Thursday, December 20, 2007

#1 Favorite Christmas Picture Book: On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

On the Night You Were Born
by Nancy Tillman is not only my favorite Christmas picture book, it's currently my favorite picture book, period. If you only get one book for your child this Christmas season, this should be the one.

This book has been out a little over two years now, but I had never heard of it until last month when I was browsing the children's section at Borders. I started reading at one end of the Christmas display and made my way down the line until I got to this one. I picked it up with no idea what to expect, and seconds later, I'm bawling in the middle of Borders! It took me quite some time to get my emotions back under control and make my way to the checkout counter.

The illustrations are a delight. They are rich, colorful, playful. The text is soft and lyrical, flowing smoothly and gently. You simply cannot read it in a harsh or hurried voice. The words won't let you. Reading it aloud with your child will create a wonderful, intimate and loving, bonding experience. Go now and get a copy for your child this Christmas (unless you happen to be the parents of two particular grandchildren that I know).

Promo info: On the Night You Were Born weaves rich illustrations and comforting language to promote in children a deep sense of their own worth. Geese fly home to celebrate. Polar bears dance. The world comes alive with thanksgiving. Before the tale ends, children will be wiggling their toes and whispering their names in joyous celebration of their own unique wonder. The birth of a baby—"the one and only ever you"—causes jubilation throughout creation in this quietly celebratory picture book from newcomer Tillman. Polar bears dance, giraffes weave to the sound of brass horns, and "the moon smiled with such wonder/ that the stars peeked in to see you/ and the night wind whispered,/ `Life will never be the same.' " The pictures subtly radiate golden glints of moonlight, and her almost sculptural rendering style gives her characters a hefty physicality that counterbalances the ethereal sentiments being expressed. Although one suspects that grown-ups will be most taken with the topic and treatment, this is one of those rare baby books that should make both skeptics and sentimentalists of all ages happy.

Now, you may be asking yourself, Why this is a Christmas picture book? Aside from the dancing polar bears, there's really not a Christmas or winter theme to it.

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child—a child for whom angels sang, and animals celebrated, and the moon and the stars and the wind looked upon in "wonder." From the humblest of beginnings on this holiest of nights, this child grew up to be the Savior of the world.

As we welcome a new infant into our families, the night of their birth becomes a holy night for us. We gaze upon this child, so fresh from heaven, and we have no idea what wonderful things he or she may do in their life but the Spirit whispers to our hearts that they are very special. While they may not grow up to save the world, one thing is certain—the world would not be the same without them. And I, for one, think that is something to celebrate.

Every child deserves this book for Christmas.

Now playing on my iPod: O Holy Night performed by Celine Dion


Josi said...

This sounds so cute, I'll have to look into it.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Okay, I'm sold. I'm getting one.

I have often thought about just how holy a child's birth is -- every single child. Thank you for putting it so beautifully.

Tristi Pinkston said...

I just tagged you, and the rule on this one is, we have to do it fast! Hurry, come get it!