A beautiful, sophisticated merging of art and text that could be used in church programs on Christmas Eve or as an...

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THE CHRISTMAS STORY

The story of the birth of Jesus is illustrated with works of art from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, paired with text from the King James Bible.

On the attractive cover is a reproduction of a portion of a Dutch painting from the early 1500s showing Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. The painting is dark and dramatic, standing out against the red cloth and embossed gold accents of the cover, and this lush design continues on the gold endpapers decorated with a twining holly motif. The interior illustrations consist of reproductions of a dozen medieval and Renaissance paintings from the Met’s collection, all painted between 1423 and 1540. The Nativity story unfolds from the moment the angel Gabriel appears to Mary through the flight into Egypt, with a final Madonna portrait. The paintings are described and dated in a concluding page of notes. Two paintings include Wise Men with dark skin; the other people are depicted as white. The text uses extracts from the books of Matthew and Luke, with a well-known selection from the book of Isaiah as an introduction. These excerpts are from the King James Version of the Bible, with complex syntax and traditional Biblical language including “thou,” “thee,” and “ye.”

A beautiful, sophisticated merging of art and text that could be used in church programs on Christmas Eve or as an introduction to medieval and Renaissance painting for older students. (Picture book/religion. 8-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2307-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Readers of both genders will take to this original and hilarious story—so long as they do not still believe in Santa.

THE NAUGHTY LIST

A zany take on how Christmas happens aims straight for the middle-grade humor sweet spot.

The year her father moves to North Dakota pursuing an oil job, 12-year-old Bobbie Mendoza decides to ignore Christmas. Before this, Bobbie was a normal girl, but now she oozes ’tude: her favorite color is “black. Black goes with everything. Even me.” Among the other indignities of this year, the family’s inflatable Zombie Santa attacks Bobbie—resulting in a “stupid HOT PINK cast.” Bobbie’s decision to get younger brother Tad a 3D Mega Machine by any means necessary leads to her abduction by two elves, learning the truth about the evil keeper of the Naughty List, and discovering what Tad really wants for Christmas. Along the way Bobbie meets a less-than-admirable Santa in a North Pole redolent of refried beans, along with equally unconventional reindeer led by antler-sparking Larry (not the other one). The copious illustrations, black-and-white cartoons reminiscent of Fry’s comic strip, “Over the Hedge,” add fun, clarity, and (oddly enough) believability to the text. Despite the female main focus, boys will enjoy the story too.  References to butts, farts, and lead reindeer Larry’s incontinence will cause mirth and the occasional guffaw.

Readers of both genders will take to this original and hilarious story—so long as they do not still believe in Santa. (Fantasy. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-235475-4

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.

ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET.

The comical longings of little girls who want to be big girls—exercising to the chant of "We must—we must—increase our bust!"—and the wistful longing of Margaret, who talks comfortably to God, for a religion, come together as her anxiety to be normal, which is natural enough in sixth grade.

And if that's what we want to tell kids, this is a fresh, unclinical case in point: Mrs. Blume (Iggie's House, 1969) has an easy way with words and some choice ones when the occasion arises. But there's danger in the preoccupation with the physical signs of puberty—with growing into a Playboy centerfold, the goal here, though the one girl in the class who's on her way rues it; and with menstruating sooner rather than later —calming Margaret, her mother says she was a late one, but the happy ending is the first drop of blood: the effect is to confirm common anxieties instead of allaying them. (And countertrends notwithstanding, much is made of that first bra, that first dab of lipstick.) More promising is Margaret's pursuit of religion: to decide for herself (earlier than her 'liberal' parents intended), she goes to temple with a grandmother, to church with a friend; but neither makes any sense to her—"Twelve is very late to learn." Fortunately, after a disillusioning sectarian dispute, she resumes talking to God…to thank him for that telltale sign of womanhood.

Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1970

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1397-8

Page Count: 157

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1970

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