For ages 3 and up, here’s a first-person narrative about the first Christmas. Author Lee Bennett Hopkins reimagines Mary telling about quiet moments leading up to Jesus’ birth: the Angel Gabriel’s soft announcement and the long, mostly silent trip to Bethlehem.
After Jesus is born, the volume turns up. Everything becomes noisy as shepherds, animals and even a spider visit the new baby. After the shepherds and animals go on their way, Mary has quiet space to wonder, rock and quietly hum to Jesus.
Children will be able to relate to the noise that comes after a baby is born. Those with younger siblings can understand not only the noise of the baby and the parents, who now have another new little one to talk with, but all of the noise created by interested friends and relatives crowding into one’s space.
This story is a gentle acknowledgement that it’s OK to want and take quiet time away from the action. It can remind older children that their parents once enjoyed just such quiet moments and pauses while holding and rocking them when they were very little. And it’s an opportunity to talk about your child’s first visitors, and who they were.
This 32-page oversized hardcover book features illustrations in oil pastels and pencil by Stephen Alcorn. Art on each two-page spread is delicately quiet, reverent and web-like, reflecting throughout the imagery of a spider’s web.