Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

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Our Very Own Christmas

In this gentle tale just right for youngest book lovers, a sister and brother reenact the night that Christ was born, in their own words.

Young Kelly knows a thing or two about the Nativity. She likes to play Mary while her little brother, Franklin, plays Joseph. "Knock, knock! Do you have room for us?" says he. Marije Tolman creates deceptively simple illustrations for this paper-over-board gem. Pencil outlines of the characters and animals stand out against the background for their journey, suggested by a ribbon of pine green, and black to represent the dark of night in what looks like crayon or pastel. The children are resourceful: "As they have no donkey, a little sheep comes along." Franklin (as Joseph) needs a bit of prodding for his lines, especially after they are turned away for a room several times. "Mary whispers to him softly. And little Joseph exclaims with feeling, 'Oh, woe! Oh, woe!' And it sounds very, very sad." Younger siblings will thrill to Kelly's little memory slip, "Oh you have brought such beautiful presents: gold, franklin sense, and something else... Little baby Jesus will be ever so happy."

Children who've witnessed or acted out the Nativity will thrill to the siblings' simple drama.--Jennifer M. Brown, children's editor, Shelf Awareness