Saturday 8 December 2012
Seasonal reading 6- Leah's Christmas Story
Leah's father keeps an inn in Bethlehem. One very busy day, Leah has been out shopping, and keeps getting pushed and bustled by the crowds arriving in the town to be included in the Emperor's census. When she gets kicked on the knee by a donkey, trips and drops her shopping basket, a kind man picks her up. His heavily pregnant wife is riding the donkey, and when she calls out that the baby is coming, Leah's father lets them stay in his stable because all the inns are full. Leah makes a little bed in the manger with her own blanket, and waits to see the baby. Later, she witnesses the visits of the shepherds and the wise men, and then waves Mary, Joseph and Jesus off on their journey to Egypt.
This is a beautiful picture book, illustrated by the wonderful Karin Littlewood, illustrator of Mary Hoffman's The Colour of Home. The retelling of the Christmas story through the eyes of a little girl is fresh, but the narrative is true to the account of Jesus's birth in the Bible. I would say that Leah's Christmas Story is well worth keeping on your bookshelf to read to children at Christmas. I loved both the rich illustrations (how nice to see Jesus's family portrayed as middle Eastern, not European!) and the simple, but not simplistic, story.
This is my final Illustrated Year post. It has been a great way for me to read and appreciate a wider range of books, rediscover some old favourites and encounter some new ones. I hope you have enjoyed reading these posts!