Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Til Next Year...

I'm starting the post-Christmas clean-up today. Somehow, what was festive a week ago, looks a bit tired to me now.

However, I'm always sad to put away the Christmas stories, but I do it. It makes them more special the next year.

So, today, I say good-bye to our beautifully illustrated The Nativity by Julie Vivas. The Angel Gabriel descends on wispy, watercolour wings to give the message to Mary...and he's wearing work boots. There's a page with the sequence of Mary's belly growing, much to her surprise. My favourite illustration is when Mary (being GREAT with child) is trying to steer the donkey down a steep hill with a big smile on her face. This book makes the story of Mary and Joseph so human. The baby Jesus looks like a real baby in both his posture and his expression. Kieran is also fascinated by his anatomical accuracy. Love it.

Then, there's bear. We love Karma Wilson's bear stories in our house. And I love the fact that she breaks the publishing house rules of having both rhyming text and anthropomorphic animals. Perhaps it's because she does this so well, there's not much room for less skillful approaches. I also appreciate Jane Chapman's illustrations of the animals. They look like real animals but have convincing emotional expression.

Poor Bear slept through the previous Christmas. This year, his friends make sure he stays awake. As they make their Christmas preparations, Bear keeps falling back into hibernation. Finally, he's the only one awake when a special visitor arrives. Kieran enjoys all the little gifts the animals make for each other. Go back to sleep until next year, Bear.

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