We purchase a new Christmas story book every year, and when I found this one at Indigo Bridge bookstore, I just immediately fell in love with it. It delighted me, made me laugh out loud in the store, and was just a refreshing change from typical.
Janice Harayda gives a great explanation of a few of the delights from this book:
The Nativity has several big advantages over most other picture books about birth of Christ and the arrival of the shepherds and wise men. One of these is that it tells the story through the rich and resonant text of the Gospel of Luke from the King James Version of the Bible, dropping only a phrase or two here and there for clarity or space. (“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” becomes “Fear not, I bring you tidings of great joy.”) Another advantage of the book is that the characters have no fixed race, so all kinds of families can identify with them. A third is that Vivas provides dynamic but offbeat and deglamorized watercolor illustrations — no gilt halos, no foil star, no flocked sheep. So The Nativity is more accurate than many of the books that have a Jesus, Mary, and Joseph who might have come straight from a DreamWorks casting call.
I fell hard for this book, I think it is a beautiful example of “New Nostalgia.”
The text comes right out of the Old King James version I read, memorized, and fell in love with as a kid, but the art is a completely different story. The characters are a bit sloppy and tatty. The angel gabriel has a ripped wing and is wearing boots that are flopping open with shoe strings untied. There is a page where Joseph is helping very pregnant Mary onto the donkey, bending down and making a stirrup with his hands for her to step into..my girls think that is so funny. Another one I love is while the angels tell the shepherd about their Savior, a couple decide to fly down and take a little ride on the sheep. The illustrator is able to, in my opinion, have a perfect balance of humor, whimsy and genuineness, without ever crossing the line into irreverence. There is a page where baby Jesus is exactly how he came into this world, before he was swaddled. Nothing that a little sticker couldn’t cover if you so desire.:)
You can browse through some of the pictures by clicking on this link.
A few others we love are: