Title: The First Christmas
Illustrated by Jess Racklyeft
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
RRP: $24.99

When shepherds see a bright light in the sky they are brought news of a new born baby, a very special baby, in Bethlehem. Leaving their sheep and families they travel to visit the baby, finding him in a stable. Others also visit the baby Jesus, bringing gifts and good wishes.

This is the nativity story, known to many and retold each year at Christmas. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and from the decorative end papers, I knew I was in for a special treat. Using mostly full double page spreads throughout, Jess Racklyeft’s soft and colourful illustrations work well with the verbal text. They add to the narrative, especially with the varying uses of perspectives and colour. I particularly love the soft, smaller illustrations that are washed over with a white, smokey type effect, enriching the story with multiple layers.

Although this book will surely join the large collection of Christmas books available for younger readers, I think this book would be perfect for a lap read with little children. Why not buy this as an extra gift for a group of children, to be opened Christmas Eve, and enjoyed before settling down for the night.

Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Penguin Random House for supplying this book for review.