The story of the Nativity is told from the perspective of three not-so-wise men with literal stars in their eyes.
The three, each with a star “lodged in his right eye” and each “glad for a reason to get out of town,” meet one another on their way to bring gifts to a king. They arrive at Herod’s palace. Herod picks his fingernails and has breath that smells “like Pine-Sol.” He doubts that the men are fulfilling any prophecy but directs them to Bethlehem. The colloquial tone of the lengthy text—“But sure, why not?”—seems to be an attempt to make the story relevant; its success will vary from reader to reader. The clueless men follow the star to a humble home, where they kneel before a baby because “it was him, then, whoever he was.” The next day, the guiding stars are gone, the men’s maps no longer work, but they are wise enough to avoid Jerusalem and Herod on their way home. Truly lovely illustrations in soft tones capture the reverent atmosphere and the sense of an ancient time and place that the tongue-in-cheek text seems to reject. The Wise Men are diverse, and the other people have skin tones in varying shades of brown.
This attempt to straddle the line between modern and traditional elements misses the mark. (Picture book. 3-7)