Christian families have so many books to choose from when it comes time to share the story of the first Christmas with the youngest members of the family. For those looking to add one more picture book about the real meaning of Christmas to their personal library, "The First Christmas Night" by Keith Christopher and Christine Kornacki is an excellent choice. Filled with the wonder of that miraculous birth and brimming with stunning painted illustrations, this book is sure to become a family favorite that will be read each holiday season for generations.
Using the classic "Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Clement Moore as a format for telling the story of a humble birth in Bethlehem, the author isn't overly simplistic nor does he stretch to make words rhyme that really don't. Instead he uses phrases that seem to flow naturally and rhythmically and that capture the reader with the wonder and excitement that surrounded the birth of the Savior. The arrival of the angels in the fields is announced in the following way.
When suddenly in the sky
there arose such a sight -
one angel, then many,
appeared in the night.
The heavens rejoiced
as their story unfurled;
a baby, a Savior,
had been born to the world.
The illustrations are equally superb; from the cover image of Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus to the last page of two lambs looking on as a baby Jesus sleeps in his hay-filled manger. The images are realistic and cause the reader to pause to look at every detail. The realism continues with the shepherds in rocky hills covered with sparse grass and the images of the three kings who came from the east. The seekers who traveled so fat to bring gifts to the newborn king are swathed in robes of rich fabric and carry their presents in jeweled containers.
The final page of the book is simply the text of biblical story of the first Christmas. Followers of Jesus have the read the story found in the gospels of Luke and Matthew for generations. It is one that never gets old.
For those with young children or grandchildren, this book will become one to share as a family each year during the Christmas season. Young children will enjoy looking at the beautiful illustrations and the story, told in this simple form, is one that can prompt further discussion about the meaning of the season with older children.
"The First Christmas Night"
Author: Keith Christopher
Illustrator: Christine Kornacki
Publisher: Ideals Children's Books, A Guideposts Company
List Price: $16.99
Recommended Age: 4-8 years
The Christian Fiction Examiner received a copy of this book from PR by the Book.