Listen to the Silent Night
By Dandi Daley Mackall, paintings by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Here is a refreshing take on the age old serenity and silence associated with the most holy of nights immortalized in Gruber’s famous carol, Silent Night.
There are amazing sounds to be heard in the silence surrounding the retelling of the story of The Nativity and children who listen will quickly be immersed in the ancient journey to Bethlehem amid sounds associated with this holiest of nights. From the initial night owl’s hoot as he flies over Mary and Joseph at the start of their odyssey, to the flap of Joseph’s sandals as he treads the dusty road of the city with Mary, the tap at an inn door searching for a respite for the night, the moo of cows and crow of roosters who are noisy witnesses to the imminent birth of a babe, the swish of sand as camels in a headlong rush, travel with the Wise Men as they trail a blazingly beautiful star, the flutter of angelic wings announcing the Christ Child’s birth to a field of thunder-struck shepherds herding a flock of sheep who contribute a familiar baa.
Children will relate to this book and its emphasis of an aural telling of The Nativity with its ending that is perfect, peaceful and miraculous. The paintings of the team of Messrs. Johnson and Fancher lend a soothing accompaniment to the sounds of this less than silent night! Combined, the narrative and art lend this picture book a feeling of a divine story told with a very gifted human touch.
Please share this telling of the ancient story of the first Christmas amid the tizzy of frenetic activity surrounding the preparation for the Christmas of 2011. It may just be the perfect gift of a shared story that redirects children to the true meaning of this season of celebration.
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