2016, first published 2015
pre-school, Key Stage 0, ages 1-4, Booth Anne, Usher Sam, Christian, Nativity,
This tells the story of Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt with Jesus after Joseph dreams they are in danger. It is told from the point of view of the donkey that carries them.
The donkey’s voice is strong and he recognises the best in humans – the kindness of the innkeeper, the affection of the parents for the baby Jesus, the encouragement of the shepherds who watch them set off on their journey and the refuge the Egyptians offer.
As always with picture books for this age group there is some much extra story in the pictures. Facial expressions tell a lot: we see the tenderness in the face of Mary and Joseph, the wonder in the wise men, hope and fear as they travel, peace and relief as they arrive in Egypt, and kindness in the Egyptians.
The pictures are mainly grey scale. Much of the action takes place at night. There are touches of yellow and the daytime pictures show a yellow sky. Yellow symbolises light and comfort in the penultimate double spread.
There is a mixture of pictures going across double spreads and isolated pictures integrated into the text on single pages.
The text is sparse and the pictures dominate. It uses an adult font though it is large.
The story is fundamentally Christian though deals with a less familiar part of the nativity story. Even for those who do not hold the Christian faith this supplies a story important to many cultures.
£1.00 from each copy sold goes to War Child. There is page at the end of the book, addressed to adults reading with the child, that explains about the work of War Child.
There is also a QR code in the front of the book that takes you to a free audio version of the book.