A Song in Bethlehem

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Overview

ONE CHILL EVENING IN BETHLEHEM, young Naomi hears of an amazing sight: at the inn's stable, there are three men rich as kings, with rubies round their necks and gold on their fingers. Eager, Naomi rushes to catch a glimpse. But by the time she arrives, the men are gone.Yet Naomi discovers a different treasure: a baby boy, with parents kind and wise. And when she receives the gift of a flute from the baby and his family, her life is transformed forever and her world is full of music. It is a night full of wonders....

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A Song in Bethlehem

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Overview

ONE CHILL EVENING IN BETHLEHEM, young Naomi hears of an amazing sight: at the inn's stable, there are three men rich as kings, with rubies round their necks and gold on their fingers. Eager, Naomi rushes to catch a glimpse. But by the time she arrives, the men are gone.Yet Naomi discovers a different treasure: a baby boy, with parents kind and wise. And when she receives the gift of a flute from the baby and his family, her life is transformed forever and her world is full of music. It is a night full of wonders. It is the first Christmas.A Song in Bethlehem is a lyrical and stunning tale of the strength of love and compassion, filled with all the magic of Christmas.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This tender tale of a street urchin's wondrous encounter with the Holy Family hits all the right holiday notes. Naomi, a beggar girl eager to spy the royal visitors rumored to be in a nearby stable, rushes over only to find a sleeping woman and a baby-and some gold coins. She's caught stealing, but rather than meting out punishment, the man who apprehends her offers Naomi a meager meal and an invitation: "Come. There's someone I want you to see." Naomi is entranced by the newborn, and before the family heads from the manger out into the night, she is astonished to receive from them a special gift, a wooden flute that she almost instantly knows how to play. Cockcroft's (Room for a Little One) photo-realistic acrylics set a dreamy tone. Accents of nearly transparent flecks of paint create the effect of watching the drama unfold in a snow globe. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4-When Naomi, a hungry beggar girl, goes to the inn's stable to see "kings," she finds a couple with a newborn child and steals a shiny coin. Instead of punishing her, the adults feed and befriend her. They introduce her to their child and give her a "blessed wooden flute," which was given to him. She plays it so sweetly that people give her coins-a solution to her poverty. Cockcroft's photorealistic and luminescent paintings are filled with a sparkling atmosphere and further heighten the miraculous feeling of the story. Unfortunately, the book is marred by grammatical errors and some awkward wording.-Maureen Wade, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
This original Christmas story with a Nativity setting features a girl as the main character, a welcome addition to the flock of stories about visitors to the Manger. Naomi is a beggar girl who hears about the Magi arriving to see the Christ Child. When she goes to the stable and tries to steal a gold coin from the gifts of the Magi, Joseph and Mary meet Naomi's attempted theft with kindness and forgiveness. Naomi meets the Christ Child, sings a long-forgotten lullaby to him and then walks out of Bethlehem with Joseph, Mary and the baby. They give her a wooden flute that had been given to the baby by a shepherd, and Naomi is able to play music immediately, earning coins through her newfound talent. The text implies that this gift of music is a blessing from the Christ Child to help the girl with her future. The story is a moving one, although the final spread is overly emotional in both words and illustration. Soft-focus illustrations of the nighttime story are suffused with blue light and highlighted with tiny flecks of white that suggest magical starlight. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375834479
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/11/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.38 (w) x 9.31 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Marni McGee is the author of award-winning picture books, easy readers, and poetry. Her books include While Angels Watch, illustrated by TimMacNaughton, Winston the Book Wolf, illustrated by Ian Beck and Forest Child, illustrated by A. Scott Bonfill. She lives in Santa Barbara, California.Jason Cockcroft is an award-winning illustrator of many books, including Jason and the Golden Fleece by James Riordan, Billywise by Judith Nicolls, Snow Ponies by Cynthia Cotten, and Room for a Little One by Martin Waddell. He lives in England.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2007

    Interesting perspective on the first Christmas

    When I opened this book, I was expecting it to be just another rendition of the Christmas story, but by the time I was finished, I was surprised that it was much more than that. A Song in Bethlehem teaches us about forgiveness and faith. But the most important lesson I got from the book is the importance of kindness and compassion. In the book, Naomi steals a coin from the family in the stable. She is caught, and when the father (Joseph) realizes she is a child and a hungry child at that, he gives her food to eat instead of throwing her back into the cold. He allows her to look at and sing to the newborn baby, and when the family leaves the stable, he gives Naomi the flute that ends up changing her life. This important scene reminds us to find kindness in our hearts for everyone, even if they¿ve done something to us. Naomi clearly felt remorse for what she did, and Joseph forgave her and acted with compassion. We don¿t always know a person¿s motives behind a certain act, and if we take a minute just to look instead of immediately reacting with anger, we may find that all that person needs is a little compassion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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