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Father and Son
I had never seen this book before but when I saw it earlier this year, I bought it because of the beautiful words and sentiments.
**Story and illustrations...**
The story focuses on the relationship between Joseph and Jesus and begins with scene setting- it's after the angels have left and the star has set, and there is one person still awake in the stable, Joseph. He sits watching the baby lying in the straw and wonders how he can bring up the Son of God.
He wonders what lullabies he should sing to someone who "taught the angels and peppered the sky with songbirds". Joseph wonders what stories he can tell the infant when Jesus wrote the history of the world and worries how to protect a baby who "wears sunlight for armour and a helmet of stars".
We see Joseph question how he can teach jesus right from wrong and how he can feed and cloth someone who filled the oceans with fish and hung the trees with fruit. There is a beautiful picture of Joseph and the young Jesus splashing in the sea, with Joseph asking how he can play games with someone who "pinned the ocean in place with a single tack headed moon".
Throughout the book , Joseph wonders how he can teach Jesus a trade, how he can put a roof over the baby's head, and most of all what presents he can offer Jesus when the young baby has given him everything- his wife, his life, his happiness. However, Joseph remembers that his hands are strong, and that everyone needs an extra pair of hands, and so promises Jesus that he will be that extra pair of hands.
We finish the story like the start with a scene setting, and one person still awake watching over a sleeping child..."while his God watched over him"
The illustrations are usually double page spread with the text in a column at the side of the pictures. The illustrations are beautiful and match the text perfectly. They look like large watercolours and have fantastic detail and are beautifully atmospheric.
**Other Bits of information...**
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
**Other books by the same author**
The author writes books for adults and for children of all ages, and writes many types of books, including myths and legends, classics, anthologies and picture books. A look on her website, www.geraldinemccaughrean.co.uk made me realise that I had come across her books before although I may not have actually known who had written the book- very prolific writer!
I am sure that if more people were aware of this book, then it would very quickly become a Christmas classic. I love the different perspective on the story and think it's an incredibly honest and heart warming and honest story. The illustrations perfectly capture the story, with little touches like the angels sitting in the trees when we have been told that they have gone home to roost and there are interesting allusions to other stories such as the loaves and fishes on the floor and Joseph scolding Jesus.
The story line is poetic and as Joseph asks and tries to answer questions we get a sense of his humility and bewilderment of the task in hand.
Although the concept is almost too tricky for very young children to comprehend, older children will understand that it's Joseph talking to Jesus. All children will enjoy the pictures and even if the concept can be a difficult one to understand the heartfelt words are a joy to read.
Anyone who, like me " collects" Christmas books, should certainly add this to their collection.
Highly recommended for adults and children alike- beautiful
Thanks for reading