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Book Jacket

Hardcover with Jacket
40 pages
Sep 2010

Saint Francis and the Nativity

by Myrna with Fausto Bianch Strasser

Review  |   Author Bio  |  Read an Excerpt


In Saint Francis and the Nativity by Myrna A. Strasser, the author tells the historical tale of how St. Francis in 1223 used a cave, a donkey and sheep, and a carved replica of baby Jesus lying in some straw to create a graphic display of what the first Christmas must have been like. Hundreds of people came that night from nearby villages to see the scene and to hear the priest tell the story of the birth of the Christ child. This practice rapidly spread to other towns and cities, where it was done live or recreated in set images by woodcarvers. Today, nativity scenes are found in millions of homes at Christmas, as well as in front of churches, town squares, and stores.

The book is illustrated by Fausto Bianchi, who used computer generated digital graphics to replicate the style of watercolor paintings. The story features a young boy named Mario, who helps St. Francis by watching his animals when the priest has to go out of town and by locating the cave for the live nativity scene. Mario is shown tending to sheep in wide pastures or visiting busy Italian cities, and each scene is bright with vivid colors and busy with moving animals and people. Although the text refers to St. Francis needing to visit the Pope in Rome for permission to put on the play, the book itself does not present any specific leaning toward Catholic practices and teachings, but, rather, stays close to the biblical story of the manger scene and birth of Jesus. It's an interesting bit of history told in a way that will hold the interest of 3- to 8-year-old children. Dr. Dennis E. Hensley,

Book Jacket:

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.