'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday, 2 December 2019

Review: The First Christmas

The First Christmas is the Nativity story retold. It invites hope, joy, kindness and a renewal of faith into our lives in times of desperation, disbelief and indifference. 

It reminds us that what we celebrate is a time of giving and sharing – the true meaning of Christmas spirit. 

Its message comes wrapped between the covers of a beautifully designed and presented book, whose end pages are a delightful visual experience.

Jess Racklyeft’s illustrations in her simplistic, singular style, fill whole pages. For the pages with smaller images, the importance of the scene becomes magnified.

The text is unobtrusive. It whispers on the page; visible yet not. Like a voice behind a curtain narrating, while allowing the artwork to claim all the attention and tell the story in moving pictures.

Shadowed images of Mother and Child hover in the corner. A shining star in the sky enhances the wonder on the shepherd’s faces as they gaze toward its light.  Then the pilgrimage to Bethlehem brings the visitors to the stable. Images of all kinds of animals, including a hen with her chicks, surround the cradle with the new-born child.

The three kings that have followed the star arrive with their offerings. Gifts to share, given with love. An air of mystery and the divine seems to exude from each page.

The illustrations with a modern touch, will appeal to children and adults as they come clothed in a child-like innocence. Vibrant colours and defining lines accent all the illustrations. Children can search and find the beautiful birds which are Jess’ favourite thing to draw, along with other tiny animals which at first look remain unnoticed.

Title: The First Christmas
Author: Anonymous
Illustrator: Jess Racklyeft
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $24.99
Publication Date: October 2019
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780143796909
For ages: 3+ 

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