Saturday, December 22, 2012

Children's Corner: The First Noel

Welcome back to the Children's Corner, sponsored by Pauline Books and Media. Advent is quickly winding down, and I just realized the Fourth Week of Advent only has TWO days, and one of those is Christmas Eve! With all that in mind, it seemed only right that I review a Christmas book on the last Saturday before Christmas, so today I will be reviewing The First Noel by Ma├»te Roche. The intended age range for this book is 3-6 years old, but I could see grade school children enjoying it up until 10 years old.

The first thing that stands out about this book is the beautiful imagery. When I opened this book, the first words out of my wife's mouth was that it was gorgeous, and she's a tough critic! Since the book is approximately 9" x 10", each page looks like its own painting. I'm mot sure whether to frame the book or read it. The artwork is so captivating that it helps make the story come alive for young and old readers alike.

When reading this book, one will notice that the author mixes elements of the Nativity story from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This gives your little one a full story from the Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary through the Visit of the Magi. The observant parent will notice that Ms. Roche omitted the parts about Joseph's doubt and secretly wanting to divorce Mary to not cause her shame. However, this is a part of the Biblical story that could be a stumbling block for younger readers, so by omitting it, the young reader loses nothing from the overall story.

I am giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. The book may be seasonal, but lucky for us, Advent and Christmas add up to about 40 days. Therefore, you can read this book to your child throughout the seasons and help them remember the true reason we celebrate Christmas. Another great thing about this book is that although it published by a Catholic publisher, an Orthodox or Protestant person would find nothing distinctly Catholic in it. Christians from any "denomination" would enjoy this book. I recommend picking up one for you and one for a friend with little kids.