THE HOLY NIGHT by Celestino--illus. Piatti


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As adapted from the Gospel of Luke, a messenger of Caesar Augustus arrives in Nazareth, announces that ""each man must travel to the place where his ancestors lived"" to be counted, whereupon Joseph must cease his carpentry, Mary must endanger her unborn child, to proceed to Bethlehem. After many days (""vultures screeched in the forests, jackals howled"") they arrive--tired, knowing no one; unwelcome where they knock (but no mention of no room at the inn), they find a stable, fix a bed for the baby in a manger, and there ""in the middle of the night, Mary's child, Jesus, was born."" The shepherds nearby see a bright light over their heads, learn from an angel that ""Christ is born tonight. When he is grown, he will make unhappy people happy and sad people glad, and he will make the wicked good. Go down to Bethlehem and greet your saviour."" They thank the child in like terms, then spread the news to everyone they meet. . . . A prosaic interpretation of the event, to say the least, expressed with no grace whatever. The illustrations, solid and atmospheric at the same time, serve better except when the wide white eyes of the people rivet the viewer's attention and dominate the scene. Among Nativities for the quite young, Aichinger's The Shepherd, for one, is more satisfactory.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1968
Publisher: Atheneum