IntroductionLike many parents, we used a Nativity set our children could touch to help them learn about the birth of Jesus, so I was pleased to find A Christmas Goodnight, a children's picture book that not only illustrates that experience but is also a gentle bedtime story.
A Christmas Goodnight: The Story and IllustrationsThe simple tender illustrations by Nola Buck start with a typical Nativity scene, one that includes everything usually included in a Nativity set: Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, sheep and other animals and the three Wise Men (Yes, I know they came later, but they tend to be included in Nativity sets). On the following pages, a quiet "goodnight" is shared with the baby Jesus, with Mary and Joseph, with the animals, the angel choir and the Wise Men.
The scene then shifts to a snowy evening landscape outside the little boy's house to a closeup of the boy in his pajamas, being held up to the window to look outside at the snow and share another goodnight: "Goodnight to the golden glowing moon./Goodnight to the frosty air./Goodnight to the snow that's falling down./Goodnight to the leaping hare." Then, the little boy and his mom and dad sit by the family's Nativity set while the little boy carefully places the Baby Jesus in his bed of hay. The final double-page spread shows the little boy asleep, with the Nativity set on a chest by his bed, illuminated by the moon shining through his bedroom window.
The quiet scenes and the flowing rhythm and rhyme make this a very restful book and all of the "goodnight" messages on every double-page spread make A Christmas Goodnight an even more effective bedtime book. The combination of scenes associated with the birth of Jesus, scenes of the little boy and his family at home, and scenes of them with the Nativity set lead to the final blessing: "Goodnight-God bless the whole wide world."
The Author and IllustratorNola Buck is the pen name of children’s book author Laura Godwin. Under the name Nola Buck, Godwin also wrote Christmas in the Manger. Under her own name, Godwin is the co-author, with Ann M. Martin, of The Doll People, The Runaway Dolls, and The Meanest Doll in the World. Godwin is also the author of numerous other children’s books, including Barnyard Prayers, One Moon, Two Cats and Little White.
A Christmas Goodnight is the first children’s book that Sarah Jane Wright has illustrated. She is known for her artwork featuring children, which is popular for baby nurseries and children’s rooms. See Sarah Jane Studios for examples of her work.