Concordia Publishing House
Dandi Daley Mackall has written more than 400 children's books, and The Wonder of Christmas shows she hasn't lost her rhythm or sense of humor.
Teaming with illustrator Dave Hill, Mackall offers a new twist on the word "wonder." A church's youngsters are putting on the annual Christmas pageant, playing the parts of angels, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, the innkeeper, and wise men. As they tell the biblical tale of the Christ child's birth (Luke 1), they speculate out loud about what people in the story were "wondering." They wonder what Mary thought when a real angel appeared before her, and what Joseph wondered when an angel spoke to him in a dream, and what the shepherds wondered when a sky filled up with angels who then spoke to them. Ultimately, the child performers wonder what they, themselves, will feel this holiday season.
They discover that they feel awe and love for their Savior, and instead of taking a bow at the end of their church performance, they turn and make a bow to heaven in honor of Jesus.
The colorful drawings have shadings and angles and shadows that make them seem like photographs, such as the dark room in which a sleeping Joseph's face is lighted by the glow from the angel speaking to him, or the close-up full-face profile of a young girl who tries to imagine what it must have been like for Mary to have to give birth in a pile of straw, while in the far background of the drawing the young actors are portraying that scene on stage. The story is told in rhyming poetry that young readers can follow and preschoolers can relate to. This is a double story, with the obvious story of the children putting on a play being supplemented by the story of the birth of the babe in a manger. Youngsters will like it and learn from it. -- Dr. Dennis E. Hensley, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
By posing open-ended questions, The Wonder of Christmas draws young readers into the events of the night Jesus was born. From the heavenly Father's determination that the time was just right to the angel's announcement to the shepherds, this graceful poem appeals to children's unquenchable curiosity. Imaginatively set on the stage of a Christmas pageant, The Wonder of Christmas will enhance your family's celebration of our Savior's birth.