illus. by Cynthia Rylant. 40p. S. & S./Beach Lane. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481470414.
K-Gr 2—As she did in the 2016 companion book, Creation, here Rylant distills chapters of the King James Version of the Holy Bible into a gentle and accessible narrative for young readers. It is truly a silent night when the angel of the Lord appears to shepherds as they watch their flock, and the textured but subdued brushstrokes of acrylic paint emphasize the atmosphere's stillness. Even when the multitude fills the night sky, the spare figures of the painted angels in the same white color of the sheep contribute to the soft, ethereal, but majestic tone that remains present in the humble manger where the babe is born. Swiftly but not jarringly, the narrative jumps to Jesus as a grown man, preaching the Sermon on the Mount and closing the book with the beatitudes. Thus, this title is not just about his birth, but also the beginnings of a message that still reaches people today.
VERDICT More than appropriate for religious collections, this title adds to Rylant's past works and can be shared beyond Christmastime.

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