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Book Jacket

32 pages
Jul 2008
Concordia Publishing House

Away in a Manger

by Mike Jaroszko

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Artist Mike Jaroszko has created a stunning illustrated children's book based on the lyrics of the popular children's Christmas song Away In A Manger. No one is really sure who wrote the first two verses and the music of this song, only that it first appeared in a Lutheran hymnal in 1885 and that a third verse was added by John McFarland in 1904. Nevertheless, Jaroszko makes the song come alive with his three-dimensional, marvelously realistic paintings.

The art works are spread across double page bleeds, with only two short lines of lyrics per scene. The opening scene of the actual manger shows Mary and Joseph holding the Christ child as three grown shepherds and one little boy stand in awe nearby. The lambs, cows and donkeys in the stables are lifelike, not at all cartoonish, and minor details make the scene vivid, such as a reflection atop the animals' drinking water. Many of the scenes contain subtle aspects of symbolism. For example, in the first scene above the head of the baby Jesus is a fence with a long board secured crossways by a shorter board, thus creating a wooden cross. Similarly, for the lyrics, "The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay," the artist shows the Christ child in a prone position covered in a pure white cloth, and next to him is a blemishless, pure lamb.

So that modern children will relate to this song and story, there are scenes of contemporary churches with Christians arriving to attend services and later standing inside the church praying and worshiping. The final page concludes with, "And take us to heaven to live with Thee there," and the painting reveals an adult Jesus amidst the clouds, holding his arms wide open in a welcome gesture to all who have claimed his as Lord and Savior. This book will provide children with visual images to go with one of the first songs they will ever memorize. It is effective, powerful, and biblically accurate. -- Dr. Dennis E. Hensley,

Book Jacket:

Using the lyrics of what may be the most loved children's carol, this beautiful book invites you to come to the manger to see the Christ Child and to rejoice in the peace, joy, and promise of salvation He brings. This book will captivate readers of all ages with the drama and the excitement of that amazing night when Jesus was born in Bethlehem.