cover image The Story of Christmas

The Story of Christmas

Jane Ray. Dutton Books, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44768-9

The King James Version of the Bible provides the text for this graceful and majestic account of Christ's birth. Gospels according to Matthew and Luke tell the story of Joseph's journey to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife Mary, and how under arduous circumstances Jesus was born in a stable there. Although the formal language may be a bit difficult for some younger readers, Ray's ( Noah's Ark ) sumptuous folk art paintings and elegant page borders expand and visually explain the action. Her depiction of the familiar characters as dark-complected Arabs affixes a sense of realism and historical interpretation to the story. A scene showing Mary breastfeeding the baby demonstrates a warmth and human depth that often are missing from religious writings. Gaily garbed angels and delicate touches of luminous gold paint throughout maintain an air of reverence and joy. Worthy of classic status, this gorgeous holiday volume is a source of inspiration for any season. All ages. (Sept.)