Ready or not the Holiday season is upon us! With Halloween in a few days that means in the blink of an eye it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas and before you know it we’ll be ringing in the New Year! Doesn’t it just happen faster and faster? We already started reading some Christmas books to set the mood! I thought that Goodnight Manger would be a play on Goodnight Moon where you say goodnight to everything in and around the manager but the title is where the similarities end.
This is one of those books that I really had mixed reactions to. On the positive side I really liked and appreciated that Jesus was shown as a normal, fussy baby and Mary a frustrated mom who just wanted her baby to go to sleep.
While it is often said that Jesus came just as a man, I think this is the most literal and relatable example of this I have seen. I think any mom out there would nod her head in agreement to all the tricks that we try to just get some sleep.
On the other side of it, I really did not like the illustrations particularly the depiction of angels who just really look strange. There were also moments of chaos like when the three Kings come and everything is shown as chaos, especially Mary who is frantic and “in a tizzy.” It’s kind of hard to put into words but it almost seems disrespectful in a way that’s hard to explain. It’s just not a pretty depiction of such a sacred story. It seems like there could have been a better balance between showing the reality of having a newborn baby and making almost a joke of it.
There were wonderful rhymes that makes the story very lyrical and pleasant to read. I just could have done without all the chaos and silliness for such a serious subject matter.
All that to say, I’m sure there are many people are not as serious as me that would enjoy this book without having the negative reaction to it that I did. It’s definitely not your typical rendition of this story. Goodnight Manger is as down to earth view of Jesus as a baby as I’ve ever read.
About the Book
Goodnight, Manger, written by Laura Sassi and illustrated by New York Times bestselling artist Jane Chapman, tells the story of Mary and Joseph as they try to lull Jesus to sleep in the noisy stable after his birth. It’s bedtime for Baby Jesus, but who knew a manger could be so loud? Mama, Papa, and all of the animals try to lull the baby to sleep, but between itchy hay, angels’ joyful hosanas, and three kings bearing noisy gifts, it’s just too loud. Until Mama finds a way for everyone to work together to shepherd Baby into peaceful dreams under the twinkling stars. With sweet, rhyming text in the style of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Goodnight, Manger offers a unique twist on the classic manger tale, deftly weaving together the comforting and familiar routines of bedtime with the special magic and wonder of the manger story.
About the Author
Laura Sassi has a passion for telling humorous stories in rhyme. She writes daily from her century-old home in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, two children, and a black Cockapoo named Sophie.
About the Illustrator
Jane Chapman is a multi award-winning artist who has illustrated over one hundred books including five New York Times bestsellers. She lives in Southern England with her husband, Tim Warnes, two children and five chickens. Visit Jane Chapman at www.ChapmanandWarnes.com.
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