"At that moment, Brother Francis laid a figure of baby Jesus in the manger bed."Where did the tradition of displaying a manger scene come from? Find out in Saint Francis and the Nativity, an engaging story that weaves together the history of the first nativity with the fictional story of Mario, a young shepherd boy, who helps Saint Francis of Assisi find a way to visually display the true meaning of Christmas.Children will love the beautiful illustrations and the suggested family activities that accompany this sweet story.
Vibrant illustrations in luminous, jewel-bright hues are the captivating attraction of this Christmas story about St. Francis of Assisi. Bianchi's striking illustrations are computer generated, with watercolor effects that create shimmering colors. The darker illustrations of the Nativity scene in the cave have the look of stained-glass windows, with deeper hues and a sense of mystery. Moreover, he creates an interesting tension between traditionally depicted characters of the period and stylized shapes in the trees and leaves. -Kirkus Reviews * Kirkus Reviews *
Books about Saint Francis for kids usually center on his mystical relationship with animals and nature.
This one, however, is about an event in his life that should have equal interest: his creation of the first
Nativity scene. Framed in the fictional tale of a young shepherd named Mario, Strasser's story begins
when the boy helps Francis load his cart of supplies. A friendship forms, and it is a remark by Mario, who
wishes he could have seen the night of Jesus' birth, that gives Francis an idea. While Francis is getting
permission from the church, Mario finds the perfect cave in which to enact the holy night. The fictional
framework for the story does not mesh as seamlessly as it might with the facts, but the addition of Mario
does bring a child's perspective to the tale. The full-bleed illustrations, whose glow is reminiscent of
stained glass, offer a delicate young shepherd and saint, and they capture the wonderment of both a special
night and its first recreation. A good choice for Christmas shelves. * Booklist - Ilene Cooper *