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It was a fiercely cold, December Sunday afternoon when my four-year-old granddaughter Rydia spent a few hours with me, stirring batter for Christmas bread, listening to the Advent IV Bible story, hunting for objects in an “I Spy” book, playing “you can’t catch me.” We pulled This is the Star from the holiday stack of books to read together. It is a beautifully illustrated rendering of the nativity in a “this is the house that Jack built” type of poetry.
I couldn’t resist reading it the way my mother read another poem to me as a child. It was a piece about a pig that couldn’t get over a stile, with all sorts of characters pitching in to help. Mom would go faster and faster as she made her way back to the first line: “Pig can’t get over the stile and I shan’t get home tonight!” Just so, I sped up as I got to “…that saw the star in the sky.” Rydia enjoyed this little game.
As we turned the final pages, we paused to marvel at the picture of the tiny baby, as the authors wisely abandoned the verse form and wrote simply, “This is the child that was born.” A moment of wonder as we looked over the shoulders of the holy family, a magus, a shepherd, and a cow to see the baby nestled in the hay.
We continued to the last page, then the endsheet and pastedown, where I sensed that the illustrator had us looking through angels’ wings to glimpse the special star. Rydia asked what it was. I said, “I think they are angels’ wings. What do you think?”
“It’s the inside of the baby.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. It’s the inside of the baby.”