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A Christmas Goodnight

The Story of the Nativity

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


A Christmas Goodnight picture book cover art

A Christmas Goodnight



Like 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 Illustrations

The 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 Illustrator

Nola 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.

A Christmas Goodnight: My Recommendation

I'd recommend this book for parents and others to share with children aged three to five as part of introducing them to the Nativity story. I should warn you though that if you don't have a child-friendly Nativity set, when your children listen to and look at A Christmas Goodnight, they'll undoubtedly want one of their own.

Publication Information

Katherine Tegen Books, An Imprint of HarperCollins, is the publisher of this Christmas picture book. The copyright date is 2011 and the ISBN is 9780061664922.

Other Recommended Books About the Birth of Jesus

Christmas Is Here relates a family's visit to the neighborhood church's live Nativity scene to the Bible story of the birth of Jesus. The First Noel is a beautiful pop-up carousel book that depicts the Christmas story. For my full list, see The Birth of Jesus in Children's Books

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