CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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The First Christmas: A Changing-Picture Book Hardcover – September 14, 2010
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From School Library Journal
K Up–This lovely presentation of the Nativity story includes four “changing-pictures,” which are created by overlaying two images divided into vertical slats. In this case, the images change when a flap is opened. Williams's pastel illustrations are both luminous and child-centric, conveying a sense of mystery, awe, and gentle humor. One of the strengths is the work of the unnamed adaptor, who tells the story in an accessible voice. While many toy-movable books aren't appropriate for a library setting, this one is sturdier than most, and could be used in a religious holiday program.Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public Library
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
About the Author
Sophy Williams lives in Wiltshire, England, with her husband, Mark Robertson (also an illustrator), her two lively sons, Oscar and Leo, and a scraggy black cat. Some of Sophy’s childhood was spent living in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Middle East, and her illustrations are often influenced by these far-flung locations.
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I was VERY disappointed in the text. I believe the story to be an actual event that happen two thousand years ago and is accurately told to us in the Bible. While I know childrens books often change or add to the story to make it more readable, this author went way too far. And mixed up several of the facts. An example: " . . . shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks. They too had seen the star and they were afraid." That is not correct. The star did not scare them, the angels did. The portion that really got me though, was when the author stated that King Herod had hired the wise men to find the reason for the star. And placing them in the stable with the baby. The wise men were not there! It took them about two years to get to Jesus. And then the text says " . . .they then decided to return to their country a different route to avoid Herod . . . " An angel warned them not to go back, they didn't just decide.
There were just too many little details that added up to a great error for me! I want to read the Christmas Story to my children to reinforce a classic (but very real) story. I don't want to have to keep stopping and explaining to them how that didn't really happen. For me, skip this one. Even though the illustrations are amazing!
The narration is not directly from the Bible, but The First Christmas tells the story completely. I would say that it is an excellent introduction for children who are not familiar with the Nativity story (as compared to the Santa Claus/Frosty the Snowman side of the modern Christmas celebration).
The "moving pictures" are more like a pop-up book, thus the book may not be appriate for the littlest children to hold and work on their own. I am giving a sturdy board book (Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale) along with The First Christmas, so that eager 3 y/o hands will have something to hold, too.
I highly recommend this book. The grown-ups will enjoy it as much as the children do!
Don't like the cursive font type for children because it is harder to read and the pictures that are non-changing are too muted (color-wise).And what is portrayed in the second picture? Mary/Joseph are not in the picture, it just shows a town with people in it. The narration backtracks on p.3(? -the pages aren't numbered) saying, "Months before, both Mary and Joseph had...". I wanted a straightforward, step-by-step, story of the birth of Christ. This is not it.
Art should enhance a story, not obscure it. However, if you like shepherds, sheep and camels, there are plenty. I counted 43 sheep, 18 shepherds and 16 camels. It was distracting throughout the book to see so many, that's why I decided to count them. Only 1 cow, 2 doves and 8 donkeys. I will say that the pictures of the sheep are well-done (very cute).
When I asked my 7 year old neighbor about this book, he said his 5 year old sister would tear it up trying to find out how one picture can change into another (sliding paper panels). But he said he understood the panels and would be able to read most of it. I was going to return this, but will now give to the 7 year old next door as a Christmas present. I bought another, more straight-forward book for his younger sister from Amazon called "First Christmas" by Alastair MacDonald, in which the pictures are iconic, and the story is more straightforward (and which, by the way, greatly appeal to a high-functioning autisticchild who helped me pick it out).
-Kim Childress, Book Editor, Girls' Life