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The Nativity

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  63 reviews
The biblical story of the Nativity is one about faith, love--and a miracle. With illustrations that are enchanting and unexpected, Julie Vivas reveals the human side to Mary's story, beautifully imagining the Angel Gabriel delivering the news to her, the exhausting journey with Joseph to Bethlehem, and at last the deliverance of the baby Jesus.
Paperback, 36 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1986)
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Average rating 4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  318 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I adore this book. I consider myself a conniseur of Christmas books, and this may be my favorite illustrated scriptural version now. The text is from the King James Version of the Bible, and the illustrations are whimsical and sacred at the same time. I absolutely love it.
Maxwell Rae
Jan 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
I learned a new word “espoused”, but is was the only thing I liked about this book. Mummy isn’t religious, but I haven’t made my mind up yet. This story was worded weirdly, the sentence structure was odd and I didn’t really understand what happened.
Marissa  Pineda
Dec 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite nativity picture book. The text is taken from the KJ Bible and the illustrations are a treat. The tattered wings and combat boots on the angels are a fun interpretation. Pregnant Mary is portrayed more realistically in this cartoon style than in more traditional renderings. Joseph looks as worried and weary as he is protective and awed by his new family. Vivas' style is human and whimsical at the same time. Some may be bothered by the illustration of a naked newborn Jesus (it ...more
3.5 out of 5
The text of this picturebook -- the Nativity story from the King James version of the Bible -- is brought to life by whimsical and cartoonish but at the same time surprisingly realistic (and clever!) Vivas' illustrations:

Aug 11, 2017 added it
I read this book every year at Christmas. Beautifully illustrated by Julie Vivas. From Joseph cupping his hands to help Mary get on the donkey to Jesus' peek-a-boo eyes after Mary has "brought forth her firstborn son" the illustrations TELL THE STORY. ...more
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love the illustrations in this book.
Maren Prestegaard
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christmas
I think people will either love or hate these cartoony illustrations. I disliked them. I guess I prefer an illustration of Mary that is more ethereal than looking like a character from the Family Circus.
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well, of course I love the story because it is about the birth of Christ! The aft, gentle illustrations make this a keeper. There are a plethora of versions of the Christmas story and this one is worth purchasing.
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Text is the KJV and the illustrations are amazing.... Gabriel having tea with Mary and wearing work boots!
A new favorite! I don't know how she combines all of these things, but the illustrations are beautiful in ethereal pastels, funny (boot-wearing angels who get stuck in trees), and so very down to earth. That's my favorite thing about them--this Mary looks like she's about to pop on her to way to Bethlehem and Joseph has to shove her up on the donkey. And after she gives birth, she is too exhausted to even shoo the chickens away--and Joseph gets to hold the newborn baby for once! She does such a ...more
While The Nativity, by Julie Vivas, is intended for early readers, I love how the contemporary style in which she depicts the familiar characters makes everyone much more relatable to even an adult readership. We have such unwavering notions of Joseph, Mary, and the Angel Gabriel in our heads that it can be challenging to imagine their truest essence in which they are much more like you and me than we might perceive. The text, derived from the well known scriptural verses in the book of Luke are ...more
Dec 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This was on a booklist aimed at babies. I don't know why, because the text was way too long for my daughter. The illustrations were charming though, and she enjoyed looking through those, especially the pages with no text, but which still progressed the story.

I liked that instead of the stereotypical white, pious Mary sitting passively on a donkey while Joseph leads her along, this Mary had darker colouring, and we got to see her baby bump grow, and watch a very pregnant Mary struggle onto the d
Reading With Sarah
The Nativity, illustrated by Julie Vivas, honors the birth of Jesus. This version of the Nativity takes the words directly from the Bible and illustrates the journey Mary and Joseph take to welcome Jesus into this world. It provides a realistic depiction of pregnancy, humorous and difficult yet very authentic. Julie Vivas does an amazing job in bringing the people of the Nativity to life and reminds us that they were ordinary people like us, seeing and experiencing an extraordinary occurrence.
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas, children-s
Julie Vivas is one of my top three children's book illustrators, so I was ecstatic to find this version of the Nativity. I love that the words are simply those from the Bible (KJV), and I love Vivas's signature earthy style applied to this most important story. I just wish she hadn't had the wise men at the stable--they actually arrived when Jesus was two or so. ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: christmas
I love Julie Vivas' illustrations and her work in this book is no exception. However, I found the light, whimsical and humorous style of her illustrations detracted from the gravitas of Jesus' birth and didn't match with the KJV Biblical text. ...more
This version of the Nativity story uses Vivas' folksy illustrations and combines it with the Bible story of the birth of Jesus. This would be a nice picture book to share with young readers during the Christmas season to help them understand the true meaning of the holiday. ...more
Ca Salchak
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We read this every night on Christmas Eve. The artwork touches my heart. This book is so special to me. I have bought copies for each of my kids and tonight I found out my daughter gave a copy of this book to one of her friends.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Delightful illustrations accompany the Nativity story. They show the human side of this incredible event.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
My favorite nativity story.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my favourite Christmas books.
Emily Castro
Oct 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Kind of a religious book but helps the kids learn an easy way of how Jesus got here and where he was born
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic, spiritual
I fell in love with the water color illustrations, the depictions of the Mary, Joseph, Gabriel, diapers on the clothesline, all of it! A simple picture book I look forward to reading every year.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books-read
The text is from the Bible. The illustrations are not liked by some people and therefore the book has been challenged or banned in various places.
1. None
3.It's a book that tells the birth of Jesus. It is a short version or a version for children of the bible.It is a pretty straight forward story.
4. I have my reserves about using this book because it speaks about religion. It could make children of other religions feel bad or not comfortable with it. Even though it is a religion book I think it is a good book to discover new words.
5. Learning about other cultures, use for site words, shared reading
Dec 17, 2020 rated it liked it
KJV text of Nativity story coupled with whimsical, elfin-like illustrations... a bit disjointed from casual, almost humorous illustrations with old-fashioned text. Unsure how I feel about it. Preschool and up. Library
Dec 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
You're never too old for a picture book--especially one as beautiful and whimsical as Julie Vivas' telling of the familiar book of Luke. The gorgeous watercolors draw the reader in, while the expressions on the extraordinary characters captivate. Who could imagine the Angel Gabriel wearing something akin to broken down Doc Marten's? And, picture the Virgin Mary in terrycloth slippers hanging out laundry. It sounds incongruous, but paired with the innocence of these characters, and the pristine l ...more
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I love the way the illustrations make Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the shepards,and especially the angels--like such care-worn, ordinary, extraordinary folks. They are all so humble and amazed in their big boots and torn simple clothes. The sweet illustrations make this story all the more loving and beautiful and amazing.
A great traditional story of the nativity story. It is from the king james version of the bible. The pictures are absolutely stunning! I loved this version just from the pictures because it makes it seem very actual. It helps you to see that the story was probably just as crazy as anynormal birth. It would bring great conversation!
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love that the text comes from the Bible (King James Version) instead of summarizing it. I also liked seeing a different view of the Nativity Story through illustrations that you wouldn't expect. We don't know what anything looked like, so this was a welcome change to the traditional images we use (I liked seeing Mary hold her back while pregnant, because being pregnant is HARD!) ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: church goers - because other kids are not going to understand or care for the text much.
Probably my most favourite of Julie Vivas picture books but I hate the story - so put off by the overly religious traditional text. The illustrations get gold stars for bringing a warmth and humor and real feeling to the Christmas story but it is in conflict with the words. I wish the story had been written in a less formal style so as to compliment the more fun artwork
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Nativity Figurine Set for Christmas Decoration 1 1 Oct 29, 2019 04:31AM  

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One of Australia's foremost illustrators, Julie Vivas's work for the world renowned Possum Magic (written by Mem Fox) began a career as a children's illustrator that has since seen the creation of some very important picture books. Julie was born in Adelaide, lived in Melbourne and Sydney as a child, and later studied interior design in Sydney. After living in Spain for a number of years she retur ...more

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