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THE FIRST CHRISTMAS by Nonny Hogrogian


by Nonny Hogrogian & illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-688-13579-X
Publisher: Greenwillow

 The line-drawn angels that appear on nearly every spread give this reverential retelling of the Christmas story a trendy aspect, but the main oil illustrations are lovely in their simplicity and clarity of feeling; the creamy brushwork looks like fresco painting and details of clothing and background are only suggested, drawing viewers' eyes toward the solemn faces of Mary, Joseph, and the rest. Hogrogian (The Cat Who Loved to Sing, 1988, etc.) does not handle the text as well: The story, taken from Matthew and Luke of the King James Version, is both paraphrased (in roman typeface) and quoted directly (in italics, with ellipses to show dropped passages). It's a fussy, potentially confusing treatment that interrupts the narrative flow. A heartfelt but slight off-key voice in the heavenly host of Christmas books. (Picture book. 5-8)