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A Night of Great Joy

A Night of Great Joy

5.0 4
by Mary Engelbreit

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Mary Engelbreit presents A Night of Great Joy, a delightful picture book that celebrates the joyful season of Christmas. This book tells the story of the nativity through the performance of a children’s Christmas pageant. With adorable illustrations and simple storytelling, Engelbreit paints a wonderful picture of the night that Jesus was born.

A Night of


Mary Engelbreit presents A Night of Great Joy, a delightful picture book that celebrates the joyful season of Christmas. This book tells the story of the nativity through the performance of a children’s Christmas pageant. With adorable illustrations and simple storytelling, Engelbreit paints a wonderful picture of the night that Jesus was born.

A Night of Great Joy recalls that fateful night with wonder and awe. From the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem to the gathering of many before the baby Jesus, this holiday treasure leads children through the tale of the birth of Jesus, guiding them with the star of Bethlehem.

Mary Engelbreit, New York Times bestselling illustrator of the blockbuster Christmas classic The Night Before Christmas, brings readers a new holiday picture book that’s sure to become a family favorite.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/26/2016
An elementary-school Christmas pageant plays out with warm humor in Engelbreit’s (The Night Before Christmas) holiday offering. The author’s cherubic characters perform the Nativity story using rudimentary props that will trigger smiles: a robed Joseph with a comically fake beard pulls Mary in a red wagon outfitted with a donkey head, a rocking horse and a rubber duck keep watch in the stable, the newborn Jesus is a rag doll, and stuffed animals fill in for sheep. The narrative is a straightforward, pared-down version of the biblical tale, without dialogue, which leaves the pictures to showcase the children’s personalities (two shepherds fight over a toy lamb, a prima donna’s antics irk her fellow angels, and a costumed cow falls asleep as the Wise Men arrive). The Nativity tale is one of great things born out of humble circumstances, a theme that dovetails perfectly with the homespun staging of the children’s production. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
On the title-page spread, a diverse group of children and their families enter a building hung with a large banner proclaiming “Christmas Pageant.” The rest of the book presents the traditional play as it unfolds on stage. The narration offers a simply worded version of the biblical story, following Mary and Joseph through Bethlehem to the stable where the child is born. Angels appear to the shepherds, who make their way to the stable, followed by the wise men. All kneel to worship the infant. Though there are no surprises in the text, the illustrations include a few unexpected and charming additions. Mary rides around Bethlehem in a little red wagon; the baby looks a lot like Raggedy Andy; and two shepherds have a tug-of- war struggle over a toy lamb. With the spotlight on the rounded forms of rosy-cheeked, costumed kids drawn in Engelbreit’s signature style, this colorful picture book will please her adult fans while holding the interest of many children.
--- Carolyn Phelan
Kirkus Reviews
A classic Sunday School Christmas pageant is acted out by a multiethnic cast of children in this Christmas offering in Englebreit’s signature illustration style.The pageant begins with a little black girl as an angel reading the passage from Luke that announces that Jesus has been born. The text describes the traditional Nativity story as though a narrator were reading it, with the child performers coming on stage in costume as the story progresses. Mary is an Asian girl, and Joseph is a white boy with red hair and a fake brown beard. One of the wise men is black, and a chorus of angels includes several children of color. The children are dressed in charming costumes with appropriate details, and there are funny little incidents tucked into the illustrations, such as two shepherd girls playing tug of war with a toy sheep and a tiny cow asleep on stage at the conclusion. The girl playing the part of Mary uses a rag doll for baby Jesus, and the final page shows Mary hugging her doll tenderly under the shining star. Though almost every Christian Sunday school puts on a Christmas pageant, there are few picture books that cover this annual holiday event, especially titles accessible to preschoolers. Children preparing to be in a pageant will enjoy this, as will Engelbreit’s many adult fans. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.40(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Mary Engelbreit grew up studying the illustrations in the vintage storybooks of her mother’s own childhood, and she developed a unique style that harkens back to those simpler times. Mary’s distinctive images have made her a celebrity to millions, who eagerly snap up gift items, calendars, books, fabrics, and more. Mary’s dearest wish has always been to illustrate for children. Her New York Times bestselling The Night Before Christmas is already part of the holiday tradition for families across the country.

Customer Reviews

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A Night of Great Joy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
AutumnE4 4 months ago
This isn't your typical story book. Instead it features children acting out the birth of Jesus in a play. Mary is pregnant and tired and all her and Joseph wants to do is rest but all the innkeepers turn them away. When they finally are told by an innkeeper that they can use his stable. They were delighted and Mary was able to have her baby, Jesus. The story of the birth of Jesus at Christmas never gets old, and this was a great book to read with my children. It's a reminder that Christmas is not just about lights, presents and cookies. But instead to celebrate a very important birth. This is such a fun book to read and the pictures are wonderful. This is definitely at the top of my lists of Christmas books. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Fitzysmom 7 months ago
One of my very favorite activities during the Christmas season is to attend the children's Christmas program at our church. What could be more darling than little shepherds dressed in their daddy's old bathrobe? Or how about the shy little angel that suddenly bursts into tears? All of it is just precious. Mary Engelbreit has captured the beautiful simplicity of this traditional event in her very own whimsical way. She happens to be one of my favorite artists and this book showcases the very best of her talents. It will definitely become a treasured part of our yearly Christmas book reading. If you are like we are and do a nightly Christmas book reading leading up to Christmas then I can't recommend this book enough. It is sure to delight the little ones because they can envision themselves in the same roles but it will also bring a smile to the adults' faces as they recall Christmas programs of the past. I personally look forward to sharing this book with each of my grands. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
tickmenot 7 months ago
Merry Christmas! This beautifully illustrated, hard-backed book tells the story of a children's Christmas pageant. In the true whimsical style of the author, many of the scenes have something that has gone wrong--two of the children are fighting over one lamb, a child is laughing on stage, and one of the characters is about to fall asleep during their "act." Every one of thirty-two pages in this sturdy, over-sized book contain brightly colored illustrations in the artist's trademark style. The story itself is based on the Biblical story of Jesus' birth. The cover is a feast for the eyes since it has the beautiful colors from inside the volume along with one of the artist's illustration. But it also has glitter and some wonderful pops of shiny red paper. It is sure to catch the attention of little eyes when they are selecting a book. A Night of Great Joy, of course, was made for children, ages 4 to 8 in particular, and they will adore this book! But fans of Mary Engelbreit have no age limits, so this delightful book is really for children of all ages (otherwise known as adults). Whether you are getting this to read with a child in your life, or purchasing it for yourself, this five-star book will proclaim the true Christmas story in a beautiful and fun way. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christmas. Zonderkidz has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of A Night of Great Joy, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
LivingaFitandFulllife 9 months ago
A Night of Great Joy by Mary Engelbreit is a wonderful picture book that celebrates the joyful season of Christmas! My family and I love Christmas time because we love to be reminded about baby Jesus and all that God has done for us. This book is adorable because it's told through the performance of a children’s Christmas pageant. My kids love seeing the kids in the book dressed up as characters from the night that Jesus was born. A Night of Great Joy by Mary Engelbreit is the perfect book to read to kids around Christmas to remind them why we celebrate! Disclosure: I received product(s) for free, in exchange for my honest review. I only recommend products I've used personally, and believe will be good fit for consumers.