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A SONG IN BETHLEHEM by Marni McGee

A SONG IN BETHLEHEM

By Marni McGee (Author) , Jason Cockcroft (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-375-83447-9
Publisher: Knopf

This original Christmas story with a Nativity setting features a girl as the main character, a welcome addition to the flock of stories about visitors to the Manger. Naomi is a beggar girl who hears about the Magi arriving to see the Christ Child. When she goes to the stable and tries to steal a gold coin from the gifts of the Magi, Joseph and Mary meet Naomi’s attempted theft with kindness and forgiveness. Naomi meets the Christ Child, sings a long-forgotten lullaby to him and then walks out of Bethlehem with Joseph, Mary and the baby. They give her a wooden flute that had been given to the baby by a shepherd, and Naomi is able to play music immediately, earning coins through her newfound talent. The text implies that this gift of music is a blessing from the Christ Child to help the girl with her future. The story is a moving one, although the final spread is overly emotional in both words and illustration. Soft-focus illustrations of the nighttime story are suffused with blue light and highlighted with tiny flecks of white that suggest magical starlight. (Picture book. 4-8)