Monday, January 29, 2018

The Extra Special Baby: The Story of the Christmas Promise by Antonia Woodward (A Christmas anytime book)

You're probably wondering just what is going on when a blogger reviews a children's "Christmas" book at the end of January, and I really do realize it is a long time until Christmas 2018 rolls around. But given all that and for some unknown reason the book simply wasn't available until now. But I want to review it and I want to do so now. shows the "release date" as January 16, 2018 so I am just assuming this is such a lovely book they can't wait until "Christmas 2018" for the release. I heartily agree.

My thoughts: First of all I simply love the illustrations and tones of color used in the illustrations. And then I believe the author Antonia Woodward has retold the Biblical text in a charming, lyrical, and beautifully flowing story that brings dignity to what often is told in a "cutesy" style for young readers. When telling a young child the story of the Christ Child's birth or any other retelling of Biblical events, it is important that one recount the story on a level easily understood by the listener but to do so with beauty and dignity that Biblical accounts richly deserve.

The story begins with the Wise Men seeing the wonder in the heavens.
A long time ago, a long way away; some very clever men were doing very clever things. The read lots of scrolls and studied the stars. They discovered a very exciting promise written across time. Someone was coming..... Someone so extra special.
And then they go on their way, their long journey to find this someone special. The story then speaks of Mary and the annunciation. ..... "Your baby will be extra special because he will be God's own Son, come from heaven to live on earth."

Then the announcement by the angel in a dream to Joseph is made. Time goes on and and they travel to Bethlehem for the taxing and find the inns full but.... "The Extra Special Baby that God had made, and the angel had announced was born not in a palace, not even in a house, but in the corner of a stable, surrounded by animals."

And then the angels announced the birth to the shepherds in the field.... "Suddenly an angel in glorious glow flooded the hillside with light....."

The recounting of the Wise Men finally reaching the special child - when he was a toddler - is told and the book ends with another angel visitation where Joseph is told to leave..... "It is no longer safe for you ... to another land.... child can be out of harm's way."

The book doesn't end there, but shows the child growing to a special man who brought the blessings of heaven to the people of earth.

Antonia Woodward's art for this book is done in warm, soft pastels and neutrals in a cozy style that gets to the heart of God's love in giving His Son to Earth.

So, I don't see this as just a Christmas story, but a beloved retelling of Christ's coming to Earth to bring God's blessings to Earth.

You can find a copy at or perhaps at your favorite book vendor.

About the book: A long time ago, a long way away, some very clever men discovered a very exciting promise! In Bethlehem, under the quiet night sky, an Extra Special Baby was born. Let Antonia Woodward’s beautiful retelling of the Nativity story take you back to the excitement of that very first Christmas night. Read about the baby that was so extra special that life on earth would change forever, in this exquisitely illustrated Christmas picture book, full of warmth.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Kregel on behalf of Lion Hudson children's books to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

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