This book* is my one of my favourite picture books and certainly my favourite Christmas book. I grew up with it. It returned annually to our bookshelves, in early December. My mother read it to us at bed time in the weeks before Christmas and then like the tree it disappeared for another year.
I love the simplicity of it. It pares the story of the nativity right back to the main characters. You will not find any St Nicholas or talking animals here**. There is a child like charm to Dick Bruna’s flour dusted angels with nearly there wisps of hair and brightly coloured wise men.
The story stepped out of the book and illustrated my childhood Christmases. Mum carefully sewed a sheep onto my stocking. My brother had a shepherd. My cousins were given stockings too as Mum sewed her way through the book. It seems only fitting that my children should get the same treatment.
I was delighted to see that the book was republished last year and mean to get hold of a copy for each of my daughters. For now, my “all the better for being loved” copy will be just perfect.
* The Christmas Book, Dick Bruna, First printed 1964, My copy -1978
** I have to admit my second favourite Christmas Story “Room for a Little One” features a few discreetly talking animals.