cover image Christmas Songbook

Christmas Songbook

J. Ed. Bowman, Peter Bowman. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (13pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21918-4

One page of each spread in this elegant book contains a carol, complete with music. The other illustrates the song in two versions: a hidden scene is revealed by pulling a ribbon. ``We Three Kings'' shows the magi on their journey; with a tug on the ribbon, the travelers appear up close, arriving at Bethlehem and bearing their gifts. Children, parents and cat sleep peacefully through a ``Silent Night''; a ribbon pull reveals the Christ child in the manger surrounded by benevolent animal guardians. Not all the changeling artwork creates equal drama (for ``The First Noel,'' nothing more than a star and a shepherd appears), but all of these softly tinted paintings are exquisitely drawn and detailed. The book as a whole is well designed and sturdy, one that children will treasure for many Christmases to come. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)