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Voices of Christmas Hardcover – July 14, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–Grimes presents 14 poems, each preceded by a Bible verse, telling the story of the Nativity through the voices of Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men, the innkeeper, Herod, and so on. The poems, mostly unrhymed free verse, use simple language and a rolling rhythm that makes them a pleasure to read aloud. Gaspar, one of the Wise Men, begins his verse with &All those years of poring over/charts and scrolls on astronomy,/then suddenly, it was as if/the Morning Star/leapt from the page/and rose into the sky. The realistic paintings, rendered in muted nighttime shades of blue, gray, brown, and yellow, depict intense people in the midst of a momentous event, their glowing faces bowed in reverence or raised to the heavens. This lovely and heartfelt book adds a deeper perspective to the oft-told story and will enhance most holiday collections.–Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library END
There are many versions of the Christmas story that fall into the holiday category. This one, with its depth of religious feeling, is closer to Grimes’ book about Easter, At Jerusalem’s Gate (2005). Most of the voices of the title are familiar: Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Herod, among others. But lesser known biblical voices get a say as well, for instance Anna, who has spent her life worshipping at the Temple and recognizes Jesus for who he is. Writing in a personal free-verse style, Grimes makes these characters seem very flesh-and-blood. Joseph is ready to cast out Mary: “Why has she done this to me?” The Innkeeper is satisfied with her actions. After all, who would give up a warm bed for strangers? Herod is unnuanced: “His death will be my joy!” The paintings, focusing on individuals, are solid but sometimes miss the text’s inherent drama. Each spread begins with a simple character introduction (a link to an appropriate biblical text would have been helpful). An included audio CD helps bring these voices to life. Grades 3-6. --Ilene Cooper
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I found these both delightful & interesting. So much so that I used many of these as inspiration to write a series of vignettes/monologues for use during Advent/Christmas/Epiphany services at church.
Start with the illustrations. Start with Gabriel, handsome Gabriel. Every character in this book is illustrated with their clothing, their expressions, their surroundings, their personalities... complete. The research that must have gone into the illustrations... it's astounding.
The book uses quotes from the Bible, as well as poetic narration that brings the Biblical Nativity to life.
So memorable. It's just a visually rich book.
Treat yourself to this one, and get a couple of copies to give as gifts.
Do not let this Christmas season go by without getting a copy of the Voices of Christmas. Breathtaking, emotional and perfectly executed. I listened to this book andCD with my twins and I was brought to tears.
The emotional views that are portrayed by each character leave with you a true look into what their hearts may have felt at t hat time. So many times we read or hear the story of Jesus birth and don't go farther then the words onthe page.
Voices of Christmas allows you a little glimpse on the possible thoughts that Mary, Joseph, the Angel Gabriel, Elizabeth and Wise Men may have had at "that" moment. They moment they realized the Son of God was here. Amazing.
My girls didn't quite grasp why I was so moved but I was determined at that moment that all my family would hear this story this Christmas season. After listening to the CD and reading the book...the true spirit and reason of Christmas was blaring in my heart.
Nikki Grimes does a impeccable job of creating the story line. The voice artists were mesmerizing and the illustrations were beautiful.
This will be a book that you will read over and over. It is destined to become a family tradition.Voices of Christmas
This marvelous work insightfully and joyfully engages Biblical characters such as:
- Mary the mother of Jesus
- The angel Gabriel
- A shepherd
- The wise men
- and Herod
Lovely illustrations go along side of the poems and scriptural truths.
This little treasure makes a wonderful gift.