cover image Merry Birthday, Nora Noel

Merry Birthday, Nora Noel

Ann Dixon. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8028-5105-5

`Tis the season for Nora's father to share the special story of the months leading up to her Christmas birthday as he lights the family's Advent candles, symbolizing the Christian preparation for Christmas. But while human gestation and Advent may have their similarities, their juxtaposition here is an uneasy one. The use of flashbacks to the time before Nora's birth may confuse young readers, and the custom of lighting Advent candles as a religious practice remains vague until its explanation in an endnote. Graham's dreamy oils set a cozy, reassuring tone, but the superimposed black typeface is almost unreadable on several of the darker spreads. Ages 3-5. (Sept.)