A CHILD IS BORN by Margaret Wise Brown


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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Cooper, illustrator of several Coretta Scott King Award books, presents the Christmas story with an African-American cast. The most successful and appealing paintings feature baby Jesus: plump, sober, curly-haired, brown-eyed, and brown-skinned. Cooper’s Jesus is a very human child. The dust-jacket illustration, which shows the baby Jesus against white swaddling clothes and framed in a glittering gold-leaf border, is particularly impressive. Other paintings show a dark-skinned Mary, Joseph, and a variety of angels of varying hue. Most scenes at the stable with shepherds, wise men, angels, and the Holy Family, are predictable. There is little attention to historical accuracy or detail. The paintings were created, according to the blurb, through a technique, involving “a number of oil washes that are then subtracted from the painting surface” to create the final pictures. Paintings are placed against a creamy parchment paper and bordered in gold. The text is a previously unpublished poem by author Brown, which reads in part: “O come, / country shepherds / O follow the light / And welcome the baby / This blessed night.” The lettering in burnt sienna heightens the effect of a manuscript with a large initial letter. While the text and many of the illustrations are pedestrian, this will resonate with readers seeking a multi-ethnic version of the Christmas story. (Picture book/poetry. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7868-0673-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Disney-Jump at the Sun
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2000


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