Our Very Own Christmas

Annette Langen, Author, Marije Tolman, Author, Marije Tolman, Illustrator
Annette Langen, trans. from the German by Nina Maria Wieser, illus. by Marije Tolman. North-South (Ingram, dist.), $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4088-1
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In a refreshingly modest Christmas story first published in Switzerland, two children take an imaginative journey across a snowy landscape to re-enact the story of baby Jesus. Traveling with a sheep and sled piled up with wood, the impish boy and girl seek shelter behind makeshift doors in the snow: “ ‘Knock on the next door!’ says Mary.” Their sled, rested atop the wood, finally serves as the stable where Jesus (a bunny) is born, and a star fills the sky with rosy light. The transitions between the present and conditional tenses can be awkward (“And little Joseph nods. ‘Let’s go, Kelly,’ he says. ‘But I would be Mary!’ Kelly says firmly”), but Tolman’s diminutive figures communicate the spirit of the holiday with ease. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
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