The First Christmas by Phillips Brooks, illustrated by Will Moses


The First Christmas by Phillips Brooks, illustrated by Will Moses. Paula Wiseman Books,  Simon & Schuster, 2021. 9781534478787

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format:  Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?   Luminous folk art oil paintings by the grandson of Grandma Moses, illustrate the first two verses of the traditional Christmas Carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  Each double page spread features two lines of the song with small vignettes against a tan background resembling aged paper, while the opposite page features a full-page illustration.  Readers follow the family through their travels to Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the arrival of the 3 Kings, and the family’s return home.  The book includes music and lyrics for all four verses, as well as a “Note About the Text” and an author’s note.  This is a lovely addition to Christmas stories focusing on the religious meaning of the holiday.

Anything you didn’t like about it? No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This would be a nice choice for those who celebrate Christmas and are looking to focus on its religious rather than the secular aspects. 

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture Books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  November 9, 2021        

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