THE CHRISTMAS BLESSING

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A thundering voice asks Mama Star to shine a path for the wandering family whose baby will fill the world with light. Mama Star shines bright to lead the way. At the Bethlehem stable, she asks the animals, who have awoken in confusion, to calm down and work together to clean up for “great visitors.” The different animals argue over the responsibility. Mama Star’s light fills the stable as she speaks to them again, telling them to look at how each kind of animal loves their young, families, and friends: “Love is love, if you’re a goat, a pig, a horse, or hen.” The coming birth will bless everyone and spread love on Earth, she tells them. The animals cuddle their young, then each starts to pitch in to clean the manger and create a comfortable space for the birth. The final page holds a rhyming “Christmas blessing” filled with thanks. The main story’s text rhymes gently, though some lines are awkwardly phrased, and many lack the rhythmic structure that makes for smooth read-alouds. Soft-focus illustrations depict Mama Star as an angelic shape composed of white light; human characters are pictured from afar or from behind, leaving their appearances up to readers’ imaginations. With the focus on unity around the blessing of Christ’s birth, this will make a nice addition to religious Christian homes.

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