The Nativity

Géraldine Elschner, trans. from the German by Kathryn Bishop, illus. by Giotto. Minedition (IPG, dist.), $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-988-8240-46-3

Vivid, arresting frescoes from Italian painter Giotto, who is credited with helping set in motion what would become the Renaissance period in art, bring an appropriately reverent air to this gently paced and accessible retelling of the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ birth. From the angel Gabriel’s appearance on the opening pages to the adoration of “wise men from the East” and the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt, Elschner solemnly chronicles the pivotal events of Jesus’ early life. A powerful close-up image of the infant’s hand grasping his mother’s finger closes the proceedings alongside the portentous words that Mary will be with her son “Always, until the end.” Giotto’s original frescoes—located in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy, and dating to approximately 1305—are finely reproduced from archival photographs and serve as an elegant complement to the familiar Christmas story. Ages 3–8. (Sept.)
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