Well, I never did get around to posting our list of Christmas favorites, let alone the new books we tried out this holiday season. It has been busy, if you'll excuse the worn, tired, and largely unconvincing word. Instead of a list, I'm offering just the most noteworthy book on my children's book radar for this Christmas season.
Mortimer's Christmas Manger, by the fantastic Karma Wilson (author) and Jane Chapman (illustrator), was a the top of my Christmas book delights. Mortimer is a mouse who decides to move into one family's mouse-sized nativity display, removing Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, making himself completley comfortable. But in the morning when he goes foraging for food, he returns to his newly acquired home only to discover that the figurines are back in place. Night after night, to his great displeasure, he is forced to redecorate in order to keep his new home. Then one night the family gathers in the living room to read aloud the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus, and Mortimer, upon hearing the Christmas story for the first time, has a change of heart toward the nativity residents he has previously been trying to evict.
Mortimer's Manger has all the charm of previous Wilson/Chapman installments, with the bonus of the story of Christ's birth sweetly and gently woven in. A pleasant shift in focus during a season that is dominated by the craze of commercialized Christmas and, of course, a certain jolly old elf and his team of reindeer.