are sturdy enough not to make me nervous.  4.5 Star

While Shepherds Watched – Jenni Fleetwood 

Shepherd boy takes his lamb to see Baby Jesus.  Pictures are textual, story plot is passable but not that exciting. 3 Star

 

 

 

 

On this Special Night – Claire Freedman 

Written from the kitten’s viewpoint in the Stable with lots of animals.  Beautiful, warm, light pictures. 4 Star

 

Bethlehem – Fiona French

The story of the first Christmas with text from the King James Bible.  Begins on the road to Bethlehem through to the flight to Egypt. Illustrations are inspired by beautiful stain glass windows. 4 Star

The First Night – BG Hennessy

The night of His Birth, retold in very simple words, perfect for a 2 year old and yet also the simplicity of the words creates a sense of awe that draws in even an adult. Gentle Illustrations. 5 Star

 

Away in a Manger – Sarah Hayes

The story of the Nativity told from different viewpoints, the animals in the stable, an angel, the shepherds, the three wise men, interspersed are the words to six traditional carols. Text very long, illustrations clear. 3.5 Star

 

Stable in Bethlehem – Joy N Hulme

The Nativity in counting rhyme, 12 drowsy doves are cooing, 11 cows are mooing. Simple text suitable for little ones, sweet, soft pictures.

4.5 Star

The Tale of Three Trees – Angela Elwell Hunt

Three trees stand on a mountaintop dreaming of what they want to be when they grow up. God has a plan for them, soft illustrations. The story lends itself to either Christmas or Lent. 4.5 Star

The Little Drummer Boy – Ezra Jack Keats

Illustrated version of the Christmas Carol, each line has its own illustrated page.  The music is at the back.  Normally I’m not a fan of Keats’ artwork, but I love this book, soft and warm.  4.5 Star

 

The Christmas Book – Donna Kelly

Short story of Christmas, told from Baby Jesus’ view, focusing on His senses, “He liked to be held and cuddled.”. Suit small children or emerging reader.  Illustrations by Jim Robison.  4 Star

 

Christmas in the Stable – Astrid Lindgren

A mother tells a girl the story of the first Christmas, the young girl imagines the scene in her own stable.  Swedish flavour. 3.5 Star

 

The Legend of the Three Trees – Catherine McCafferty

Three trees have big dreams for their future. The olive tree wants to be a treasure chest, the oak hopes to be a might ship and the pine wants to stay on the mountain pointing to God.  However God has a much better plan for them.  Text slightly different to the above title,  these pictures don’t appeal as much, they have more of a cartoon look. 4.5 Star

 

The Nativity Story  McCaughrean Geraldine
The complete gospel stories of the Nativity; beginning  with Zechariah, Elizabeth, John; Mary and Joseph, the journey to Bethlehem, Shepherds in the field, the Stable tableau and the arrival of the three wise men.  It is a long book but covers all the Nativity gospel stories.
Another I would like to add to our collection. 5 Star

 

 

Father and Son
Long after the Star has set there was one person still awake in the dark stable watching over a sleeping babe. “Mine but not mine. How can I teach Him His words and letters: He who strung the alphabet together?”
Love the pictures and text, want to add to our collection! 5 Star

 

Christmas – Jan Pienkowski

Nativity story in exact Bible text, illustrations in silhouette   Our children found the silhouette too dark, hence our low rating. 2 Star

Fear Not, Joseph – Julie Stiegemeyer

Beautifully illustrated how obedient St Joseph was to the will of God and how many times an angel appeared and told him to, ‘Fear Not’, from the Annunciation to the Flight into Egypt.  The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. However I skim several parts when reading to my children, some make me ‘itchy’ some simply irritate me. Caveats- when Mary tells Joseph she is to bear a child (they are not yet married) Joseph’s doubts and thoughts are spelt out quite clearly, I heavily censor those two pages, not necessary for children to focus on, and the  Birth, Mary gives birth in pain, she was sinless therefore would not have been in pain!! (Catholic worldview) and the presence of woman attending the Birth (no mention of this in any of the Gospels).  What to rate?? without the caveats this would be a 5 Star and with censoring still can be, but with those only a 3 Star.

 

The Donkey’s Christmas Song – Nancy Tafuri

A baby was born in a stable and each of the animals welcomed Him. Simple text, crisp pictures, perfect for a 1 year old up. 5 Star

The Story of Christmas – Katharine Bamfield & Margaret Tarrant

The Biblical story, the Annunciation, The Nativity, the Flight to Egypt and the return to Nazareth.  Maintains the Bible rhythm with a slight simplification of language in parts, text is long.  Absolutely beautiful illustrations by Margaret Tarrant. 4 Star

 

The Christmas Angel – Joan Gale Thomas

On Christmas Eve a small angel flutters down to see that all is ready for  “the birthday of his Lord”. A sweet telling of the angel’s adventures told in rhyme. 5 Star

The Last Straw – Fredrick K Thury

Hoshmakaka, is a proud but old camel, he is chosen to perform a very special task, to carry the wise men’s gifts to the new baby king in Bethlehem.  On the way Hoshmakaka is given other gifts to take to the new king, the burden is nearly too great for the old camel.      Absolutely, hilarious and a firm family favourite. 5 Star

 

A Book of Christmas – Tasha Tudor

A small 3D overview of some of the Christmas story and a few traditions.  The fragileness of the 3D shapes make me nervous.

3 Star

 

Room for a Little One – Martin Waddell 

“That cold winters’ night a Little One came into the world with animals watching.” Simple text, warm pictures, a yearly favourite. 5 Star

 

The Animals’ Christmas Carol – Helen Ward

A French Carol. ” In a darkening sky a star shone bright over Bethlehem one winter’s night, all the animals were present.”

Warm pictures, lovely text, a favourite each year. 5 Star

 

The Christmas Story – Jane Werner Watson

This will be familiar to many from our own childhoods.  Perfect for young children to listen to the Christmas story, short and succinct. The illustrations are by Eloise Wilkin, beautiful. 5 Star

The Animals’ Christmas Eve – Gale Wiersum

Barn animals recount ‘Christmas long ago’.  A sweet rhyming/counting book.  My copy is old and the illustrations (by Jim Robison) soft and gentle, the newer version’s illustrations look ugly. 4.5 Star (for old version)

A Christmas Journey – Brian Wildsmith

Mary and Joseph leave for Bethlehem and Mary’s cat and dog follow.  Along the journey they gather a host of animals together including a fox, goat and bear. All end up paying homage to the newborn King.  Wildsmith’s familiar illustrations, however some of our children declared it, “too weird” and were not engaged. 3 Star

 

 

 

 

The Dove and and the Messiah – Dorothy Van Woerkom

Based on a legend told at Christmastime in Mexico of how the dove became a symbol for the Holy Spirit. All the animals go to worship the newborn child but the dove, she is shy and no-one thought to tell her, too late does she learn about His birth, she flys back and forth weeping in grief. She decides to follow Him, she sees the Holy Family on their flight to Egypt and detours the soldiers.  Many years later she finally sees Him again in the River Jordan. Black and white illustrations. 4 Star

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