The Animals' Christmas by Elena Pasquali and Giuliano Ferri
|The Animals' Christmas by Elena Pasquali and Giuliano Ferri|
|Genre: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: This is really just the story of the birth of Jesus, rather than a reworking of the story from any animals' points of view as suggested by the books title. It's nicely illustrated though.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: September 2011|
|Publisher: Lion Hudson|
Seeing the title of The Animals' Christmas I had expected this story to provide perhaps an alternate perspective of the Christmas story. However, although the illustrations have lots of animals throughout, the story itself sticks to the traditional telling, with a couple of animal references seemingly thrown in.
I wasn't always sure of the style of writing. Mary seems a little casual in her interactions with the angel who tells her of God's plans for her, almost giggling as she speaks to her. The story has been simplified, for younger readers to follow, and it basically follows the recognisable format of the nativity story.
The illustrations are nicely drawn. I like the scene of poor Joseph, sitting sadly in a chair with a cat on his lap after hearing Mary is to have a baby. I also like their plodding pace in the picture of them heading to Bethlehem - they both look care-worn and weary. There are illustrations on each page, and they do help the story along. The pictures also have rather more to do with animals than the text since there are various creatures depicted throughout - through from that cat sitting with Joseph to bears, snakes and lions!
So what of the animals in the text? Apart from the donkey of course who carries Mary to Bethlehem we do also encounter a goat, who almost trips Joseph up, and the stable has the usual Ox inside. Out in the hills we also have the shepherds discussing the attacks there have been on their sheep from wolves and possibly a leopard. As the wise men wend their way to the stable they hear a lion roar in the night but then the only other animal reference comes right at the end when we're told of Jesus he was the one who would establish a peaceable kingdom, where animals both wild and tame would live together. The quote at the very end of the book references Isaiah 11 which speaks of the animals living together peaceably. I suppose I just felt a little cheated since from the title I'd expected the story to be told from an animals' point of view or done a little differently.
I fear I'm being a little unfair since this is a nice enough book if you're just looking for the nativity story as you'd expect it to be. It isn't particularly special however, so you should probably borrow it first from the library before deciding whether it's one you'd like to add to your collection.
For another nativity story you might also like to try The First Christmas by Jan Pienkowski
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