In any farmyard, on Christmas Eve, if you are very lucky, you can hear the animals talk.
It happens only on this most magical of nights.
And it happens only in that moment just before midnight
when the world is silent, waiting.
On Christmas Eve, at midnight, legend says that animals can talk. They speak to remember the part that animals played on the very first Christmas – where a donkey carried the baby’s mother, horses gave up their stall and other animals provided soft bedding. Even the mouse and the spider did their bit, and the rooster crowed to herald the news. Proud of the part their forbears played, the animals celebrate on Christmas Eve.
One Night is a delightful, gentle Christmas tale with the focus squarely on the animals, though two spreads show Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, and the final spread shows all the animals gazing at the sleeping baby.
The text is not overdone, using the animals’ dialogue to show their pride, and the watercolour and pencil illustrations are a perfect complement with soft, expressive animals and night time hues.
A lovely Christmas offering.
One Night, by Penny Matthews & Stephen Michael King
Omnibus Books, 2014
Available from good bookstores or online.